Thursday, August 28, 2003

Urban oasis holds scenic adventures


Walk this way: Eden Park

By Mandy Jenkins
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Lana Oriani is framed by purple flowers at Mirror Lake in Eden Park, a popular walking area.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
Eden Park is the Cincinnati city dweller's escape.

Established from a series of purchases in 1859, Eden Park offers 186 acres of trees, prairies and paths perfect for a brisk morning walk or romantic evening stroll.

The park offers so many paths through woods, along the river or dipping into nearby Mount Adams that any walk becomes a build-your-own adventure. Here's a route that gives you the best of everything Eden has to offer - in less than an hour.

What's so great about it?

The naturally beautiful park is home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Art Academy, Seasongood Pavilion and Playhouse in the Park. Having these cultural outlets along the walk path means you can incorporate more than just a good workout into your day. Headed for an afternoon in the museum? Wander the park afterward and get in your steps. If you're out on a romantic evening at the Playhouse, take a twilight stroll past the overlook at the Twin Lakes.

THE WALK
Distance: 4,053 steps, or a little more than 2 miles.

Difficulty: Moderate. There are other easier paths.

Location: Gilbert Drive between Elsinore and Morris.

Features: hiking and biking trails, garden paths, ice skating and arts institutions.

Tip: Be mindful of park traffic; many drivers don't slow down.

Best time: Year around.

Information: www.cinci-parks.org.

If you're looking for a quick walk, head to Eden Park to observe the magnolia gardens near Krohn Observatory, enjoy the quiet of the Presidential Grove or circle Mirror Lake.

What will I see?

Park near the museum and walk through Seasongood Pavilion to Mirror Lake. Beside the lake are the remains of an old reservoir and its giant stone retaining walls. On the other side of the lake, stop at the gazebo and watch the giant fountain sway in the wind.

If you head up the east side of the park, you can follow the river to the floral gardens of the conservatory, and then on to delightful Twin Lakes. If you take the time to wander near the lakes, you'll see a number of statues and foot bridges, not to mention the best panoramic river view in the city.

Taking the grove path across Eden Park Drive, you'll pass military memorials and symbolic tree groves. Quiet and cool, this route through the woods is peaceful and isolated enough to make you feel you aren't just minutes from downtown.

Do I have to be in shape?

There are a few hills along the route. Nevertheless, with so many sidewalks and paths to choose, there's an walk in Eden for every fitness level.

Send your favorite walks to srhone@enquirer.com




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