The Daniel Carter Beard Riverwalk is a 5 mile hike featuring a stop at Daniel Carter Beard’s childhood home in Covington, Kentucky, the place where a young Dan Beard played in the woods developing a love of the outdoors that would one day become the foundation for the Boy Scouts of America. Our hike will take you through 3 cities in 2 states and across 3 historic bridges over 2 major rivers! Enjoy the scenic beauty of the Ohio River from the Roebling Bridge, Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove as you learn about the deep, rich history of our community.
Parking for the trail is available on Newport’s Riverboat Row. This is easy to access from I-471 Southbound. If you come from the NORTH across the Daniel Carter Bridge, the first Kentucky exit (Exit 5) will swing around onto Park Avenue NORTHBOUND. If you cross Dave Cowens Drive (KY Route 8) and pass thru the Newport Port of Entry gate, a left hand turn to the WEST will take you down towards the parking area under the L&N (“Purple People”) Bridge. If you are coming from the SOUTH on I-471, take the last Kentucky exit (Exit 5), turn left (WEST) on Dave Cowens Drive (KY Route 8), then right (NORTH) on Park Avenue to pass thru the same Newport Port of Entry gate gate. (See the map below.)
On the EAST just inside the Park Avenue levee gate is a plaque honoring Daniel Carter Beard, and naming the big golden arched bridge for him. Dan Beard was a former Covington resident and one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America. Our scout council is also named after him.
NOTE: Compass directions in this guide – a look at the trail map will show that the streets of Cincinnati, Newport and Covington do not follow a true north-south grid due to the curves of the river. Therefore, the compass directions in this guide are approximate, not exact. For simplicity, the directions given are the closest cardinal direction.
Riverboat Row and Newport Riverwalk
After parking on Riverboat Row under the Newport end of the L&N (“Purple People”) Bridge and locking your vehicle, head WEST (downriver) along Riverboat Row. The view across the Ohio River NORTH to Cincinnati is fabulous. Pass under the Taylor-Southgate Bridge and immediately go up the stairs to the SOUTHWEST onto the top of the levee. This Newport section of Riverwalk on the levee top has a number of stations with historical plaques to read.
Where the levee turns SOUTH to follow the Licking River, descend the steps into Taylor Park. Taylor Park is the site of the old Newport Barracks, a military outpost during the French and Indian War. The park is named for General James Taylor, a founder of Newport and one of the two namesakes of the Taylor- Southgate Bridge that you will later cross.
After visiting Taylor Park, climb the stairs back to the top of the levee and head SOUTH. One historical station ahead is dedicated to the Boy Scouts and this trail. At the end of the levee sidewalk, you’ll come to a footbridge onto the Veterans Memorial Bridge. Turn WEST at the bridge and cross the river into Covington.
Veterans Memorial Bridge to the Boy Scout Plaza
After the bridge, the first intersection is at Garrard Avenue and Fourth Street. Turn NORTH on Garrard and go one full block (don’t take the first alleyway that looks like a street). Turn EAST onto Third Street.
The Daniel Carter Beard House
The Boy Scout Plaza and Dan Beard’s boyhood home is on the left at the end of East Third Street. The Beard House is now a private residence and is listed on the National Historic Register. You are welcome to explore the Plaza and have your picture taken in front of the statue of Dan Beard with his hand on the shoulder of a Scout
Down to the River – Boy Scout Plaza to the Suspension Bridge
From Boy Scout Plaza, go NORTH on an unnamed alley for a full block. Turn EAST onto Second Street. The last house on the right on Second Street, the Carneal House, was part of the Underground Railroad. Follow Second Street EAST as it becomes Shelby, named for Kentucky’s first Governor Isaac Shelby. Shelby turns NORTH and then WEST as it becomes Riverside Drive.
Along Riverside Drive, you’ll pass a series of historic homes and landmarks. You’ll find life- sized statues of John James Audubon, Indian Chief Little Turtle, James Bradley, Riverboat Capt. Mary Greene, Pioneer Simon Kenton and bridge builder John Roebling. They were placed during Cincinnati’s bicentennial in 1988. When you get to George Rogers Clark Park on the SOUTH side of the street.
