Key At-A-Glance Information
Length: 3 miles
Scenery: Woods, art, water features, and conservatory
Exposure: Sun and shade
Trail surface: Paved, soil, and gravel
Hiking time: 1.5–2 hours
Driving distance: 10 minutes from downtown Cincinnati
Access: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.
Maps: Eden Park map
Wheelchair accessible: Paved portions
Facilities: Restrooms and drinking water at the art museum and conservatory
For more information: Cincinnati Parks Department, 513-352-4080
Special comments: Break free of the hustle and bustle and enjoy a nice, leisurely hike around Mirror Lake and through the Krohn Conservatory.
Eden Park’s creation began in 1859. The park encompasses 186 acres near downtown Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Art Academy, Playhouse in the Park, Murray Seasongood Pavilion and Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory are all located on the property.
Begin this hike at the Cincinnati Art Museum’s parking area. Head south of the building, following the sidewalk downhill to the street crossing. Eden Park is peppered with sculptures, artwork, and specialty gardens.
Cross the street at the bottom of the hill and walk along the paved path to the left, which leads to the large sycamore trees in front of the Seasongood Pavilion. The pavilion was built in 1959 to commemorate former Mayor Murray Seasongood.
Walk to the right of the pavilion and pass under the conical bald cypresses with feathery-looking leaves. The path leads to the entrance to Mirror Lake at 0.42 miles, on the left. Mirror Lake is a raised body of water surrounded by a concrete edge. The lake’s decorative fountain is peaceful and beautiful.
Follow the concrete pathway around the lake and back to the entrance. Turn left and follow the concrete path downhill and past the service entrance, to the corner of Park Side Place and Martin Drive at 0.9 miles. On the adjacent corner is the Cincinnati Art Club and Gallery.
Take the trail to the left and continue uphill. The enormous wall resembling a fort is a remnant of the old reservoir wall.
At the entrance to the walkway along the top of the wall, take a moment and walk down to the end and enjoy the view. The touches of elegant stone and ironwork are a wonderful and surprising treat.
Return to the trail and continue following it to the left. At 1.3 miles, the trail passes the restful Hinkle Magnolia Garden, which includes a fountain and small gazebo.
Return to the trail and follow it uphill to the intersection of Eden Park Drive and Martin Drive. Take the trail to the right and continue to the Krohn Conservatory. (This is where you’re going to need to budget some extra time.)
Built in 1933, the Krohn Conservatory is nationally recognized as a showcase for more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. In addition to the gardens, the conservatory hosts many programs throughout the year, including a butterfly show, holiday display, and bonsai gardening.
The hike continues directly across from the front of the Krohn Conservatory. Look across the road to the stone path that leads uphill and into the area with five memorial plantings of trees. The Presidential Grove began in 1882 and is the largest of the memorials.
Also in this area, at 1.6 miles, is a 172-foot-tall Water Tower. Built in 1894, the tower is currently used by the City of Cincinnati as a communications facility. Continue on the footpath down to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 1.7 miles.
Cross the street to the Twin Lakes area. Continue on the concrete path and stay to the right. Follow the path by the concession stand. The trail leads to an overlook area and views of the Ohio River and the northern Kentucky hillside. The sycamore tree leaning over the pond, bronze statues, stone bridge, and
waterfalls make this area delightful.
Continue walking around the Twin Lakes to the stone bridge. Cross the stone bridge and follow the path to the trail that leads along the edge of Eden Park Drive. Look down Eden Park Drive toward Krohn Conservatory and to the Melan Arch Bridge, built with concrete in 1894. This bridge was an engineering accomplishment that garnered worldwide attention. The stone eagles that guard the bridge are from the Chamber of Commerce building that was destroyed by a fire in 1911.
Cross the road and return to the path that leads uphill to the Water Tower. At the tower, continue on the trail to the left and retrace your steps to the Hinkle Magnolia Garden. When you reach the garden’s gazebo at 2.5 miles, continue on the trail to the right, which parallels Eden Park Drive.
Follow this trail uphill to Spring House Gazebo, at 2.8 miles. This gazebo replaced a straw-shack springhouse built in 1904. The spring was thought to have medicinal qualities, and people carted away 100 barrels of water daily. Unfortunately, contamination shut down the spring in 1912.
From Spring House Gazebo, cross the road and continue on the trail to the northwest. This trail borders Eden Park Drive. Cross the road again to follow the trail uphill at 3 miles. The trail climbs a series of large, cut-stone steps.
Once you reach the top, you’ll be back in the Cincinnati Art Museum parking area. This is a good time to take a few minutes and enjoy the variety of artwork at Cincinnati Art Museum, including the 1851 painting “Blue Hole” by Robert S. Duncanson. This oil on canvas depicts a portion of the Little Miami River in Clifton Gorge.
GPS Trailhead Coordinates
UTM Zone (WGS84) 16S
Latitude: N 39 degrees 06' 54.03"
Longitude: W 84 degrees 29' 49.39"
You must try Graeter’s Ice Cream. Hungry for lunch? Dine under the canopy at Mecklenburg Garden or enjoy lunch at the Cincinnati Art Museum’s restaurant. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is also close by just in case you want to feed a giraffe.