Posted in Hiking, Park review, Southeastern Ohio

Wayne National Forest (Marietta Unit): Scenic River Trail

The Scenic River Trail is a 3.4 mile hiking / mountain biking trail located in Wayne National Forest north of Marietta. One end of the trail is at the Leith Run Camp Site along the Ohio River. The other end is at a small dirt parking lot up in the surrounding hills off of County Road 9.

Young pawpaw trees under the canopy of larger trees.

We visited in early September about the time that the remnants of hurricane Irene were reaching Ohio. Although the winds were not strong, the weather was hot and humid with a continuous, drizzling rain.

We started at the upper end of the Scenic River Trail. Our car was the only one in the small parking lot that day. The trail head starts at the end of the parking lot. Yellow diamond markers are used to blaze the trail.

This is the park entrance off of County Road 9. I love the seventies-style park signs. 🙂
At the end of the parking lot is this barricade. To the right of the barricade is the trailhead for the River Trail.
Hiking and mountain biking? Yes.
Motor vehicles and horseback riding? No.
This yellow diamond is used to blaze the Scenic River Trail.

The trail is very popular with mountain bikers, and we saw quite a few the day that we were there. A number of them have been volunteering their time to keep the trail clear, and they’ve been doing an excellent job.

One of many mountain bikers that we saw.

The trail winds along the hill sides and then heads down to the river. Because of the foliage, we were unable to even glimpse the Ohio River. The mountain bikers told us that the view was better after the leaves had fallen.

The forest canopy is thick enough in most places that we could hear a light rain falling, but the rain didn’t penetrate the canopy. We only really noticed the rain when the trail broke into the open to cross forest roads.

View of the trail.

One of the highlights of the trail was an extensive pawpaw grove. These small trees grow under the canopy of taller trees. While we were there in early September, the pawpaw trees were dropping their fruit. The fruit is about the size of a small potato. Deb says that they taste a bit like kiwi, but have a mushier texture. Surprisingly deer don’t like to eat the fruit.

Pawpaw grove
A brownish pawpaw fruit.
A less-ripe, greenish pawpaw fruit.

We limited our hiking to just a few miles (round trip) due to the less-than-ideal hiking weather.

The trail is open year round for hikers. I would think it would be best to visit in the fall after the leaves were off the trees for scenic views of the Ohio River. The trail is closed to mountain bikers between 12/16 – 5/14. The rest of the year, a trail permit is required for mountain bike use.

Additional information


There are three trail-heads. We started at the parking area up in the hills at the top end of the trail (shown below on Google Map). There are two trail heads near the Ohio River at the base of the trail.

  • Parking area, upper end of trail: Co. Rd. 9 near German Cemetery: 81° 10′ 38.4954″ W, 39° 28′ 30.6834″ N
  • Near river: Brown House: 81° 9′ 40.932″ W, 39° 26′ 37.104″ N
  • Lower end of trail: Leith Run Camp: 81° 9′ 4.932″ W, 39° 26′ 44.1594″ N

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© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

7 thoughts on “Wayne National Forest (Marietta Unit): Scenic River Trail

  1. I’d LOVE to try that pawpaw! I’ll try everything on a hike, if someone tells me it’s not poisonous. 🙂 (Down here, as I’m sure with many places, there are some berries that are VERY toxic that look quite similar to those that are edible.) But if this tastes like kiwi? Yum! Lovely photos….

  2. …. Great trip, Deb and Bob. I love the September look and feel of the forest – if you want to see the river, go find a bridge. 😀

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