10 Dayton bucket-list activities to do before winter descends

A warm weekend and week may bring our first frost of the season this coming weekend. The University of Dayton student Abby Medler runs through Woodland Cemetery Monday October 12.
A warm weekend and week may bring our first frost of the season this coming weekend. The University of Dayton student Abby Medler runs through Woodland Cemetery Monday October 12.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Now, before the full fury of an Ohio winter descends upon us, is the perfect time to check off some of those Dayton bucket-list items.

Dayton is a city with lots to do no matter the season. However, certain activities are simply more enjoyable when stepping outside doesn’t require a third or fourth layer in order to stay warm.

Here are 10 activities people should consider to make the most of their November.

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🍂1. Grab a coffee along the Wayne Avenue Coffee Trail.

Destinations include Ghostlight Coffee, Press Coffee, Reza’s Roast, and Wholly Grounds, and more on the way. Just a short drive away are the Gem City Catfé and St. Anne the Tart, both on East Fifth Street. Something about a nip in the fall morning air makes strolling Dayton’s neighborhoods with a coffee cup in hand even more peaceful.

Reza’s Roast coffee shop opened on Wayne Avenue in Dayton in 2018. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Reza’s Roast coffee shop opened on Wayne Avenue in Dayton in 2018. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

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🍂2. Hop on a scooter.

Download the Spin app, find the closest e-scooter and zip around Dayton’s streets for a fun, breezy time. Spin trips are a super easy and unique way to explore downtown Dayton, and a couple of remaining days of relatively mild autumn weather provide an opportune time to take the trip.

Spin Electric Scooters provide a great way to zip around downtown Dayton. File photo by TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Spin Electric Scooters provide a great way to zip around downtown Dayton. File photo by TY GREENLEES / STAFF

🍂3. Book a room at a hotel in Dayton

Especially in a year where most travel plans were canceled due to the pandemic, try booking a downtown Dayton hotel for a full weekend and pretend like you’re visiting from out of town and experiencing the Gem City for the first time. It may open your eyes to some wonderful but overlooked things in your own back yards.

Exterior view of the relatively new Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott in downtown Dayton. CORY FROLIK / STAFF
Exterior view of the relatively new Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott in downtown Dayton. CORY FROLIK / STAFF

Credit: Cory Frolik

Credit: Cory Frolik

🍂4. Get out and paddle.

This one might require a bit of planning, but trust that there is nothing like paddling the Great Miami River or its tributaries in the fall.

The Miami Valley has plenty to offer when it comes to water recreation. In fact, this region is considered a destination for water sports enthusiasts. Grab some friends and enjoy the thrill of canoeing, kayaking and rafting before the season is gone.

For information on local paddling and about getting out on RiverScape’s River Run in downtown Dayton, visit https://www.metroparks.org/river-run/.

With close to 300 miles of water trails, along the Mad, Stillwater and Great Miami river, the Dayton region is ideal for paddlesports.
With close to 300 miles of water trails, along the Mad, Stillwater and Great Miami river, the Dayton region is ideal for paddlesports.

🍂5. View Dayton from the Woodland Cemetery.

Daytonians should know the beauty of Woodland Cemetery in the fall.

Aside from visiting the famous Daytonians who are buried here (including Paul Laurence Dunbar and the Wright brothers), Woodland offers a view like no other. Lookout Tower and Columbarium stands at the highest point in the city and is the ultimate spot for sightseers and lunch breaks.

Even as some trees are past their peak leaf colors, fallen leaves cover much of the well-kept grounds, coating the cemetery in a red and gold carpet.

One of the best places to walk and take in the fall colors is at Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum. Photo courtesy of Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum. CONTRIBUTED
One of the best places to walk and take in the fall colors is at Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum. Photo courtesy of Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum. CONTRIBUTED

🍂6. Hike Clifton Gorge.

The prettiest 2-mile stretch of the Little Miami State and National Scenic River, east of John Bryan State Park, Clifton Gorge is a must-do adventure (especially in the fall). It’s the perfect example of post-glacial canyon cutting and offers striking views for hikers.