From George Rogers Clark Park, continue walking WEST on Riverside Drive. Across the Ohio River you can see the Underground Railway Freedom Center and both of the Cincinnati stadiums. Eventually, Riverside Drive ends and becomes a SIDEWALK. Keep going WEST thru a parking lot and under the Roebling Suspension Bridge.
Just past the bridge you will find a series of 18 historical Roebling Murals painted by Robert Dafford on the Covington floodwall. They took 5 years to paint. As you walk WESTWARD, the murals go from oldest to most recent time – look at the top of each for the year depicted. After viewing the murals, backtrack to the EAST and climb the blue stairs leading up onto the WEST side of the Roebling Bridge. On the bridge, head NORTH across the Ohio River.
The Roebling Suspension Bridge
Enjoy your walk across the world’s oldest suspension bridge. Completed in 1865, the 1,057- foot bridge span was then the world’s longest. John Roebling designed and built this historic bridge, which he then used to convince the city fathers of New York to let him build the Brooklyn Bridge. Redesigned for the load of heavier traffic in the 1890’s, another set of cables and a wider deck were added. The metal grid roadway makes the bridge sing when traffic crosses. The original cables are the lower ones. This elegant bridge is lighted at night forming graceful arcs marking the bridge’s steel cables. Great American Ballpark on your right is home of the Cincinnati Reds. The stadium to the left is Paul Brown Stadium, the home of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Suspension Bridge to Sawyer Point
After reaching the Ohio side of the Roebling Bridge, DESCEND the first stairway available. At the BOTTOM of the stairs, head SOUTH towards the river and turn EAST on the sidewalk. Walk EAST on the sidewalk towards the Great American Ballpark, crossing at the light to stay on Mehring Way as it turns NORTH and becomes Main Street. You will come to a large red paddlewheel suspended in the air on the SOUTH side of the ballpark.
The National Steamboat Monument is a reminder of the steamboat heritage of Cincinnati and is topped by the original 30-foot diameter paddlewheel of the American Queen, the largest overnight passenger steamboat to be built in the last half century. The paddlewheel was given to the City of Cincinnati when the steamboat was refitted with a slightly smaller one. Beneath the bright red wheel is a whistle grove made of two-dozen stainless steel columns, called torchiers, built to represent smokestacks. Photo sensors set off steam jets that whistle and hiss when you walk past them. At the height of the riverboat era in the mid 1800s, 8,000 riverboats a year, an average of about 22 per day, docked at the Public Landing just down the riverbank from the Monument.
After visiting the Steamboat Monument, keep walking EAST on the sidewalk. A series of concrete columns just past the Monument is the Steamboat Hall of Fame. Each column has two plaques that tell the story of historic steamboats from the past. Look for the ironclad warship that once traveled the Ohio River.
As you travel EAST under the Taylor-Southgate Bridge, you will notice that the sidewalk contains railroad rails. Follow the rails as they continue EAST into the back of the Yeatman’s Cove area, past the Lytle Tower Fountain / Pool, under the L&N Bridge, and into Sawyer Point. Sawyer Point is named after Charles Sawyer, a Cincinnati politician that donated 1 million dollars to develop this area from an old metal scrap yard. There are restrooms and water fountains in Yeatman’s Cove and Sawyer Point.
The Sawyer Point Area
Continue following the railroad tracks into Sawyer Point until you reach a large reddish concrete column on the right topped by Noah’s Ark. The 8o foot line on the column represents the water level in the 1937 flood – the worst recorded Ohio River flood. Turn NORTH here and pass thru a brick representation of one of the Miami and Erie Canal’s locks. This is where the canal to Toledo started, taking 10 locks to raise up to downtown level along what is now Eggleston Avenue ahead of you. Just NORTH of the lock gateway, turn WEST on the sidewalk and read the plaque detailing the features of Bicentennial Commons. If it is open, the nearby parking lot attendant booth just to the NORTH has free maps of the Sawyer Point area. Backtrack EAST along the sidewalk next to the parking lot and climb a set of stairs to the SOUTH just before you go under the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge.
At the top of the stairs you will find a scale model of all of the locks and dams on the entire Ohio River from Pittsburgh, PA to Cairo, IL. Follow this model river WEST, stopping at its midpoint at “Cincinnati”. Look up and count the flying pigs to answer Question Six. Continue WEST along the model river to its end and beyond.
