Top Places To Go Creeking In Cincinnati
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Top Spots To Go Creeking In Cincinnati: A Creek Week Adventure

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Not only are we sharing the top creeking spots in Cincinnati, but we also have great printable resources to make the most of your creek time!

Cooling off in the chilly waters of the creek has always been a core memory of my childhood. We would slip on our bathing suits, grab our boots and head out to explore the nearest creek. Curiosity would often fuel our adventures as we blazed ahead, looking for crayfish, building dams, and seeing how far our mom would let us venture before turning back.

Top spots to go creeking in Cincinnati
Creeking in Cincinnati

A trip to the creek can be as educational as it is entertaining. This article shares excellent resources to help you get the most out of your creek week with daily activities, a scavenger hunt, and a guide to creek exploration.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase something through a qualifying link, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.

Plan A Creek Week Or Creek Day

During the summer months, we designate a week to explore local creeks. Hands-on experience is always a great way to learn, so pack a picnic and head to your local creek.

Planning Tip: Weather will often play a vital role in safety visiting creeks, as after rainy days or storms, creeks may be flooded or have a fast flowing current.

Where to go creeking in Cincinnati
Top spots to go creeking in Cincinnati

Preparing For Creek Week

Since we typically allocate a whole week to discovering creeks, we check out books from the library about nature and creeks to learn even more about why creeks play such a vital role in our ecosystem.

Here are a few nature books I recommend:

Download Our FREE Printable Creek Scavenger Hunt

Kids will love this fun FREE printable Creek Scavenger Hunt. I recommend laminating them so you can reuse them over and over. You can snag a great laminator here for roughly $30.

Grab Your Creeking Supplies

WE ALWAYS BRING A GARBAGE BAG TO CLEAN UP THE CREEK WE VISIT. Not only is this being a decent human, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to teach children about pollution and how they can make a difference.

You will want to bring a few items for creek stomping.

  • Rainboots (These are my favorite kid’s yellow rain boots) or water shoes
  • Bug spray
  • Outdoor Kids Exploring Kit or I prefer to go to the dollar store to buy nets, shovels, magnifying glasses, and little clear containers.
  • Change of clothing
  • Towels
  • Sun Screen
  • Snacks or pack a picnic
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Bottled Water
  • Sun hat or sunglasses
Creek Week Checklist

The Best Creeking Spots in Cincinnati

Cincinnati is the perfect place to explore creeks, as many lead to the nearby Little Miami River or the Ohio River. While many of the Cincinnati Parks are free to enjoy, a few parks require a fee or permit. Our guide breaks down the best spots throughout Cincinnati to go creeking.

Creeks On The West Side Of Cincinnati

Story Woods Park

As a west-side favorite, the creek at Story Woods Park is on the summer bucket list for many families. Situated in Delhi, the park offers a beautiful creek with accompanying nature trails and a playground.

Story Woods Park Creek: creeking in Cincinnati
Story Woods Park

Address: 694 Pontius Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45233

Triple Creek

Planning Tip: Triple Creek is a part of the Great Parks of Hamilton County, meaning there will be a small daily fee, or you will need to purchase an annual pass.

Address: 2700 Buell Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45251

While known for its softball fields and fishable pond, Triple Creek has a fabulous Nature Trail that passes small vernal ponds. These ponds offer excellent habitats for numerous types of amphibians. While there is not a huge creek that passes through, kids will like to explore the ponds that so many animals call home.

Miami Whitewater Forest

One of the best spots to go creeking in Cincinnati on the west side is at Miami Whitewater Forest in Harrison. Finding the creek can be a little tricky as Miami Whitewater is the largest of the Great Parks in Hamilton County. Follow the Shaker Trace Inner Loop to Dry Fork Creek to reach this creek.

Address: 9001 Mount Hope Rd, Harrison, OH 45030

Creeks On The East Side Of Cincinnati

Pioneer Park

Pioneer Park in Montgomery is the perfect location to spend the day at the creek. A creek winds through the park, with plenty of shallow areas to explore. It is a great spot to take younger kids, as you can see the creek from the parking lot.

Pioneer Park Creek: One of the top spots to go creeking in Cincinnati
Pioneer Park Creek

Families often walk on the paved trail, resting at the swings overlooking a peaceful pond. Parents’ cheering can be heard from the soccer fields, as others have found solace in the shelter enjoying their picnic lunch.

Keep the adventure going by walking across the street to Dulle Park for another great creeking spot, basketball courts, baseball fields, and a playground.

