The hills around the Winding Road are full of exciting opportunities to entertain yourself in nature, whether you’re planning to wander the various beautiful landscapes or fit in a jam packed schedule of high-octane activities, you can find what you’re looking for along the Winding Road.
Wayne National Forest– Athens, Hocking, Morgan, Perry, & Washington Counties
The Wayne National Forest is a patch work of public land surrounded by private lands that spans across 12 of Ohio’s counties. The patchwork of rolling Appalachian foothills offers many recreation opportunities. Plus check out fee free days, encouraging people to use their public lands!
The Buckeye Trail – Statewide
A 1400+ mile loop trail that encircles the entire state, running concurrently with the North Country National Scenic Trail for a portion. The trail was created in 1959 and completed its loop around the state in 1980. The trail cuts through many of Ohio’s small towns, especially in the Little Cities of Black Diamonds micro-region.
Zaleski State Forest – Vinton & Athens Counties
Ohio’s second largest forest at 28,614 acres, Zaleski State Forest offers almost 30 miles of backpacking trails, plus 31 miles of multi-use trails, camping, hunting, fishing, mushroom foraging, and even a shooting range. The forest also contains historic Moonville Tunnel and Ohio’s only state-operated saw mill, and wildlife management areas for the Ruffed Grouse and the wild Turkey.
Lake Hope State Park – Inside Zaleski State Forest
Besides the lodge that rests on Lake Hope, the park offers 7 hiking trails, including a 29-mile-backpacking trail with primitive camping. There are also more than 20 miles of biking trails plus basketball courts and horseshoe pits.
Burr Oak State Park – Athens & Morgan County
The 2,593 acre area is remote and beautiful, with many small and large accommodations, offering the most primitive to the most luxurious of stays.
The Wilds – Muskingum County
This private, nonprofit conservation area sits on almost 10,000 acres of reclaimed mining land. It has seen resurgences in some of the region’s most majestic species, including 3 White Rhino calves that were born in 2018! The area offers wildlife viewing, biking, horseback riding and much more!
Most hikers, birders and nature viewers are probably self-motivated, but for help planning your treks, visit the sites for recreational areas listed above. For hikes that come with the added value that a trained, knowledgeable guide can provide, enjoy this growing list of guided hikes and areas offering interpretive learning.
Ora E. Anderson Nature Trail – 2 miles North of Nelsonville, Hocking County
Named for artist, poet, writer and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Hall of Fame inductee Ora E. Anderson and running along the abandoned ground from one of the country’s earliest railroads, this trail is an intriguing as it is beautiful, especially when everything is in bloom.
Boch Hollow Nature Preserve – Logan, Hocking County
This 607 acre nature preserve has a unique mission to create a gigantic outdoor classroom for environmental learning, for local students and the public.
Birding Station at Jeffrey Point – Chandlersville, Muskingum County
The Birding Station observation deck was a joint project between the Wilds and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. The birding destination is free and open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Cycle Path Bicycles – Athens, Athens County
Black Diamond Bicycles & Rentals – The Plains, Athens County
Athens Bicycle – Athens, Athens County
Huchinson Horsedrawn Wagon and Carriage Service – Albany, Athens County
Uncle Buck’s Riding Stable and Dance Barn – New Marshfield, Athens County
Happy Trails Horseback Rides – Rockbridge, Hocking County
Marietta Adventure Company – Marietta, Meigs County
Begley’s ATV Campground – New Straitsville, Perry County
Tecumseh Trails Offroad – Shawnee, Perry County
Equestrian Ridge Farm – Southwest of New Plymouth, Vinton County
Hocking Hills Canoe and Kayak Livery – Nelsonville, Athens County
Marietta Adventure Company Kayaking – Marietta, Meigs County