When the sidewalk nears the parking lot, veer SOUTH to the wide sidewalk that skirts the P&G Pavilion (big white sail covering a stage with a grass lawn in front). Walk EAST on this sidewalk, passing the Noah’s Ark column on the left, going under the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge past a “Stonehenge-like” rock, passing the playground and tennis courts on the left, and coming to the three white poles of the Crusader Carillon, built by Cincinnati’s Verdin Bell Company.
Just past the carillon, turn SOUTH and then WEST down a hill to find the Dr. Frederick A. Hauck Geologic Timeline inset in the sidewalk. Each square represents one million years of geologic time. At the bottom of the hill, read about the old Cincinnati Waterworks Front Street pumphouse, whose shell still stands here. Follow the timeline WEST to its end near the Cincinnatus statue. Notice the narrow stainless steel piece at the end of the timeline that represents the whole of the earth’s recorded human history. Take a few minutes to read the historical markers here, and to read about how Cincinnati got its name from Cincinnatus on the plaque in front of his statue.
Yeatman’s Cove and the Public Landing
Next, pass WEST through the L&N Bridge Arches. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad Bridge opened in 1872 as the first Ohio River railroad crossing at Cincinnati. It was added on to and reworked many times, and now serves as the “Purple People Bridge”, the first pedestrian-only bridge
over the Ohio River. If the river level allows, immediately turn SOUTH down the steps to then walk WEST on the base of the Serpentine Wall thru Yeatman’s Cove on to the Public Landing.
Yeatman’s Cove is the birthplace of Cincinnati, where pioneers first landed in December of 1788. The city’s first name was Losantiville. This clever name comes from “L” for Licking River, “os” which is Latin for mouth, “ante” which is Greek for opposite, and “ville” meaning town – or all put together, “the town opposite the mouth of the Licking River”. The Army built Fort Washington on higher ground near present day Lytle Park. The territory across the river was wilderness being explored by Daniel Boone and friends. In 1790, General Arthur St. Clair, Governor of the Northwest Territory, changed the city’s name to Cincinnati. This was to honor the Society of Cincinnati, an organization of Revolutionary War officers to which he belonged. Cincinnati was chartered officially in 1788. The nickname “Porkopolis” arose years later as the region became a center of pork production.
As you leave the Serpentine Wall, you enter the broad concrete expanse of the Public Landing. The Showboat Majestic is permanently moored here and is a floating theater. The Public Landing is a working dock where recreational boats can be launched for free, and where the Delta Queen ties up when she returns here to her home port. Keep walking WEST next to the river and on to the cobblestones near the Steamboat Monument. Look up under the Monument to see the steam pipes that make the Whistle Grove come alive.
Climb the steps just downriver from the Steamboat Monument NORTH towards the red paddlewheel and carefully cross Mehring Way on the brick crosswalk to the hidden stairway leading up to the Great American Ballpark. Climb up to the Plaza Level of the ballpark, noticing the view into the stadium. At the top of the stairs, head EAST on the river side of the US Bank Arena. Take time to read the historical information along the railing about the navigation dams on the Ohio River.
Recrossing the Ohio River
On the Plaza Level, walk EAST toward the Taylor-Southgate Bridge. You’ll find a set of stairs shaded by a white metal canopy leading down to the WEST sidewalk of the bridge. Turn SOUTH to cross the river and enjoy the 360-degree views. The bridge is named for the families of James Taylor Jr. and Richard Southgate, two important early settlers of Newport. Richard was the father of William Wright Southgate, a pre-Civil War Congressman from Northern Kentucky. As you near the SOUTH end of the Taylor-Southgate Bridge, go all the way to the end of the ironwork and take time to read the historical plaque about the bridge’s construction. Backtrack a short distance to the set of concrete stairs that descends to Riverboat Row and take them down.
The Home Stretch
You’re almost done now. Walk EAST back along Riverboat Row to your vehicle parked under the L&N Bridge. Notice the Newport Aquarium and Newport on the Levee to your SOUTH as you walk.
You’ve made it! Two states, two rivers, three cities, and three bridges.
Note: This trail guide is adapted from the Dan Beard Council’s Riverwalk 5 Mile Trail Guide.