If you’re looking for a private full nature experience, look no further, you can find it at the East Loveland Nature Preserve. Located at 313-343 E. Loveland Ave., Loveland, OH, 45140, it is right around the corner from the heart of Loveland, close to restaurants, shops, and the Loveland entrance to the bike trail of the Little Miami State Park. Don’t let the convenient location fool you. It may be close to all the action of a busy town, but once you are on the trail, you feel miles away.
We arrived at the trail at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 1, 2016. It was overcast, and the temperature was 41 degrees. The parking lot was newly paved asphalt, right off East Loveland Ave., but is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it because it is a shared parking lot with a Moose Lodge and the Loveland Fire Department, and there is no sign to identify the preserve. Once we parked, we saw a trail going into a wooded area with a small sign that said ‘Recreational Trails.’
The trail begins on a charming bridge, then continues as a narrow dirt path, circling and curving through the woods. From beginning to end, we were completely immersed in nature, with nothing but the sights and sounds of nature to capture our attention. The trail was flat and a little muddy, making it’s way in and out of the wooded area and along side the large O’Bannon Creek, including an occasional path down the bank of the creek to the water’s edge. There were numerous informative signs along the trail as well, with information on the trees and vegetation, and a map of the park, showing where you were on the trail at each stop. Wooden benches were also placed at scenic spots along the trail, including a bench at a designated ‘Quiet Reflecting Area.’ As we ended the trail, circling back to the parking lot, we had walked 1.5 miles.
Restrooms: There were no restrooms of any kind.
Traffic Noise: There was no traffic noise.
Interesting Features: The informative signs really made the walk interesting. They explained everything from the types of trees and vegetation along the trail, to the history of the property, to the history of the vegetation. Other interesting features included a bird blind, and scenic areas along the trail above creeks, large and small, including an area above rapids on the O’Bannon Creek.
Historic Points Of Interest: O’Bannon Creek, which runs alongside the nature preserve, is named for John O’Bannon, the first surveyor in Clermont County. O’Bannon did his surveys before any settlers were in Ohio, and while the Indian wars were still going on. The land surveyed was to be used for payment for Virginia’s soldiers who had fought in the Revolutionary War. A Private in the Army could expect 100 acres, and a Major General could get 15,000 acres. Most of it went unclaimed or was sold to commercial interests as Congress delayed any awards for 13 years after the war’s end. The nature preserve, like the area around it, was part of land surveyed from payment to soldiers, and was later used as agricultural land until becoming the nature preserve.
Overall Rating: This trail was one of our favorites. We loved being fully immersed in nature from beginning to end, including the beautiful stretches along the O’Bannon Creek. It was in a convenient location, but felt miles away from civilization, as we heard nothing but the rustling of leaves in the wind, the calls of a flock of geese flying overhead, water rippling over rocks below us, and, being the only people on the trail, just the sounds of our own steps along the trail. The trail became very muddy in a few spots, however, and we were glad the ground was not any wetter during our walk. We were impressed at how clean the park was, without a speck of litter or debris, making the experience a complete escape from our everyday lives, as we opened our hearts and our senses to the quiet, healing messages from glorious nature around us.