Dayton can no longer rely on the cultural cache of its aviation history, so a group of young outdoor enthusiasts associated with Five Rivers Metroparks is trying to re-brand the city as the adventure capital of the Midwest. They've already built an extended of mountain biking trails, which opened late last year.

Their latest project is a 22-mile backpack loop running between the Germantown and Twin Creek parks. Earlier this week, I got the chance to hike the Germantown section, camp out and do some fly fishing along Twin Creek, one of five waterways in the Greater Dayton area. It was an amazing experience perfect for those who have thought about backpacking -- but are a little scared to break in their boots.

[Metroparks homepage] [Germantown section] [Trail map]

The course was about 12 miles total, including a bit of backtracking required to get to one of the remote camping sites. I packed heavy, carrying all my fishing gear (including waders) and editorial materials. The habitat varies greatly from hardwood forests to grassy fields, and the terrain does the same from wide, easy paths to tough switchback hill climbs. Little of the trek would be too tough for beginners, except for about a mile near the camp ground.

A full report on my two-day trip will be included in the Ohio Outdoor Adventure issue planned for June 12 in Alive. For now, there's plenty of photos after the jump.

Dayton can no longer rely on the cultural cache of its aviation history, so a group of young outdoor enthusiasts associated with Five Rivers Metroparks is trying to re-brand the city as the adventure capital of the Midwest. They've already built an extended of mountain biking trails, which opened late last year.

Their latest project is a 22-mile backpack loop running between the Germantown and Twin Creek parks. Earlier this week, I got the chance to hike the Germantown section, camp out and do some fly fishing along Twin Creek, one of five waterways in the Greater Dayton area. It was an amazing experience perfect for those who have thought about backpacking -- but are a little scared to break in their boots.

[Metroparks homepage] [Germantown section] [Trail map]

The course was about 12 miles total, including a bit of backtracking required to get to one of the remote camping sites. I packed heavy, carrying all my fishing gear (including waders) and editorial materials. The habitat varies greatly from hardwood forests to grassy fields, and the terrain does the same from wide, easy paths to tough switchback hill climbs. Little of the trek would be too tough for beginners, except for about a mile near the camp ground.

A full report on my two-day trip will be included in the Ohio Outdoor Adventure issue planned for June 12 in Alive. For now, there's plenty of photos after the jump.

Our trip leader, Tom Helbig, treks through a flat section of maples

All the trails are surprisingly well marked

A boardwalk section near the Nature Center is a welcome respite

So is this great walk along the bottom of the Germantown Dam.

Small creeks dot the path, slowly filtering down to the larger waters

About 100 yards from this bank is where I caught a four-pound smallmouth bass