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State Park Cabins Reopen – A Stay at Lake Hope State Park

A couple of weeks ago we spent several days at a cabin at Lake Hope. Lake Hope is one of our favorite parks in Ohio. One of the reasons is the great hiking at Lake Hope, the adjacent Zaleski State forest, and many nearby parks and preserves. The other reason is the wonderful Lake Hope Dining Lodge which specializes in slow-cooked barbecued meat and wood-fired pizza. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, some changes were in effect. Hiking trails are open at both Lake Hope and Read more ➜
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Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest: Hike to the Belgian Coke Ovens

On our recent trip to Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest, we sought to discover if there was a path through the main trails of this state forest leading to the ruins of a 19th century iron mining and refining operations. On prior trips we've enjoyed hiking to a variety of destinations in this off-the-beaten-track state forest. We even visited the remains of an old iron furnace and Belgian coke ovens left over from the regions 19th century iron industry. However, to visit these Read more ➜
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Vinton Furnace State Experimental Forest: Watch Rock

Among the trails available at Vinton Furnace State Experimental Forest, there is one called "Watch Rock." If you look at the official map, there is a side trail to a "starred" feature that itself is called "Watch Rock". Since we were unable to find a description of what "Watch Rock" was, we could only guess. We figured it was a rocky promontory overlooking a scenic vista, but of course we didn't know for sure. To add to the mystery, during a previous hike we reached the end of the Watch Rock trail Read more ➜
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Vinton Furnace State Experimental Forest: Arch Rock

The day after Thanksgiving Bob and I decided to hike to Arch Rock, one of Ohio's 80 or so natural arches. A natural arch is simply a hole through a rock outcropping that was produced by erosion. In some cases, the hole isn't that big. However Ohio does have a number of arches that are big enough for a person to stand beneath the arch with room to spare. Arch Rock is one of these larger arches. It has a 9.7-foot span with 8.25 feet of clearance. Getting Oriented As you approach the area Read more ➜
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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 ➜
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Zaleski State Forest: The Backpack Trail from Hope Schoolhouse

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 ➜
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Vinton Furnace State Experimental Forest

This forest also goes by the names "Vinton Furnace State Forest" and "Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest". I decided to keep the word "Experimental" in the name for this article because it communicates that the forest has a research-oriented purpose. This research has been going on for over 50 years. The data collected here has been useful in gaining a better understanding of forest ecology, forest management, and the regional wildlife; this data has been cited in hundreds of scholarly papers. An Read more ➜
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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 ➜
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The Annual Fall Hike at Lake Hope

On October 17th Bob and I attended our first Annual Fall Hike at Lake Hope. The staff at Lake Hope State Park, along with Friends of Lake Hope, organized the hike. Participants were subdivided into smaller groups that left the picnic area in a staggered fashion between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. The hike from the picnic shelter to Hope Furnace was three miles and followed the Hope Furnace Trail. At the conclusion of the hike near Hope Furnace, participants had the opportunity of enjoying a communal meal Read more ➜
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Tar Hollow State Park

We've been going to Tar Hollow for many years. Its a great place for camping. The camp sites are usually not crowded (don't tell anybody), the area is very scenic, and there are many miles of hiking trails. Tar Hollow State Park is a 604 acre park in Ross County. It is surrounded by the 16,354 acre Tar Hollow State Forest located in Ross, Hocking, and Vinton Counties. Traversing the park and state forest is the 21 mile red-blazed Logan Backpack Trail. Built and maintained by the Boy Read more ➜