How to Spend the Day at Wayne National Forest

Wayne National Forest

Wayne National Forest entices visitors to its thousands of acres to get away from life for a while and enjoy nature. Enjoy pristine waters, fields of wildflowers, and opportunities to explore on foot, horseback, or ATV. With over 300 miles of trails, visitors can hike, bike, or ride through the forest. Take a look at where to find the best spots for riding,  walking, and enjoying a day out in Wayne National Forest.

Horseback Riding in Wayne National Forest

Athens and Marietta offer scenic horseback riding through a beautiful forest of tall trees and open fields. Horse trails are marked with gray diamonds for easy access. From easy to challenging, the multiple trails are mapped out for riders. Hikers also use the trails so riding horses should be done with caution. Kinderhook and Plainview Horse Trails are open to mountain biking. Check out some of the trails best for riding on a day visit.

Trails in Wayne National Forest

Try out the 21-mile Stone Church Trail in Perry County. The trail system is named for the skeletal ruins of an old stone church close by. Even though the church isn’t operational, the history behind it draws visitors to ride by and see it for themselves while exploring the beautiful countryside. 

Check out another trail on your day out in Wayne National Forest on horseback. Take in the views of rock cliffs, and waterfalls, and ride along ridge tops through vegetation to see the varied wildlife in the scenic forest. Lake Vesuvius horseback trails are 46 miles long with 9 trails, 4 trailheads, and one horse campground. Explore some of the many miles of trails solo or with friends and family.

Hiking in Wayne National Forest

Some of the best hiking in Hocking Hills is in Wayne National Forest. The Wildcat Hollow Hiking Trail has 15 miles of trails through forests and streams. Included on this trail is a 5-mile loop for short hikes. For day hikes, consider also Lake Vesuvius Boardwalk Trail, a .32-mile boardwalk connecting the boat ramp and dam with wide, accessible spaces for hiking and fishing. The fishing pier is open for observation. r the Ora E. Anderson Nature Trail. This short trail at .5 miles is part of Rutherford Wetland, 20 acres teeming with wildlife. Enjoy bird watching, listening for frogs, and seeing other wildlife on the trail. Many chances to see local, native wildlife and plants are available here. The USDA Forest Service website has maps and info on backpacking and hikes. 

Biking in Wayne National Forest

The Wayne National Forest offers spectacular trails for mountain bikes in Athens and Marietta Units of the Athens Ranger District. Also available are off-highway vehicle trails for mountain bikes. Road bikes can ride trails throughout the forest, especially Lake Vesuvius Recreational Area, so long as they mind the rules and watch for hikers and wildlife on the trails. 

ATV Riding in Wayne National Forest

Not really into biking or hiking? Look no further than ATV riding, a fun way to spend a few hours or even half a day with family on the trails in the forest. A special permit is needed to ride but rentals are available. Check out R Adventure Park nearby for quads that will fit beginners on up to experts and hit the trails for a fun day out.

Fishing in Wayne National Forest

Rather try your luck with the fishies? Give the streams and waterways a try by casting a line at Leith Run Recreation Area. Their estuary fishing offers a plethora of fish on the banks of the Ohio River, open April through October. Acres of land is accessible for fishing lakes, ponds, and rivers. Be sure to look into any fishing permits needed before heading out.

Heading into the great outdoors is good for mental and physical health. Travelers come from all over the United States to visit Hocking Hills and Wayne National Forest. The rolling hills captivate visitors along with the pristine water, hiking trails, and accessible activities for a day visit or multiple days of trying different activities. A day out in the Forest is sure to be memorable with loved ones for many years to come.

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