Cincy Family Favorite,  Explore Cincinnati,  Travel

Johnson Nature Preserve: A Hidden Gem In Montgomery

Enjoy a beautiful nature walk at the Johnson Nature Preserve tucked away in the city of Montgomery near Blue Ash. The .35 mile long paver walkway makes this the ideal spot to go on a nature hike, bring little ones or simply go for a quick stroll through the woods.

The preserve is full of flower beds, native plants, wildlife, and cedar log benches to enjoy a quiet moment in the forest.

Johnson Nature Preserve

1999 Blue Ash Tornado

The Johnson Nature Preserve was deeply affected by the 1999 tornado that hit Cincinnati. The violent storm wreaked havoc, leaving four dead and damaging over 200 homes.

In that storm, my husband vividly remembers the roof blowing off their home while huddled in their bathtub for safety. The preserve was another area that was hit by the catastrophic tornado.

Johnson Nature Preserve In Montgomery Ohio

In the pre-dawn hours of April 9, 1999, the storm toppled 90% of the mature trees that had thrived in the preserve. Many were over 100 years old. The City of Montgomery decided to let the forest recover with very little intervention.

Logs were cleared from the walking trail, and some trees were replanted. In addition, many trees are regenerated naturally from stumps or seeds. The first to thrive were the quick-growing plants and trees such as the tulip poplar, black cherry, maple, honeysuckle, and multiflora rose.

Entrance to The Johnson Nature Preserve

Where Do I Park?

There is a tiny parking lot at the Johnson Nature Preserve. For instance, only three, maybe four cars can park in it. It is my only complaint as there is no nearby street parking if the lot is full. I have witnessed vehicles parking in the grass, but there is not that much space once again.

Address: 10840 Deerfield Rd, Montgomery, OH 45242

Is the parking lot full? Check out these other great Nature Preserves In Cincinnati.

Johnson Nature Preserve Walking Trail Map

Hiking At The Johnson Nature Preserve

The trail at the Johnson Nature Preserve is a .35 mile loop that is within the 7-acre preserve. It is easy to navigate with a small wooden bridge to cross over the tiny creek. Throughout the trail, some plaques highlight typical flora and fauna found in the area along with a little history about the area.

A lovely pergola with a picnic table greets you at the entrance of the trail. We found it to be the perfect spot for a post-hike snack or a good spot to lay out all your nature treasures from your hike.

Nature Walk Ideas

Harris M. Benedict Botanical Preserve

The more adventurous hikers can venture into the Harris M. Benedict Botanical Preserve, which is connected by a small pathway off the Johnson Nature Preserve Loop. The University of Cincinnati manages this 65-acre preserve.

The University purchased the property in the 1920s with the site’s name honoring Harris Miller Benedict, chair of the University’s Botany Department at the time of his death in 1928. The former name of the preserve was Hazelwood Botanical Preserve.

The University has been carrying out botanical studies here for nearly a decade since there is a diverse collection of rare species here.

UC Benedict Nature Preserve

The botanical trail located in the Harris M. Benedict Botanical Preserve is a 1.2 mile out and back trail. I recommend downloading the All Trails Map, as there are a few private trails throughout the preserve. This trail is suitable for all levels; if taking little ones, watch for fallen trees and lots of tree roots.

In short, this has been one of my favorite preserves to bring my toddler. It is very manageable, however, there are a few little slopey areas to keep your eye out for. If you haven’t visited this suburban nature preserve, add it to your Cincinnati bucket list.

Johnson Nature Preserve

Related Posts

Caldwell Nature Preserve

Three Reasons To Visit The Stanley Rowe Arboretum

Three Unique Hiking Trails In Cincinnati

Johnson Nature Preserve

Johnson Nature Preserve

We are an inquisitive family seeking to discover, create and inspire unique adventures and experiences. Our mission is to motivate families to collect moments and not things. Our family travel blog explores places off the beaten path that will spark your curiosity and provide inspiration for families traveling with children. We are not full-time travelers, just the everyday family that makes the most of each day off. When we are not traveling we enjoy being a tourist in our hometown of Cincinnati.