Shawnee Lookout Park – North Bend, Ohio

First Lookout

A great park with loads to do! We went in search of a hike that was family friendly but still reasonably difficult. I love the outdoors. I’m not happy to simply stroll down paved paths all the time. I do not mind the paved paths that many parks offer but occasionally I want something a little more rustic. This park has that!

Ohio River View

Upon entering the park you will pay for either the day or a year pass. The year pass is only $10. It gets you into all Hamilton County Parks. If you live in the area and will be visiting the parks more then three times it makes sense. If you do not buy a year pass it is $3 to enter. You can get a park map at this time. It’s helpful in getting around but not necessary. At the end of the road, up a small hill is the small parking area for Miami Fort Trail. The path leading to the Shawnee lookout is dirt and rock. Very hilly! If you enjoy a little history this is a fun trail as well. There are signs for various historic sites along the trail. This was once a Shawnee camp. There are burial mounds and storage pits with markers. Wildlife is every where you look. We encountered frogs, bugs, butterflies, a snake, mushrooms, and many types of trees and plants, including flowers. You feel the technological world slip away for a while. It’s a nice feeling. It makes me feel lighter to let go of everything in the world when I step into the trees. There are views throughout the path. You simply have to stop and look when you get to the first viewing spot. It is a great view! At the end of the main trail is Shawnee lookout point. The view from here is amazing! You can see three states from this point: Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky! It’s a neat thing to know that you are seeing all three at once. The only issue with the view is the fact that it is marred by the bridge for the interstate.

Shawnee Lookout Point-South View
South View from Shawnee Lookout Point

If you do the entire trail including the small loop path this is perhaps an hour to an hour and a half. Keep in mind that we had a toddler in a lightweight jogging stroller with tires made for this kind-of stuff. This was handy except for the various stairs along the way. The long set of stairs on the small trail were the worst with the stroller! I highly recommend that if you bring a stroller to make sure it is lightweight and to bring two adults! I carried the back while my husband carried the front. You go down the stairs and directly up another set. Please be warned! If you are not decently fit I suggest sticking to the main trail and not bringing a stroller. Some of this trail even without the stroller would be hard for one person to haul a 20 to 40 pound toddler down. If you are the outdoorsy type of family, like we are, this is right up your alley!

Nature can be surprizingly beautiful


This is out where the path is barely visable!
Jump little froggy
There is no substitute for letting a child get hands on with Nature.

There are other things to do at this park besides hike. As you leave the path parking lot and go down the hill you will see a park on the right side. There are bathrooms here. They are a long way from nice but they get the job done. Next to the bathrooms is a decent park with small tee pees. They are cute and a good photo op for mom. Behind the playground is a huge field. Bella, my 1 year old, enjoyed running through this field. Ivy, my 10 year old, was more intrigued by the dragonflies that were at the back of the field. She is an inquizative, adventurous spirit, like her mother in many ways. I am proud of the fact that I have passed this on to her.

Next to the playground is a covered picnic area. It is large and has easy access to the play equipment. Across the parking lot, up a small hill is a more secluded picnic area. There are picnic tables set up in a small clearing in the woods.

Inside the big tube at the playground
A huge empty field to run is a toddlers dream!


After we were done with our potty, snack and play break we went to check out the historic log cabin and spring house school. This was a neat learning opportunity. The log cabin is a transplant that somebody donated. They had it moved to the park. The spring house school is original to the area. It is the stone building in the photo. The upstairs was used as a school house. The down stairs was used as a spring house for drinking water. The grounds around the two buildings are pretty. Behind the cabin is a herb garden. There is also an old timey fire pit, a stone well, and rock paths. There are signs to tell you the historical points.


Herb Garden
The Spring House School
Door to the spring house in the basement.

There are additional things that we did not get to on our trip. There is a visitor center with archaeological exhibits, bathrooms, snack bar and pro-shop. Some other things to do here include golfing, fishing, and boating. We spent about four hours on our trip to Shawnee Lookout Park. I would like to go back and enjoy some of the other things they offer. There is also two additional hiking trails.

The Details:


Price: $3/day or $10/year pass

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