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Ohio - Wayne NF
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Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
Ohio - Wayne NF on 05/23/2011 15:26:27 MDT Print View

Ohio people, or those who have been there,

Are there any good trails in Wayne? Specifically Ironton and Athens areas, whitch are mutch closer to me. Any good Ohio trails in South Ohio in general?

I know, I live here. Sadly not once in my 20 years of backpacking have I hiked in my home state. I frequent Daniel Boone NF or Smokey Mountains (various places). I am a weekend 2-3 day hiker and usually have to pick something within a 3-4 hour drive (2.5 hours to Wayne is even better). I've always avoided Wayne because of all the talk about off-road vehicle trails on their web site (something I'd rather avoid). But the park(s) is pretty big with the majority of the trails for hikers only.

Thanks for any tips!

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Zaleski on 05/23/2011 16:15:38 MDT Print View

I did my MFA at Ohio U. 1998-2001. We did a loop in Zaleski State Forest several times. Only about 11 miles long--my wife and I would do it as an overnight with our five year old. Going light, it would prob. be a little short. (Edit: looks like it could be longer hike. Here's a link: About 45 min from Athens, as I recall. And the day hike to Old Man's Cave and beyond (is that Hocking Hills?). I enjoyed the hardwood forests--don't miss the heat and humidity.

Edit: wrong name for trail. Corrected

Edited by DavidDrake on 05/23/2011 16:54:08 MDT.

Stephan Doyle
Re: Zaleski on 05/23/2011 18:06:24 MDT Print View

Old Man's Cave, and the entire Hocking Hills area, is stunning. Some great short day hikes, but I don't know if there's any backpacking in the area.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
BP trails in Ohio on 05/23/2011 18:24:36 MDT Print View

In the Ironton area, you can't beat the Lake Vesuvius trails (both Lakeshore and BPing) for the views of the lake in autumn, especially.

A bit father afield: If you're looking for the Appalachian experience, the closest thing Ohio has is Shawnee State Forest near Portsmouth. You can put together 54 miles of solid, challenging BPing there if you include the Wilderness area. I spend more time at Shawnee than any other place in Ohio. Places like Zaleski are far too overcrowded to make for a pleasant BPing experience.

Check out for a definitive list of backpacking trails, trail descriptions, and diehard "Ohia" backpackers. You will find a few kindred spirits there.


P.S. Sometimes I think I've walked every danged trail in Ohio. If you need any specific advise about a given trail, I'd be glad to offer my 2 cents.

Edited by nerdboy52 on 05/23/2011 18:28:27 MDT.

Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
Re: BP trails in Ohio on 05/24/2011 08:21:15 MDT Print View

Actually Shawnee is the closest to me. I just didn't realize it was any bigger than the 2 mile chunk you see on the road maps. 63,000 acres, that'll work! I feel like I just found a $20 bill in an old pair of pants.

Checked out and applied for an account there. There are several reasons I would like to keep local. First, I love Ohio woods, I know them best because I've lived here my whole life. Also, gas prices suck and I have a mess of kids so time is usually a problem, closer = less gas and less road time.

Also, my 7 year old son is really in to backpacking with his pop. I'm looking for easy trails as to provide him with some positive experiences. A quick way to turn a kid off of backpacking is to take them on a death march of a hike :)

All that aside, I'm considering a solo hike this weekend. Shawnee looks like a good place to go. Though, I don't have a map, are the trails well marked? Also, I can't tell from their web site if primitive site campers need a permit.

Stargazer Can you recommend a moderate trail? It's in Ohio, I will assume there is water everywhere.

Edited by magillagorilla on 05/24/2011 08:22:52 MDT.

Al Nichols
(everready) - F

Locale: Sh!^^% Ohio
Shawnee on 05/24/2011 08:38:08 MDT Print View

I don't want to rain on your parade but.......

We did Shawnee about 10 years ago. It was July or August, all of the streams were dry. The forest service trucked in water, there were only 3 water stops on a ~25 mile loop. There should be water there now. Some of the climbs are pretty tough.

Edited by everready on 05/24/2011 08:40:01 MDT.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Shawnee on 05/24/2011 08:50:02 MDT Print View

The dayhike trail there is relatively easy (and picturesque), but the rest of Shawnee has the rep as the most difficult trail system in Ohio. The standard joke is that they cut the trails before the invention of the switchback. Download the trail maps and descriptions from backpackohio. BPO has done a superb job on them, and at five bucks or so, they are the best bargain in BPing.

The trails are well marked, but some of the non-dayhike trails are overgrown and wet. Sometimes it's hard to see the orange blazes. There's been some rerouting between Camp 6, 7 and the trailhead, but the reroutes are well blazed.

The campsites are really quite nice. Water is available nearby at cisterns. Camp 3 is at the other end of the dayhike trail from the trailhead and is a wondrous place to camp. No permits or fee payments are required, but you'll have to fill out a form stating your hiking/ camping intentions at the trailhead. You'll also find a more-than-adequate map there. The map includes distances between campsites, topo features, and the like, but I'd still recommend carrying the backpackohio materials.

Happy trails!


Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Shawnee on 05/24/2011 09:03:04 MDT Print View

>We did Shawnee about 10 years ago. It was July or August, all of the streams were dry. The forest service trucked in water, there were only 3 water stops on a ~25 mile loop. There should be water there now. Some of the climbs are pretty tough.

Really? There are water cisterns (with city water trucked in) near all the six camps and one in the Wilderness area. The climbs are sometimes tough along the main trail, but the dayhike trail is relatively easy. (Those cisterns have been there a long time. I'm surprised the poster didn't see them along the way.)

Shawnee is among the wettest set of trails I've ever been on. Even if you forgo the cisterns, which always have nice, pure city water, you'll have no trouble with water resupply. In fact, when I'm at Shawnee (and Zaleski), I carry only a 24 oz supply in an old Gatorade bottle. I simply take a solid drink at every cistern and load a platy when I decide to stop for the night at camp. One proviso: the cisterns are sometimes overgrown, so watch for them carefully. Also, they can be at some distance from the campsites because of the need to truck in the water.

BTW, you'll find a load of discussions/ info about these and other issues connected with Shawnee if you search the Trip Talk section of Backpackohio.



Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
Mammouth Cave on 05/24/2011 10:34:35 MDT Print View

I know you didn't ask here but I can't log in to the other forum yet. Mammouth Cave used to be one of my favorite places to hike. I've hiked all of it. In highschool we would go out there for a week at a time.

The bad:
There is heavy horse riding traffic and a lot of the trail is pretty tore up. Also the ticks there are the worst I've ever encountered. My theroy is that they are after the horses. Last time I went I pulled no less that 12 deer ticks off of me and another dozen of the big brown ones. When I got home I found a few, well, exactly where you don't want to find them. The tick problem is pretty consistent, not just a 1 trip issue. In good weather there is a 99% chance you will encounter other hikers, no matter how far you hike in. All sites are high impact.

The good:
It's beautiful woods. There are a few first growth stands in the park. If you have extra time you can choose from many cave tours. I like the cave tours because while I like caves I'm not a spelunker. A nice safe guided walk through a cave is good enough for me.

The Neutral:
The trails are moderate to easy.

Recomended sites: Raymer Hollow, and Bluffs (has a small cave you can hang out in)

Alternate: Go to Big South Fork a little further down the highway. It's the southern tip of Daniel Boone in Tennessee. That place is cool.