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Dayton: Outdoor Capital of the Midwest

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In celebration of Earth Day, I want to share how simple and inexpensive it is to enjoy the outdoors.

As you know… if you’re a regular follower that is, I love being outdoors and I live in Dayton Ohio. What you may not know is, Dayton is the Outdoor Capital of the Midwest. Are you surprised? Well don’t be, we don’t have mountains to climb or an ocean to swim but,  either by foot, bike, or kyack in Dayton and surrounding areas you can get around!

Thanks to Five River Metro Parks and others, we can brag that we have 400 miles of paddling opportunities in six high-quality waterways, including the nation’s first National Scenic-River.
Little Miami River. There are several canoe liveries along the river where you can rent or put your own canoe in the water.

The nation’s largest paved bikeway network in the country with more than 330 miles.
More than 200 miles of hiking trails, there are trails for the beginner and the experienced hiker.
I have hiked several of the hiking trails.


Carriage Hill Farms has some great trails with some neat remains of days gone by. You can read more about Carriage Hill Farm Part-1 and Carriage Hill Park Part-2 on these posts I wrote last summer.


Award-winning Twin Valley Back Packing Trail.
Bronze-level BicycleFriendly Community by League of American Bicyclists.
Over 60 miles of mountain biking trails, including award-winning MetroParks Mountain Bike Area (MoMBA) Five River Metro Parks
Three state designed water trails

As you can see by the map below Dayton is right smack in the center of three intersecting rivers. Stillwater, Mad, and Great Miami rivers. I grew up by the Great Miami river and watched as the bike trail was built. It’s no wonder they call Dayton the “Gem City”. Our rivers are a gem.

Map courtesy of the Miami Conservancy District

For more information about outdoor activities in Dayton and the surrounding area, check out the Five River Metro Park web page.

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