Take The Newport/Ft. Thomas exit off I-471, turn right if coming from the south, left if from the north. Follow Grand Ave. about 2 1/2 miles till you see a large stone tower at entrance to tower park. Trails start at various points towards back of park.
Summary: The thing that makes a mountain bike trail a good mountain bike trail is that it needs to have a balance of technical ability and speed, say 50 - 50, or even 60 - 40. This trail clearly lacks the required speed sections for it to qualify as a good trail. For technical difficulty, it offers nothing but roots, logs, and rocks, which will test even the seasoned riders. And with plenty of hill climbing, you will get a good workout. But it's missing the sections of trail where you can pick up some speed, run through multiple S curves, in and out of trees. It has very little of this. I would put it at 95% technical and 5% speed.
The trails are also lacking in flow with no clearly defined loop. Instead it's a hodge podge of intersecting trails, some right on top of each other, with no clearly understood direction of travel. I had the distinct feeling that the orignal intent of these trails were more for hiking than biking. In fact, when I rode it yesterday, I saw more people hiking than I did biking, which only amounted to 2 other riders I ran across, each one confused as I was one which trail to take.
Having riding mountain bike trails for the past 20+ years as far away as Arizona and Utah to Germany, I found the Tower Park trails to be only a fair example (at best) of what a mountain bike trail should be. If this is the best KY has to offer in the Cincinnati area, then be prepared for longer drives to other mountain biking trails, perhaps in West VA. Tower Park is not worth anything more than a 30 min drive.
Recommended Route: Back on I-275 with your bike on the rack
Other recommended trails in the same area: Idlewild
Summary: I am true novice. This trial has some very tough sections like the downhill switchbacks. I could not make one turn. I really was out of my element as a new person to biking with very limited trail and endurance. I would think if you have any skills this would be a challenging fun course.
Recommended Route: park near map kiosk , follow cochran to clitz rd, right turn to end and trail hit "otterslide" then brake and turn right into the switchbacks.
Other recommended trails in the same area: England Idlewild
Summary: First off, let me say the reviewer below is totally off base. Yes, some of the trails have been here before bikes were invented, but much has been added in the mid-90's by Jason Reser, Mike Lehrter, and other trail builders in accordance with IMBA standards. The length of the system is about 7.5 miles of hilly, technical, fitness testing singletrack. Races are held annually with one coming up on April 25th, and there are talks of having time trials like up at Harbin Park. I love to ride down the switchbacks, then to really test my fitness ride up the Otter Slide which is a 300 foot climb with roots to navigate around. You can look up the trails on Facebook, just type in Tower Park Trails. I usually go out 2-4 times a week, either to ride or do trail maintenance. This type of trail isn't for everyone, but ride it enough and your bike handling skills will improve! I can say this is the most technical trail in the Cincinnati area. There really are no smooth sections, alot of rocks and roots, so be sure to pay attention and wear a helmet.
Recommended Route: There are multiple trail-heads. I usually park in the parking lot to the left from the stop sign. From there I go to the back behind the baseball diamond and veer left on the sidestreet which will take you to a clearing with and old fire pit. That is my favorite trail-head, this is the beginning of the Otter Slide, so prepare to use those brakes! These trails have been recently marked by the Boyscouts with 4x4's and there is a map by the tennis courts. You can't really get lost as all the trails eventually circle back around.
Other recommended trails in the same area: England-Idlewild, KY. Harbin Park, Farfield. Caeser Creek, Waynesville. Hueston Woods, Oxford. East Fork. Mitchell Memorial.
Summary: The Tower Park activity path was never designed as a Mountain Bike trail, it's more like a military training course and that's exactly what it is. Ft. Thomas/Tower Park, among other things, is a historic Army Post. In its day, the post served as an induction center, a training camp and a staging area for troops preparing for deployment. If you've ever been to boot camp, this "trail" will bring back a lot of podiatrist memories. This area has been repurposed from a full-pack, hiking grinder to a walking path...and to some regard, a bike trail.
It's situated on a hill-side that leads to the Ohio River. If you've ever been in Metro Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky, you know that nothing is flat. Large sections of the path are generously covered in crusher-run gravel and wood chips to facilitate drainage and prevent erosion. The path is a hodge-podge of poorly marked, semi-sections that all lead back...to nowhere. Did I mention it was originally a product of the Government?
Regarding Mountain Biking, it's a challenge; you're either ascending or descending, not much in between - sort of like a parking garage surfaced in gravel. From an enthusiast point of view, I'd look elsewhere. It's not that you won't get an incredible work-out, you will. And you'll see plenty of natural scenery, such as the Mary Ingles Spillway (Not the Little House on the Prairie Ingles, but rather the Big Bone Lick-captured by the Shawnee-Mary Ingles) and on a clear day, the Ohio/Kellogg Sewage Treatment Plant.
If it seems like I'm being overly harsh on the review of this trail, you're right. I've ridden plenty of technical-to-advanced trails, and in theory, Tower Park qualifies as such...for all the wrong reasons. It was never designed as an advanced MTB trail; it's simply been adapted from a RIF grinder to a municipality GP trail.
That's not to say that I don't ride it, I do. It's my (at best) once weekly after-work burn session...sort of like getting a colonoscopy because you know you should but you'd rather be shot in the face with a gun that shoots venomous cobras. So despite all the hate, it's not completely horrible, but close. One good point is that I know I'm not alone - except when riding this place. On a good day - weekend, sunny, dry - you’d be hard-pressed to find two, maybe three MTBr's enjoying the Tower Park gauntlet.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Drive a little further, Eastfork, England-Idlewild and without a doubt, Versailles (Indiana). If you're looking for a good after work burn-session, throw on some road wheels and go to rails-to-trails at Lunken.
Summary: This is an excellent trail in regards to technical difficulty. It has tight switch-backs, log-overs, a few nice downhill sections. You can ride the Otter Slide all the way down to Route 8, about a 200-300 foot descent.
Yes, the trails could use some markings, but if you just explore, you will soon find all the trails. Overall, these trails are not for the faint of heart, you really need to pay attention as the changing terrain will quickly catch you off guard.
Recommended Route: Although it may not be marked, once you see the Otter Slide, you will know it! Just look for a section that looks near suicide if attempted. Once you get down to the road, turn left and enter the driveway on your left about .2 miles, it's a nice concrete driveway that has a steep incline, you want to keep going straight when the driveway veers to the right, the trail emerges again as a gravel road. Now this is a nice climb to the top, but it doesn't end at Tower Park, so just turn around and let loose! You can easily hit 30+ mph on the way down, and there are even a couple of jumps to catch some decent air!
Other recommended trails in the same area: East Fork, Idlewild, Harbin Park, Ceaser Creek, Hueston Woods