South 80 Trails Are A Walk Into Another World
The South 80 Gardens and Walking Trails Park in Mariemont, Ohio, offer an amazing journey into a secluded natural area just minutes away from town. We walked on Saturday, June 23, 2018, at 4:30 p.m., with a temperature of 80 degrees, and a cloudy sky. We made our way off Wooster Pike through the residential streets of Mariemont toward the community pool at 329 Algonquin Way, where we parked in the paved parking lot also used for the pool.
The trail begins as a road that goes down a sharp hill toward a stone tunnel, wide enough for one car only. The trail then circles a large flat field lined with trees. There’s a small sign in wood box that shows a map of the trails, but it was dirty and not easy to read. We walked to the left on the wide trail, a mix of dirt, stones, and crumbled asphalt. Even though it had rained a lot recently, there were only a few areas of puddles and mud.
We walked briskly, enjoying the abundant greenery, including soy planted in the field, and grass areas to do exercises as indicated by instructional signs. There were also dirt trails that veered off the main trail leading into the wooded area. These were lovely trails leading to Whiskey Creek and the Little Miami River that run along side the park with vegetation that seemed perfectly arranged to make the experience simply stunning. One trail even lead to an area that was roped off for an archeological dig at being conducted by the University of Cincinnati. According to archeologist Kenneth Tankersley, the site is an ancient Native American home.
We walked full circle back to the beginning where you come to the area that residents have set up vegetable gardens. There was a picnic table and trash cans near this area as well. By walking just the main trail around the open area, we walked 1.75 miles.
Restrooms: There was one port-a-potty in the parking lot.
Traffic Noise: There is no traffic noise, or sounds or sights of civilization at all.
Historic Points of Interest: An archeological dig called the Madisonville Site, located next to Mariemont Swimming Pool, was conducted from the 1800’s to the 1970’s. They found remains of Fort Ancient Indians that occupied the area for hundreds of years during the 1400 to 1600 time period. A serpent mound also extends along the bluffs above the South 80 Trail, and alongside the trail itself. Mariemont is soon to open an addition to its Village Hall to showcase local artifacts found in the various digs in the area.
Overall Rating: This was one of our favorite walking places. The wide open space, unusual tunnel, magical trails into the woods, and charming gardens, made the experience delightful. The area was well cared for without a speck of litter or anything in disrepair. As we walked along, soaking up the beautiful greenery, hearing nothing but birds chirping and the wind in the treetops, we found ourselves escorted by variety of stunning butterflies sharing in the beauty and joy of the day.