Posted in Hiking, History, Park review, Southeastern Ohio

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 Tunnel last year and wrote about it just before Halloween. Recently, we visited its less famous, but equally interesting cousin, the King’s Hollow Tunnel (also known as “Mineral Tunnel”, “King’s Switch Tunnel”, and “King’s Tunnel”)

King’s Hollow Tunnel

We parked just off the intersection of King Hollow Trail and Rockcamp Road — two gravel roads in the midst of Zaleski State Forest. The old Moonville rail line has been converted into a hiking trail, and it crosses Rockcamp Road just south of the road intersection. We reached King’s Hollow Tunnel by following the old rail line to the east for a half mile.

From Rockcamp Rd., looking back at King Hollow Trail
The trail goes up this little hill to the left.

The now abandoned tunnel is cut through a cliff face and is lined with timber. The lengthy tunnel is quiet, and dark with shallow pools of water on the ground. A flashlight (or camera flash) reveals some graffiti and gaps in the wood-lined walls. The tunnel smells a little musty. After walking the length of the tunnel, I emerged on the other side. Here the trail was beginning to become a little overgrown, and after the dark stillness of the tunnel, the summer daylight was almost painfully bright.

The trail
Tunnel in the distance
Inside the timber-lined tunnel
In case we didn’t know where we were…
The ceiling is sooty, maybe even charred.
Looking up at a gap in the wall
It had rained recently and the floor was wet.
The entrance opposite the one we had entered.

We backtracked down the trail to our car pausing to photograph some of the wildflowers growing along the former rail line.

On the way back
Bouncing Bet (Saponaria officinalis)
Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata)
Tall Bellflower (Campanula americana)
Tall Anemone (Anemone virginiana)
Additional information

Parking near tunnel
  • Directions: Take OH-356 south. Turn right onto King Hollow Trail. It is briefly paved, but soon becomes a gravel road. Proceed till you reach the intersection with Rockcamp Rd. Turn onto Rockcamp Rd. Go slowly, immediately after the intersection, you will see a walking path on either side of the road. This is the Moonville Rail Trail. Pull off the road to the side and park.
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.319811,-82.284561
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions
Location of King’s Hollow Tunnel
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.321069,-82.280613
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions

More on Vinton County

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

3 thoughts on “Zaleski State Forest: King’s Hollow Tunnel

  1. The reason why the ceiling is sooty is because there are major coal veins inside the top and sides of the tunnel. It’s a bit unstable but besides that, a good tunnel.

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