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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- USDA: Scenic River Trail
- USDA: Leith Run Recreation Area
- USDA: Wayne National Forest Trail Permits (for mountain bike use)
- TrekOhio: Washington County Parks and Preserves
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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