Address: 10505 Deerfield Rd, Montgomery, OH 45242

Cincinnati Nature Center

The Cincinnati Nature Center has a beautiful Nature PlayScape with a man-made stream area for the kids to explore. Kids will love hunting for fossils, navigating down rocks, and looking out for creek critters. There is no shade in this part, so sunscreen is vital.

Cincinnati Nature Center
Cincinnati Nature Center

Planning Tip: The Cincinnati Nature Center is not first on my list for a creek day unless you are a member. Admission adds up quickly at $10 an adult and $ 6 for children ages 4-12. Those three and under are free. Therefore, if you plan on paying for admission, I would allocate a whole day to exploring the Nature Center.

California Woods

Tucked away in the tiny neighborhood of California is a hidden gem called California Woods Nature Preserve. Complete with a nature center, California Woods has over 117 acres of woods to explore. Experience the great outdoors by tackling one of their many hiking trails or venture into the Lick Run Creek to cool off.

California Woods Nature Preserve Creek
California Woods Nature Preserve

Planning Tips: Pets are not allowed at the preserve.

Address: 5400 Kellogg Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45230

Little Duck Creek Trail

A beautiful trail in Madisonville was created following Little Duck Creek, with benches placed along for a chance to sit and take in the surrounding nature. Dogs on leashes are welcome.

ADDRESS 2625 Settle Rd. (entrance at 4625 Settle St.) Cincinnati, OH 45227

Bass Island

While technically not a creek Bass Island has earned a spot on our list of great creeking spots because Little Miami River is very shallow here. Exposed sand and gravel bars extend into the river, making it the perfect place for an adventure.

You will want to park at Bass Island (Newtown Rd south of Wooster Pike) and hike down the small trail. Go LEFT at the fork to the end – that is the least steep entrance into the riverbed. 

Planning Tip: After your Bass Island adventure, you can walk to 50 West for lunch and let the kids play in the sand!

Bass Island Park and Trailhead is located North of the Little Miami Golf Center on Newtown Road. 

Sellman Park

Sellman Park is a 10-acre facility located directly behind Madeira Middle School. There are two playgrounds(one is a newer, nicely fenced-in toddler playground), basketball courts, and sand volleyball. However, if you venture down the hill past the big kid playground, follow the paved path to a beautiful creek!

Sellman Park Creek
Sellman Park Creek

Address: 6700 Marvin Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45243

Nisbet Park

Located right next to the Little Miami Bike Trail, Nisbet Park is one of my favorite spots to explore with kids. While technically not a creek, Nisbet Park has a trail that takes you to the edge of the Little Miami River. A rocky shore paired with shallow waters makes it a perfect summer adventure.

Nisbet Park in Loveland
Nisbet Park in Loveland

Planning Tip: If you have bikes, your may opt to bring them to hit the bike trails or you can rent bikes at a nearby rental shop.

Address: 126 S Karl Brown Way, Loveland, OH 45140

NatureScape At Summit Park

One of my daughter’s favorite places is the Nature Playscape at Summit Park in Blue Ash. The park’s water feature was part of an innovative way to help restore Sycamore Creek.

The water area features a man-made creek with large rocks and pools of natural water for the kids to play and splash in. Keep in mind the area is in full sun, so come prepared.

Summit Park has evolved into its own mini-city, with restaurants, housing, and tons of events happening at the park. The playground and the Nature Playscape are great if you don’t feel like hiking, then we get a sweet treat at the ice cream shop afterward.

Planning Tip: There are portions of the pools that are deeper than you may think, then with a pond nearby, it is imperative to keep an eye on the kids.

Address: 4335 Glendale Milford Road

Creeks In Central Cincinnati

Keehner Park

An excellent park for creeking is Keehner Park in West Chester. Nestled along the east fork of Mill Creek, Keehner Park offers pickleball courts, a playground, and creekside wooded trails.

Address: 7411 Barret Rd, West Chester Township, OH 45069

French Park

Another top creeking spot in Cincinnati is French Park. French Park is a 275-acre park located in Amberley Village and boasts miles of hiking trails, creeks, meadows, and wooded hillsides. I have fond memories of creeking here with Girl Scouts and my family.

French Park Creek
French Park Creek

Address: 3012 Section Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45237

Sharon Woods

A Cincinnati family favorite is the base of a small waterfall in Sharon Woods. While climbing on the waterfall is not permitted, kids will love exploring all the rocky areas and wildlife that find this area home.

Getting To The Creek: Use the Lebanon Road entrance (11450 Lebanon Road), then take a left on Buckeye Falls Drive. There is a big field with a playground, and the creek is directly across from that. There is even a paved trail that will take you to the creek.

Sharon Woods Creek
Sharon Woods Creek

After splashing in the creek, venture up to the Harbor for even more splashing in the man-made creek and splash pad.

