Zaleski State Forest: Moonville Tunnel

History and Lore Moonville was a coal-mining town founded in the middle of the nineteenth century in Vinton County. Its population peaked in 1870 when about 100 people lived there, after which it declined. The last family in Moonville left in 1947. Moonville's nearest neighbor was the town of Hope, but even Hope was many miles away. To connect the two towns a railroad was laid. During the course of its construction, it was also necessary to build bridges over creeks and to excavate Moonville Tunnel Read more ➜

Strouds Run State Park: Rockhouse Trail

Bob and I had really wanted to explore the Rockhouse Trail, so we could view Turtlehead Cave. This past September we decided to make that happen by combining this trail with several others to come up with a loop hike that was about 5 miles in length. Our hike took us through a variety of different parks and preserves in quick succession. We began in Sells Park and passed through the Dale and Jackie Riddle State Nature Preserve, as well as the City of Athens Preserve Land until we came to Strouds Read more ➜

Zaleski Backpack Trail from Hope Schoolhouse

Trailhead Kiosk
We enjoy staying at Lake Hope State Park, and we are always looking for new places to hike in the vicinity. Since the state park is adjacent to Zaleski State Forest, we sometimes take advantage of one of the backpacking trails at Zaleski. During this trip we decided to do a day hike from the trailhead that begins to the rear of Hope Schoolhouse. Our plan is to hike from point "A" on the trail map to the campsite at point "C". The one-way distance from "A" to "C" is a little under 3 miles, so by retracing Read more ➜

Vinton Furnace State Experimental Forest

This forest also goes by the names "Vinton Furnace State Forest" and "Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest". I decided to keep the word "Experimental" in the name for this article because it communicates that the forest has a research-oriented purpose. This research has been going on for over 50 years. The data collected here has been useful in gaining a better understanding of forest ecology, forest management, and the regional wildlife; this data has been cited in hundreds of scholarly papers. An Read more ➜

Wayne National Forest (Ironton Unit): Morgan Sisters Trail

The Morgan Sisters Trail System is in the northern, central region of the Ironton Unit of Wayne National Forest. It is a little over an hour's drive northeast of Portsmouth, Ohio. It is comprised of three loop trails. According to the Forest Service, the Coal Branch Loop is 2.34 miles, the Ridge Loop is 1.88 miles, and the Schoolhouse Loop is 4.53 miles. There is a half-mile trail that connects the Morgan Sisters Trail System to the nearby Symmes Creek Trail System. We went there for an afternoon's Read more ➜

Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve: Robinson Falls

We recently visited Robinson Falls (aka "Corkscrew Falls") at Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve. The waterfall is located off-trail at the preserve, so we obtained a free permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to visit the falls. Along with the permit, they sent us a map showing the falls, where to park, directions, and preserve rules. The ODNR-provided map directed us to a small pull-off from the road that holds a couple of cars. We located the trail-head across the Read more ➜

Dillon State Park

Dillon State Park is a 2,285-acre park located in Muskingum County. The parks has 9.6 miles of multi–use trails, 1.25 miles of trails used exclusively for hiking, 15 miles of bridle trails, and 12 miles mountain bike trails. For those in the Columbus area, the park is about an hour to an hour-and-a-half drive east of the capitol. We had never been to Dillon State Park before, so when we heard the park was hosting its first annual winter hike on January 9th, we decided to participate. We Read more ➜

Shawnee State Forest: Fall Hike on the Changed Day Hike Trail

The Shawnee Day Hike Trail has changed since our 7.2 mile hike a year and a half ago. The suggested blue-blazed day hike trail is now a 4.2 mile hike. However by combining the white-blazed connector trail and a new segment of the blue-blazed day hike trail, we were able to do an 8.4 mile-loop hike. As an unexpected treat, the new segment of the blue-blazed day hike trail took us by a lovely overlook with a bench where we could take in what remained of fall color. Since we were hiking there this past Read more ➜

Zaleski State Forest: Lookout Rock

While staying at a cabin in Lake Hope State Park, we visited Lookout Rock and hiked on the nearby Moonville Rail Trail. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the weather was sunny and cool. Lookout Rock is located on Hope-Moonville road, a narrow, gravel road that winds through Zaleski State Forest. At one point, the road goes along a saddleback ridge with steep drop-offs to either side. On one side of the road, we saw a tall sandstone cliff. This was our destination. Read more ➜

Raven Rock State Nature Preserve

This past Friday we visited Raven Rock State Nature Preserve. It was our first visit to a permit-only preserve. We'd planned a visit to Shawnee Lodge and had applied for a permit more than two weeks before our trip. It was a cool, overcast afternoon when we parked near the trailhead for Raven Rock. There were two parking spots, one of which was already occupied. The trail is 1.25 miles (one way) and ends at a cliff 550 ft above the start with a stunning view of the Ohio River and the hills of Read more ➜