Get outside any time of the year

It might be cold, but there’s still plenty to do at Dayton-area MetroParks

By Valerie Beerbower

It’s winter in your MetroParks, and this is your reminder that you can get outside and enjoy your parks any time of the year. Take a deep breath of the fresh, crisp winter air. There are miles of wooded trails and paved bikeways waiting to be explored. Here are a few ideas to bust out of that cold-weather, shut-in rut.

Take a brisk hike in your favorite MetroPark. The scenery offers something unique to other seasons. Look for animal tracks or check out ice formations that line waterfalls and ledges. Not all birds migrate during cold months; keep an ear open for cardinals, woodpeckers, or robins. Loops can be shortened or lengthened based on how you feel or your skill level. Dress in warm layers and try to avoid wearing cotton. It absorbs moisture and could make you feel colder. Most department stores have a variety of moisture-wicking shirts and pants that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable on your hike. Hiking trails also are open for cross-country skiing.

Sledding hills are very popular after a good snowfall. Watch for “traffic” patterns—there are typically clear ascent and descent points. Once you sled to the bottom of the hill, move to the side to decrease the chance of colliding with another person sledding. Wait at the top of the hill for the person going down to clear the path. Simply being aware of your surroundings and recognizing potential risks will keep everyone safe and ensure this fun winter pastime will continue to leave positive memories for you and your family. Sledding hills include:
Carriage Hill MetroPark: pasture next to the visitor center at East Shull Road and State Route 201, Huber Heights.
Englewood MetroPark: West Park; use the 100 E. National Road entrance (US 40 at State Route 48) and follow the park road to the right for parking.
Germantown MetroPark: 6206 Boomershine Road, just north of Manning Road.
Taylorsville MetroPark: east side of Brown School Road, south of US 40.

You can still enjoy fishing when the temperatures drop. Look for the following ice fishing opportunities in a MetroPark near you:
Carriage Hill MetroPark: Ice fishing is permitted, but ice conditions are not monitored. Fish without a license and free-of-charge from the banks of both Cedar Lake and North Woods Pond.

  • Englewood MetroPark: Ice fishing is permitted off Old Springfield Road, but ice conditions are not monitored. An Ohio fishing license is required.
  • Possum Creek MetroPark: Ice fishing is permitted, but ice conditions are not monitored. Fish, free-of-charge and without a license, in ponds and Argonne Lake. There is a 10-inch minimum size on bass and a six-fish limit per day. Trout are introduced to the ponds during cold months (typically December through February or March).
  • Rivers and streams: You can also find good ice fishing spots in deeper sections of our local rivers and near warm-water discharges.


The winter season wouldn’t be complete without ice skating at RiverScape MetroPark! The rink will be open through Sunday, March 11, 2012. Check the schedule for open hours. The rink will be open every day during the season — including holidays! What better activity to enjoy when playing host to family and friends over the holidays than a downtown skate outing. Give your out-of-town guests a unique introduction to Dayton, or treat someone special in your life to an unforgettable evening!
Take advantage of skating programs scheduled at the rink. Young children will love donning costumes over their warm clothes for Ice Princesses or Ice Pirates. Teens and adults can skate to their favorite music on special theme nights. Skate to a variety of musical genres — from pop to oldies and country to hip hop. Curious spectators can check out Monday and Wednesday night broomball leagues. You can even learn to skate or learn to curl! Visit for a list of upcoming programs.

The PNC 2nd Street Market is open year-round. Choose from produce, meats, cheeses, dry goods, wine, fresh flowers, green household items, jewelry, pottery, artisan merchandise, knitted items, pet products, garden supplies, and more!
Cold-weather produce includes items such as potatoes, onions, fall squash, Swiss chard, kale, and apples. December was a mild month, but these items will have dwindling availability. You can find fresh herbs as early as February. Many farmers also offer preserved items, such as canned and pickled produce, apple butter, or apple cider.
Stop by the Market in January for how-to programs led by Market vendors and other entertainment. Chef Joe Fish from The Chef Case will give a gluten-free cooking presentation on January 19. Carol Reynolds from Annie’s will share recipes for your Super Bowl parties on January 27. Try different soup samples on January 12 and 13, and on January 14, bring the whole clan for Winter Family Fun Day. Visit for information about the Market and upcoming programs.

Reach DCP freelance writer Valerie Beerbower at

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