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 ➜

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 ➜

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 ➜

The Annual Fall Hike at Lake Hope

On October 17th Bob and I attended our first Annual Fall Hike at Lake Hope. The staff at Lake Hope State Park, along with Friends of Lake Hope, organized the hike. Participants were subdivided into smaller groups that left the picnic area in a staggered fashion between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. The hike from the picnic shelter to Hope Furnace was three miles and followed the Hope Furnace Trail. At the conclusion of the hike near Hope Furnace, participants had the opportunity of enjoying a communal meal Read more ➜

Tar Hollow State Park

We've been going to Tar Hollow for many years. Its a great place for camping. The camp sites are usually not crowded (don't tell anybody), the area is very scenic, and there are many miles of hiking trails. Tar Hollow State Park is a 604 acre park in Ross County. It is surrounded by the 16,354 acre Tar Hollow State Forest located in Ross, Hocking, and Vinton Counties. Traversing the park and state forest is the 21 mile red-blazed Logan Backpack Trail. Built and maintained by the Boy Read more ➜

Zaleski State Forest: King’s Hollow Tunnel

Mineral, Moonville, Hope — all were towns active in Ohio's mining and iron manufacturing industries during the 19th century. They were connected by the Moonville rail line which passed through two long tunnels on the way to the iron furnace at Hope. The towns are long gone, as is the rail line, but the two tunnels remain and can be found in the Zaleski State Forest. The more famous of the two is the Moonville Tunnel which is the subject of numerous ghostly tales. We visited the Moonville Read more ➜

Hand-feeding Hummingbirds at Lake Hope

The Nature Center at Lake Hope State Park is well-known as the place to go if you want to try hand-feeding hummingbirds. This seasonal activity typically begins in July. This year park officials will continue to host the hand-feeding sessions on Thursday through Sunday from 1 to 3 PM until Labor Day. This was the first time Bob and I had tried hand-feeding hummingbirds, and we both loved it. It is fascinating to watch hummingbirds perform their aerial acrobatics, but it was even more amazing to Read more ➜

Lake Hope Dining Lodge

The dining lodge is one of the attractions of Lake Hope State Park. Originally built in 1950, the lodge burned to the ground in 2006. We visited Lake Hope State Parke several times after the lodge was destroyed, and it was a long drive to find a meal. Happily the lodge was rebuilt last year, and it has resumed serving those visiting and camping in the park as well as the local people of Vinton County. People can hire portions of the lodge for gatherings of all sorts, including conferences, weddings, Read more ➜

Lake Hope State Park

Lake Hope State is a great place to get away from the crowds and enjoy peace and quiet is a scenic natural setting. Lake Hope is located in Vinton County just southeast of the Hocking Hills. In the 19th century it was a major iron producing and processing region at the heart of the American industrial revolution. Today many of the towns centered around the mines and iron furnaces are gone. It is a sparsely populated region of Ohio with an economy based on agriculture, forestry, and tourism. The Read more ➜

Zaleski State Forest

At 26,827 acres, Zaleski State Forest is the second only to Shawnee State Forest in size.  Located in Ohio within Vinton and Athens counties, this region was in the vanguard of the industrial revolution in the 19th century. Besides mining coal and iron ore, local residents cut down huge swaths of forest to produce charcoal for the region's many furnaces where iron workers cast pig iron. Today, the area is sparsely populated. Once a thriving industrial area, Zaleski forest is now quiet Read more ➜