Posted in Hiking, Park review, Southeastern Ohio

Wayne National Forest (Marietta Unit): Lamping Homestead

Lamping Homestead Recreation Area is located in the Marietta Unit of Wayne National Forest. It offers opportunities for camping, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and picnicking. A 4.5 mile loop trail is open to both hikers and mountain bikers.

An eastern box turtle next to the trail at Lamping Homestead Recreation Area.

Campsite near the lake.
Empty campsite along the lake.

We were on vacation, staying in Marietta, OH this past Labor Day weekend. The remnants of a gulf coast hurricane were passing through Ohio bringing unusually warm and humid gulf coast air and occasional rain. We decided to drive north to hike at Lamping Homestead. The weather was less than ideal for hiking, but would provide some surprising encounters with local wildlife.

We left just as a rain squall had stopped and the sun had come out. The drive to the site was interesting. Washington and Monroe counties are beautiful – filled with picturesque farms and rolling hills. Once we got close, our GPS insisted on taking us via every narrow gravel road in the area. (We discuss GPS limitations in an earlier post).

Deer checking out our car out on the drive to the park.
The poor thing was being harassed by flies.

The trail head is in a fairly isolated portion of Wayne National Forest. Since it was Labor Day weekend, there were a few vehicles in the parking lot belonging to folks camping at the site for the weekend. There is a secluded grove where people had set up tents and another area by the lake. The site includes vault toilets. You have to bring your own water as none is available on site.

The area had been home to the early settlers – the Lamping family in the 1800’s. They did not stay in the area long. Members of the family who died from illness & disease are buried in a small family cemetery accessible from a side trail on the site. The Lamping home and buildings from later inhabitants of the area are all gone.

From the parking lot, you can see an open field leading to a four-acre lake. The trail begins at the lake. It is a loop, so once at the lake you can proceed in either direction. We walked the larger loop trail for a total distance of 4.5 miles. A connector trail bisects the loop if you wish to do a shorter hike (1.8 miles). The trail is marked with white diamond markers.

The trail starts at this lake.

The terrain at Lamping Homestead is quite hilly. The trail cuts across hills, goes down into hollows, across ridge-lines and along the sides of steep hills. The area is heavily wooded with small streams crisscrossing the trail.

Trail leading up and out of a ravine.
Trail adjacent to a ravine.
This gives you some idea of the steepness of the hills.
Another trail along a hill.
Here’s a Red-spotted newt on his way to a stream in one of the ravines.
A flat area leading back to the lake.

One of the highlights of the trip was several encounters with Eastern Box turtles. These turtles dwell in heavily wooded areas and tend to hide among leaf litter and forest ground cover where their shell’s natural coloration lets them blend in. However, they tend to be more active in hot humid weather after a rain.

We noticed our first turtle slowing crawling along the trail. The second was off to the side and was “hiding” from us behind some twigs. When frightened, these box turtles can pull their head, limbs, and tail completely into their shell. The shell is hinged closing completely as a defense against predators.

I’m making this turtle a little nervous, so he has pulled his head in a bit.
This turtle is relaxed because he thinks he’s hiding behind the twigs.
The leaf litter produced by Tulip Trees matches the coloration of the Eastern Box Turtle’s shell.

In the wild box turtles can live up 40-50 and perhaps as long as 100 years. Box turtle gender can be determined by eye color – males have red eyes, females have brown. We had encountered two male turtles.

We finished the hike, but ran out of water shortly before the end (due to heat / humidity). Fortunately, we kept a large bottle of extra water in the car.

After the hike, we were driving slowly along a narrow gravel road when Deb noticed a third box turtle in the middle of the road. Deb stopped the car and I got out. I turtle continued its slow crawl across the road, from left to right. I went over and picked up the turtle, which immediately ducked into its shell. I gently placed the turtle just past the right side of the road and returned to the car.

Note: the information kiosk at the site warns of black bears in the area. If camping at this site – take the precaution of storing all food in bear proof containers away from your camping area. We did not encounter any bears on our hike, only turtles… Oh! and wildflowers.

Great Lobelia
Everlasting Pea (Lathyrus latifolius)
Rattlesnake weed
New England Aster
This is white snakeroot… the plant that killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother. Deb Marsh did an interesting blog post about that here.
Additional information


Lamping Homestead Recreation Area is located in Monroe County in the Marietta Unit of Wayne National Forest.
Geo-coordinates: 39.630217,-81.189705
Link to Google Map

More on Federally Managed Sites

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

14 thoughts on “Wayne National Forest (Marietta Unit): Lamping Homestead

  1. Please take the time to take a stroll up the large hill behind the pond. It is the burial ground for the Lamping family, but is also a Native American mound. I am not sure if this is a sacred burial mound or just an artifact mound…but when I stood on top, I felt very much at peace. A wonderful spot to rest for eternity. Complete silence and one of the darkest skies in Ohio. Actually considered a dark sky reserve. Please take the time and enjoy this hike!

  2. Wonderful post again. I am amazed about the nature’s diversity. Flower photos are so great. I had to seek from Internet if we have “Lathyrus latifolius”. Yes, although I have not seen in it, because it is very rare.

  3. Just beautiful… And the close-up of the turtle is sublime! I ran into one in the swamp recently, and I just squealed with delight. I’m sure you encounter them more often than I do. 🙂

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

Complete the following sentence by typing either real or spam:
My comment is ...