There is easy access into the gorge via the parking lot located on Jackson Street in Clifton.

Clifton Gorge
Clifton Gorge

🍂7. Hit the Great Miami River Trail.

With 75 miles of trails, the Great Miami River Trail is the ultimate spot for runners, skaters or cyclists. The trail winds through downtown Dayton and RiverScape, past museums and several monuments.

Although open year-round, mild fall weather is prime time to pick up speed and cover some distance on the trail. The views are spectacular right now and experiencing the fall colors on the trail can give new appreciation to the Miami Valley’s unique geography.

A biker travels along the Great Miami River bike path. Staff file photo by Nick Daggy
A biker travels along the Great Miami River bike path. Staff file photo by Nick Daggy

Credit: Staff photo by Nick Daggy

Credit: Staff photo by Nick Daggy

🍂8. Take a fall walk and learn about Dayton history.

At RiverScape Inventor’s Walk, admire Daytonians' inventions by strolling down the green-and-white towers at Patterson Boulevard Canal Parkway. If you want to learn about some of the people who have shaped Dayton’s past, present and future, check out the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame at the corner of West Third and South Williams streets.

In Dayton's Wright-Dunbar neighborhood, the Dayton Region's Walk of Fame mural, in the 1100 block of West Third Street, commemorates poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright. LISA POWELL / STAFF
In Dayton's Wright-Dunbar neighborhood, the Dayton Region's Walk of Fame mural, in the 1100 block of West Third Street, commemorates poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright. LISA POWELL / STAFF

🍂9. Go see a breathtaking waterfall.

It may be surprising even to Dayton natives, but there are quite a few prime waterfall spots nearby. Visit waterfalls at Clifton Gorge, Charleston Falls, Ludlow Falls and West Milton, and in the Englewood MetroPark.

LUDLOW FALLS

Location: 110 Covington Ave., Ludlow Falls

The next time a heavy rain hits, make plans to find Ludlow Falls, located under the Route 48 bridge that runs over Ludlow Creek.

CHARLESTON FALLS

Location: 2535 Ross Road, Tipp City

Arguably the most popular waterfall in the Dayton-area, this is one stop you should be sure to visit on your adventure.

CLIFTON GORGE STATE NATURE PRESERVE

Location: 2381 Ohio 343, Yellow Springs

This preserve near John Bryan State Park has two trails that travel the rim of a 40-foot deep limestone gorge that holds a portion of the Great Miami River

WEST MILTON CASCADES

Location: 204 N. Miami St., West Milton

If you’re short on time but still need a mother-nature pick-me-up, this waterfall can be your quick fix.

Englewood Metropark falls

Location: 4361 W National Rd., Dayton

Just a short hike apart inside Englewood MetroPark are three falls — Martindale, Patty and Oaks Falls. Each has its own charm that can be seen close-up, either from the trail or on a nearby platform.

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Charleston Falls Preserve is the perfect destination for a fall hike and a waterfall view.
Charleston Falls Preserve is the perfect destination for a fall hike and a waterfall view.

🍂10. Complete our Fall Hiking Guide.

Last but not least on the list, make sure to make the most of fall weekends in Dayton by soaking in the best autumn hiking trails.

Depending on the type of adventure the day calls for, each park offers something completely unique and surprising. We’ve asked the experts — the nature aficionados — and their responses gave us Dayton’s official 2020 fall hiking guide.

Their go-to spots include Eastwood MetroPark, Possum Creek MetroPark, Hills & Dales MetroPark, Carriage Hill MetroPark, Germantown MetroPark, John Bryan State Park, Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve and honorable mentions, Bill Yeck Park and The Narrows in Beavercreek.

Visit Dayton.com to see more 2020 fall hiking guide details.

Eastwood MetroPark makes for a gorgeous fall hike.
Eastwood MetroPark makes for a gorgeous fall hike.

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