Five Rivers Metroparks – Twin Valley Backpack Trail
BackpackOhio.com status: This trail has not been visited
Nearest town: Germantown
Total distance: 22 miles
Hiking time: 2 to 3 days
Trail conditions: Very Good
Blazes: Backpacker icon
Water: Water must be cached, carried or treated from seasonal sources
Highlights: Secluded camps, diverse natural habitats
Maps: Five Rivers MetroPark’s Twin Valley Backpack Trail map
Contact info: Five Rivers Outdoors, phone: 937-277-4374
Getting there: There are two overnight parking areas for users of the backpack trail. One is located in Germantown MetroPark and the other location is in Twin Creek MetroPark.
For the overnight parking area in Germantown MetroPark, travel State Route 725 west out of downtown Germantown for 3.5 miles and make a right turn onto Boomershine Road. Travel Boomershine Rd. for 1.9 miles to the parking area on the right.
The location of the overnight parking area in Twin Creek MetroPark is located on Eby Road, 0.25 mile south of the intersection of State Route 4 and Eby Rd., or 1.4 miles south of downtown Germantown. Following South Cherry Street out of Germantown will pass through the small hamlet of Sunbury and then turn into Eby Rd.
The Twin Valley Backpack Trail is Ohio’s newest. It includes over 22 miles of hiking through the beautiful Twin Creek Valley of southwest Montgomery County connecting Germantown and Twin Creek MetroParks. These parks are part of larger park system in the Dayton area consisting of 18 MetroParks.
The majority of Germantown MetroPark’s 1665 acres reside in a pristine valley along Twin Creek behind the Germantown Dam. The 1200-foot long, 100-foot high “dry” dam completed by the Miami Conservancy District in 1920 was one of five dams constructed to control future flooding in the Miami River Valley after the Great Flood of 1913. Five Rivers MetroParks–the administrative name of Dayton’s metro park district–assumed operation of the area in 1967. Twin Creek MetroPark occupies 1000 acres of steep ravines and mature forest along Twin Creek, approximately three stream miles downstream of Germantown MetroPark.
The topography of the area is steep along Twin Creek and its numerous side ravines. Farther away, the land flattens out into gently rolling hills, more typical of southwest Ohio. An elevation change of 150 feet is common between the water level of Twin Creek and the crests of adjacent hills. A variety of habitats in various stages of natural succession are found within the boundaries of the parks. As a hiker, you’ll walk trough open grasslands, cedar glades, dry hillside prairies and mature old growth forest.
The Twin Valley Backpack Trail consists of three main components: the 6.8 mile Orange Trail loop at Germantown MetroPark, the 8.1 mile Orange and Purple Trail loops at Twin Creek MetroPark and a 7.3 mile connector trail that runs along Twin Creek and connects the two trail systems. The trail was largely created from sections of existing trail within Germantown and Twin Creek MetroParks. A backpacker symbol marks the route of the backpack trail. Along the trail, expect to see color coded symbols marking the routes and intersections of other park trails.
Secluded camping opportunities are available to backpackers at three locations along the trail: Cedar Ridge, Pine Ridge and Oak Ridge. Each location, called a pod, has three campsites with each individual site large enough for two small backpacking tents. These are primitive backcountry style campsites that can support up to four to six hikers depending on the style of tent. Each pod also has an outhouse along with a common area for cooking and gathering. Fires are not permitted. The maximum number of nights at any one pod per hike is two nights. Group camps for larger outings are also available.
A free backpacking permit is required for all overnight use of the backcountry. Permits for all overnight backcountry use must be obtained through the Outdoor Recreation Department of Five Rivers MetroParks. Permits cannot be picked up at either park and must be acquired in advance. See contact information above.
Water is not provided at any of the three backcountry camping areas, although it can be treated from nearby natural sources. At the Oak Ridge backcountry camping area in Germantown MetroPark, water can be collected at the nearby nature center and hauled back to camp or picked up en route to the camp. On the trail, natural water sources are plentiful but will require mechanical or chemical treatment. The connector trail between the two parks passes just south of Germantown village, offering the opportunity for a quick side trip to replenish and refuel with more options to choose from than just plain water and an energy bar.