Address: 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, OH 45241

Planning Tip: Sharon Woods is part of the Great Parks and does require a daily admission fee or annual permit.

Gower Park

For a more low-key creek day, venture to Gower Park across from the Sharonville Community Center. The creek is right next to a playground and is easy to access. Kids of all ages will have fun exploring this creek; we even saw a snake once!

Gower Park Creek
Gower Park Creek

Address: 10997 Thornview Dr, Sharonville, OH 45241

Caldwell Nature Preserve

Another hidden gem in Cincinnati is the Caldwell Nature Preserve. This beautiful 89-acre park is home to gorgeous hiking trails, Mill Creek, forested ravines, and plenty of wildlife. With various ways to experience the great outdoors, it is easy to stop for a quick morning hike or make a day out of exploring the entire park.

Caldwell Nature Preserve Creek
Caldwell Nature Preserve Creek

Address: 430 W North Bend Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45216

More Great Spots To Go Creeking In Cincinnati

  • Armco Park: 1223 OH-741, Lebanon, OH 45036
  • Otto Armleder Park :5057 Wooster Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45227 (offers a shallow area by the Little Miami River, follow signs for the canoe launch)
  • Stanberry Park: 2221 Oxford Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45230
  • Ault Park: 5090 Observatory Cir, Cincinnati, OH 45208
  • Mt. Airy Forest: 5083 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223

Day Trip Ideas

Are you looking to take your creek week to the next level? Add in a day trip to get out and experience nearby attractions and parks. Here are a few we recommend:

Fallsville Falls

Tucked away off the beaten path in Ohio is Fallsville Falls, a beautiful scenic waterfall. A brief hike will give visitors a sweeping view of the falls with the opportunity to venture into the gorge for a closer look. 

The 15ft waterfall is a spectacular sight. The area around the falls is quite shallow, allowing visitors to get up close. Small children can wade by the waterfall, so bring water shoes for them. The creek is fun to explore and can be a separate adventure after viewing the falls. 

Fallsville Falls
Fallsville Falls

Terry’s Grocery and Pizza is a must-stop for pizza or ice cream after visiting the falls. Their signature milkshakes are something out of a child’s imagination consisting of the sweetest ingredients imaginable.

Ceasar Creek State Park

A large sprawling lake, sunny meadows, and a wooded ravine await visitors at Caesar Creek State Park. Multiple trails at Caesar Creek are specifically designated for hiking. These trails are rated moderate to difficult. They include scenic waterfalls, a swinging bridge, and lake views.

The spot you are looking for here is Horseshoe Falls. Take Perimeter Trail, and the falls are just south of the Swinging Bridge. Be prepared that this might not be the best idea with a little one as the falls are roughly 1.5 miles from the Nature Center.

Address: 8570 E State Route 73, Waynesville, OH 45068

Fun Creek Activities and Games

Water Dipping

Dip a net into the water and move it in a small circle. Lift out the net and pour anything your catch into a tub or bucket to have a closer look. Have the kids keep a nature journal of all the things they catch. Then carefully pour everything back into the water.

Damming A Creek

Have the kids try building a barrier of rocks and sticks across a stream to stop it from flowing. You will want to choose a shallow part of the creek that’s not very wide, so you can easily walk across it and the dam will work. Once you made the dam, go water dipping for creatures and see what you find.

Note: Always break up the dam before you leave.

Otto Armleder Memorial Park
Otto Armleder Memorial Park

Stick Racing

If there is a bridge, drop your sticks together over the side of the bridge with the water coming towards you. Then run to the other side of the bridge to see which stick floats out first.

Gathering Clay

One of my favorite things to do at the creek when I was little was to harvest clay out of the creek! While I never took it home to make into pots or cups, we would often make our own funny sculptures right there in the creek. For those looking to take it home and process it check out this Harvesting Clay article for details on how to do it.

Creeking In Cincinnati Activity List
Creeking In Cincinnati Activity List

Picnic In The Water

Find a large rock in the middle of the creek and layout your lunch, or have a snack! Nothing is quite as unique as having a picnic in the water.

Warning: Ensure that you sanitize your hands before eating. Creeks are known to carry pretty gnarly bacteria and germs. Not to mention many creeks are fed through storm drains and even sewers.

Creek Week is our first post launching as part of our Explore Cincinnati With Kids Series. For more fun things to do in Cincinnati with kids check out these related articles:

35 Fun Things To Do With Kids In Cincinnati

A Local Mom’s Guide To Planet Snoopy at Kings Island

6 Free Indoor Play Areas In Cincinnati

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Top spots to go creeking in Cincinnati