I see the Cincinnati Off-Road Association (CORA) maintains a number of trail systems in the area and I’m curious: which ones are “must ride” and which ones are better suited to locals who happen to live in the area? I’ve ridden Caesar’s Creek which is great, and Devou, England Idlewild, and Mitchell Memorial look worthwhile as well. Any others within 2 hours of Cincy?
If you’re willing to do a bit of driving (2 hours, give or take), you should check out the Central Ohio trails. Alum Creek Phase 2 is my personal favorite, with Chestnut Ridge being a close second. Both are fast and flowy, with just enough features to keep things interesting.
Just at your time limit, O’Bannon Woods in Corydon, IN (just outside Louisville, KY) is the most underrated trail system in the area! It has almost everything you could want, except beginner trails. There’s a flow section with berms, tables, doubles, and a drop. There’s slow and highly technical sections. There’s backcountry, chunky descents that have me smiling for miles. It’s really fantastic. My friends and I sometimes call it mini-Pisgah.
I’ve never ridden the Ohio stuff, but I like OBW as much as Brown County and much more than the Louisville trails (though they are great, too). Over the past few years, they’ve opened up several miles of the OBW “Adventure Hiking Trail” to biking so there’s somewhere around 30 miles (maybe more?) of rideable trails in the park. It’s well worth a day trip!
Hit up the KyMBA group if you want a guide. The trails aren’t always marked that well and the best stuff is on the Adventure Hiking Trail, which can be tricky to find on your own.