Published June 24, 2021

New this summer: Trailside camping

Heads up! This article was published 3 years ago.

Dayton-area visitors now have a new option for spending a night beneath the stars: trailside camping.

These sites join MetroParks’ 23 existing camping options, which include frontcountry campsites, accessible by motor vehicles, and backcountry campsites, accessible on foot. The trailside campsites support travelers without a motor vehicle who are passing through the region and need a place to stop before continuing their journey.

“Trailside camping fills a niche to support hikers, cyclists and paddlers who are traveling through Montgomery County on the paved trail network, water trails, and long-distance hiking and bicycle touring routes,” said Brent Anslinger, MetroParks’ outdoor recreation program manager. “These travelers may be out for a few days or on a multi-month adventure that covers thousands of miles. Trailside camping is one more critical amenity that welcomes adventure seekers to the area.”

The new trailside campsites are located along seven long-distance touring routes that run through Montgomery County:

The sites also support Dayton’s designation as a Trail Town of two long-distance trails, the Buckeye Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail, and build the region’s growing reputation as The Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest. Trailside camping also supports MetroParks’ 10-year comprehensive master plan and park master plans.

“Dayton is The Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest in part because of all the regional and national trails and routes that pass through the area, including Ohio’s only National Scenic Trail and only National Water Trail, among others,” Anslinger said. “It’s exciting to invite people traveling these routes — as well as anyone seeking multi-day experiences on Miami Valley Trails, the nation’s largest paved trail network with more than 350 miles to explore — to experience Montgomery County and the Great Miami Riverway in a new way.”

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Trailside campsites are open year-round. Each can accommodate two small tents and up to six people, with a two-night maximum at the same site. Camping is by permit only but can be booked in advance or on the spot by visiting

These primitive trailside camping sites are located in shaded areas with a restroom nearby in three MetroParks:

  • Island MetroPark, 101 E. Helena St. — located near the Great Miami River Trail and along the Great Miami River Water Trail on the northern edge of the park near a new prairie.
  • Eastwood MetroPark, 1385 Harshman Rd. — located between the Mad River Trail and Buckeye Trail
  • Taylorsville MetroPark, 2000 U.S. 40 — located on the south side of the dam along the Great Miami River Trail

The cost to reserve a trailside campsite is $5 per night during peak season, from April 1 through Oct. 31, and $3 per night from Nov. 1 through March 31.

To develop its trailside camping options, Five Rivers MetroParks worked with local, regional and national partners that share the strategic goal of enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities that allow people to connect with nature. Partners include Bike Miami Valley, the Great Miami Riverway, Buckeye Trail Association, North Country Trail Association, National Park Service, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and Adventure Cycling Association. Sources from these organizations can be provided upon request.

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