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 ➜

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 ➜

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 ➜