There are plenty of winter hikes to take with a friend or loved one. Germantown MetroPark is pictured. PHOTO / Jan Underwood for Five Rivers Metroparks

Cabin fever cures: 4 free places to take a walk and see the sights

Getting outside could do us all some good right now. 

Moving — at any speed — is good for our bodies and is also a great stress reliever when concerns about the coronavirus pandemic are jangling our nerves. 

We live in a beautiful community with parks, trails and more in easy access. Consider getting out this weekend to see something you’ve never seen before. 

Here are a few ideas for places to visit. Just lace up your shoes and keep in mind we need to practice appropriate social distancing. 

CARILLON HISTORICAL PARK 

The Deeds Carillon is a 151-foot-tall tower, made of Indiana limestone, and originally designed with 32 bells. Eight of the first 32 bells were “silent,” each a memorial to a member of the Deeds family.SKY 7 / STAFF

Park in the parking lot at Carillon Historical Park  and stretch your legs. The park is closed but keep an eye out for the resident bald eagles, Orv and Willa, who fly from their nest to the river often to feed.

>>Orv and Willa, the Carillon Park bald eagles, have an egg in the nest

How’s this for an added bonus? The Westminster chimes within the Deeds Carillon strike every 15 minutes and mini-concerts of three to five selections will play at noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. 

WOODLAND CEMETERY 

The Lookout Columbarium and Plaza at Woodland Cemetery, which overlooks the city of Dayton and the Miami Valley.
Photo: Contributed

Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum comprises 200 acres and is considered one of the oldest “garden” cemeteries in the nation with more than 3,000 trees, many at least 100 years old and 165 specimens of native Midwestern woody plants. 

The grounds are open to the public each day between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. 

>>Five unique memorials you need to see at Woodland Cemetery

The cemetery has been the resting place for numerous early Dayton-area luminaries including Major David Ziegler, a Revolutionary War veteran and the first Mayor of Cincinnati and George Newcom, one of Dayton’s early settlers who ran a tavern on Main Street. 

Famous aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, inventor Charles Kettering and writer Erma Bombeck are also buried under the canopy of trees. 

Another reason to take the trek — one of the best views of the Dayton skyline can be found at the Lookout Columbarium and Plaza.

The cemetery has an app with three tours that can be found here.

A landmarks map can be found on the website here.

Two hikers take advantage of the mild weather in Germantown Metropark.
Photo: Five Rivers Metroparks

FIVE RIVERS METROPARKS 

Five Rivers MetroParks manages 18 parks and portions of six regional recreation trails. The MetroParks education coordinators and staff have offerred ideas for outdoor activities at home and away. 

The parks remain open, but some facilities have closed for the health and safety of staff, visitors and volunteers. Five Rivers MetroParks is taking the necessary precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including implementation of enhanced cleaning protocols in the parks and public spaces. It is recommended visitors take preventative action when visiting the park system, such as self-monitoring and practicing social distancing, and refraining from the use of shared playground equipment. 

Check the website for specific information about each park, hours and locations. 

TRAILS: Your Five Rivers MetroParks locations are home to 160 miles of natural surface trails for hiking, biking, mountain biking and horseback riding. And the greater Dayton region is home to more than 340 miles of paved trails — the nation’s largest paved trail network — and 270 miles of river corridor. 

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GARDENING: Now is the time to get outside to admire some early spring blooms or to start some seeds indoors to be ready to plant later in the spring. You can prep your at-home garden and start seeds with some help from kids if they are home from school and itching for something to do. 

HIKING: The Twin Valley Trail combines the network of trails in Germantown and Twin Creek MetroParks to create a longer, more integrated trail system totaling more than 43 miles through 2,600 acres. 

The birthplace of flight increasingly is becoming known as a good place to ride thanks to a new cycling tour, mountain bike park and bike lane additions. The Dayton region is home to the nation’s largest network of paved, off-street bike trails, and biking opportunities have taken off because of the Link bike-share program, Mike’s indoor bike park and public infrastructure investments. But bicycling fanatics have more to be excited about because the Rotary Club of Dayton in September will host the inaugural Tour de Gem – The Dayton Cycling Classic. Also, the city of Dayton is working to transform the underutilized Welcome Park near UD Arena into a mountain bike park that officials say will be unlike anything in the immediate area. "Bicycling has a deep history in the Dayton region and continues to be a quality of life amenity, economic driver and contributor in creating a healthy, active community," said Randy Ryberg, outdoor recreation coordinator for Five Rivers MetroParks. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

PADDLE THE RIVERS: When the weather warms up, paddle the whitewater features at Mad River Run in Eastwood MetroPark and the RiverScape River Run at RiverScape MetroPark. 

MOUNTAIN BIKING: MetroParks Mountain Biking Area (MoMBA): At Huffman MetroPark, MoMBA offers nine miles of mountain biking trails for those of all experience levels and ages. 

VIRTUAL TOURS: Can’t get out? Virtual tours of the MetroParks using Google Map are available. Simply Google the park destination in which you wish to explore. Next open the location in Google Maps. Click, drag and drop the little person in the right corner and start exploring. 

MURALS 

The whimsical 'Inventors Tree house' created by the Mural Machine, climbs up the side of a brick building that houses the Clash boutique and gallery, 521 E. Fifth St. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Photo: Lisa Powell

If you haven’t been in downtown Dayton for a while, you will be amazed at all the public art. For the last several years local artists have created beautiful and whimsical artwork throughout the city. 

The murals have become so prolific, along with sculptures and other pieces of art, the Downtown Dayton Partnership put together a self-guided public art map that can be downloaded using the Avenza app. Information and instructions for downloading can be found here

You’ll come across many murals just walking through the Oregon District. 

>>10 downtown Dayton murals you have to see

Lions greet visitors at the entrance along Fifth Street by the Mural Machine, followed by a wall full of cats on the side of Lily’s Bistro, 329 E. Fifth St. 

The whimsical “Inventors Treehouse,” climbs up the side of a brick building that houses the Clash boutique and gallery, 521 E. Fifth St. and don’t forget to take a selfie at the beloved “Dayton Inspires” wall on the side of Brim on Fifth, 464 E. Fifth St.

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