Trails at Zaleski State Forest

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Zaleski Backpacking Trail

The Zaleski Backpacking Trail is located wholly within Zaleski State Forest, and is mostly in Vinton County with a small part in Athens County, Ohio. The total trail extends 23.5 miles, and is a loop trail. Cut-throughs and connections enable hikes of 23.5 miles, 15.9 miles, 9.9 miles, or 8.2 miles from the main trail head. The main trail head is located on Ohio State Route 278, north of the main entrance to Lake Hope State Park, and close to Hope Furnace. The trail may also be accessed off King Hollow Trail, State Route 56, Irish Ridge Road, or from the future Moonville Rail-Trail. There are three backpacking campsites located along the trail.

Regulations require registering at the main trail head before using any of these campsites for overnight stays. There are also two water hydrants located along the trail for backpacker use.

Backpack Trail Rules

(Courtesy of Ohio Division of Forestry)

  1. You may camp only in the designated campground areas [shown on the backpacking map].
  2. A self-registration permit (no fee) is required of all hikers. The permit, which you must fill out prior to entering the trail, is available at the trail parking area 24 hours a day. Place the completed permit in the registration box provided at the trail head and carry the stub with you on the trail.
  3. No person is permitted to camp more than 14 days in any 30-day period. Camps must be moved to another backpack campground each day.
  4. Backpack groups are limited to a maximum of 10 persons per party at any one backpack campground.
  5. Domestic dogs or cats are permitted in the backpack campgrounds and on the trail provided they are leashed or under control at all times.
  6. Fires are prohibited except in designated fire rings or in portable stoves. Fires must be attended at all times. Cutting of trees is prohibited.
  7. Camps must be maintained in a clean and sanitary manner and condition. All refuse must be packed out for proper disposal.
  8. No person may disturb the peace and quiet of other persons in the campgrounds in any manner between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 8 a.m.