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Zaleski State Forest, Zaleski

#67 of 109 in Nature in Ohio
Forest · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Zaleski State Forest is the second-largest state forest in the U.S. state of Ohio, located primarily in Vinton County, with areas in Athens County as well. The 28,000 acre (110 km²) forest surrounds Lake Hope State Park in Vinton County, and extensively borders the Waterloo Wildlife Research Station in Athens County. It is also located close to the Wayne National Forest. In addition, the older and much smaller Waterloo State Forest in Athens County is administered as part of the Zaleski. The forest is named after the Vinton County village of Zaleski, where the forest headquarters are located, and is centered on State Route 278.
The forest has active logging programs, and is one of the few in Ohio to have a working sawmill. The forest also features a 23.5-mile backpacking trail, a network of bridle trails, a horse camp, a large lake (Lake Hope), and the Hope School, an old but renovated one-room schoolhouse. Part of the Zaleski Mound Group, a group of Native American mounds built by the prehistoric Adena culture, is located within the forest.
Recently, the state of Ohio acquired a conservation easement to 10,000 acres (40 km²) of the Raccoon Creek Ecological Management Area (REMA), located south of the forest and formerly owned by Mead Paper Company (now part of MeadWestvaco). This area will be administered in conjunction with the state forest.
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Zaleski State Forest reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
25 reviews
  • We Rode through on our way to the Moonville Tunnel and it was Absolutley Breath Taking , I will def. go Back again !  more »
  • I honestly don't know if that forest is any good for hiking or camping, we only go there as rally spectators, and all I can say is Zaleski State Forest has the best rally roads in Ohio!  more »
  • Beautiful and Historical. Some trail markers lacking until you get in further. The maps inside self guided car tour very wrong. Used other maps to figure out where to go. Cabin was a little run down but great for just cooking and sleeping in.
  • A wonderful forest and trail system with amazing wildlife and some interesting history. We backpack here often because we simply love being here. Its a beautiful place. Driving in, you may notice what looks like cages at the entrances to small caves. While they may resemble something from a horror movie, these are there to protect the bats!

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