Cowan Lake Park Office: (937) 382-1096
The Little Miami State and National Scenic River offers a trip into one of Ohio's most beautiful and historic areas. As the river twists and bends, visitors will discover many natural wonders such as steep rocky cliffs, towering sycamores and elegant great blue herons on the wing.
You can find more information about each of the following activities below.
The Little Miami Scenic Park is located within the beautiful and historic Little Miami River Valley. The Little Miami is a designated federal and state scenic river. It is protected because of its high water quality, panoramic setting and the many historic sites that can be found along its banks. A trail meanders with the river through four counties encountering rolling farm country, towering cliffs, steep gorges and forests along the way. This steep gorge offers evidence of the erosional forces of glacial meltwater. Outcroppings of dolomite and shale are now exposed. Mammoth sycamores border the river's edge where great blue herons reside. Because of the relatively cool sheltered climate in the gorge, eastern hemlocks and Canada yew are able to survive here. Birdwatchers delight in the abundance and variety of colorful warblers and other songbirds in the park. The shaded slopes offer a variety of woodland wildflowers for visitors to enjoy. More than 340 species of wildflowers are known in the river's corridor. Virginia bluebells, bellworts, wild ginger and wild columbines are only a few to be seen in the park.
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Camping is limited along the developed portion of the trail. Several privately operated canoe liveries along the river offer camping for those backpacking or hiking long stretches of the river corridor. Other overnight accommodations can be found in the various bed and breakfast locations and motels in Lebanon, Morrow, Loveland and Milford. For more information on these locations contact the Warren County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-433-1072.
Fishing: Smallmouth and rock bass provide excellent catches for anglers. Fishing is permitted from boats and from shore at the canoe access sites. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
Canoeing: From the northernmost canoe access point to the Ohio River, the Little Miami River can provide numerous levels of excitement: an historic journey, an environmental experience, a fishing or recreational trip. The Little Miami River is approximately 105-miles long, of which nearly 86 miles are canoeable. If you plan to canoe or boat the Little Miami Scenic River, you must exercise caution because the river's immense power is often hidden. All rivers may become dangerous when water is high and flow is rapid from heavy rainfall. Streams such as the Little Miami are always dangerous at lowhead dams and where log jams or submerged trees create powerful forces in the current. Approved, properly fitting life jackets are required. All boats and canoes require a current registration sticker.
Little Miami State Park is a unique recreational asset in the state park system—a trail corridor. This scenic, riverside trail offers numerous recreational pursuits — bicycling, hiking, cross-country skiing, rollerblading, backpacking and horseback riding. The corridor also provides access to boating the Little Miami River. The park contains 50 miles of paved trail from Terrace Park in Hamilton County to Hedges Road in Greene County. The remainder of the trail to Springfield is also paved and operated by Greene County Parks and Trails. (For information on the trail north of Hedges Road, visit gcparkstrails.com or call 937-376-7440.) A staging area in Corwin has parking, flush restrooms (seasonally), and picnic tables. Other facilities have been developed along the trail in Oregonia, Morrow, South Lebanon, Fosters, Loveland, Miamiville, and Milford. These trailside stops may include parking, restrooms or portable toilets, benches, picnic tables, restaurants and trail access points. These facilities are wheelchair accessible.Little Miami State Park Map with Trail Info
Picnic areas are offered at numerous public sites along the river. There are also picnic tables at the Ft. Ancient Scenic River Access and a shelterhouse at the Carl Rahe Scenic River Access.
The Little Miami River Valley is historically significant to the state of Ohio. The wooded lands were home to several early Ohio Indian cultures. Nearby are the largest and best known earthworks in the state known as Fort Ancient. Fort Ancient was built by the Hopewell Indians who inhabited the area from 300 B.C. to 600 A.D. In more recent history, this area was inhabited by the Miami Indians and the Shawnee. After the War of 1812, the Indian threat dissipated and the area attracted settlers. Numerous mills were developed on the river bank and several still stand today. Clifton Mill near Yellow Springs is still in operation. By the mid 1800s, the river corridor was bustling with grist mills, textile mills, stagecoach trails and a railroad line. Indian mounds and relics, historic buildings, grist mills and stagecoach trails can still be found in this historic river valley. The Little Miami Scenic Park became a state park in 1979.
Three state parks are nearby including Caesar Creek in Waynesville, East Fork in Bethel (both taking their names from branches of the Little Miami), and John Bryan near Yellow Springs, Ohio. All three parks offer camping, hiking and fishing opportunities. Two state nature preserves, Clifton Gorge and Caesar Creek Gorge are close by. Both preserves offer unique geological and botanical features for visitors to enjoy. Spring Valley Wildlife Area operated by the ODNR Division of Wildlife offers hunting and fishing opportunities for sportsmen and is also known as one of the best birdwatching areas in southwestern Ohio. A boardwalk leads to a wildlife observation tower over the marsh. Caesar Creek also has a wildlife area available for hunting. Kings Island Amusement Park, located at Kings Mill, Ohio and Loveland Castle both offer interesting side trips in the area.