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Ohio State Parks

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USA Parks
Northeast Ohio Region
Fernwood State Forest
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Fernwood State Forest © Matthew Coblentz
Fernwood State Forest © Matthew Coblentz
Fernwood State Forest © Matthew Coblentz
Fernwood State Forest © Matthew Coblentz
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11 Twp Rd 181
Bloomingdale, Ohio   43910
(lat:40.3315 lon:-80.7397) map location

Phone: (740) 266-6021
The 3,023 acre Fernwood State Forest was purchased in 1961. A substantial portion of the land has been strip mined for coal. However, the production of acid mine water is minimal because of the neutralizing effect of limestone deposits. The majority of unstripped lands are located on ridges or in valleys, and are in forest cover. Subsequent reforestration and installation of recreation facilities, funded through the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 and the Ohio Capital Improvements program, have restored the area to a beautiful, healthy forest, providing visitors with many outdoor recreational opportunities. Hidden Hollow Campground, with 22 family campsites, is equipped with picnic tables, fire rings and vault latrines. Campers must provide their own water. Campers must select a site; a forest officer will issue permits, and familiarize visitors with camping regulations. Located just outside the perimeter of the Hidden Hollow Campground is the Fernwood State Forest Land Lab. The land lab is used to promote natural resource and environmental education. A three-mile hiking trail loops around most of Fernwood's largest tract. Picnic tables located in several areas, and the Little Round Top Picnic area provide forest users with ample opportunities to relax, eat, and enjoy the forest's natural beauty. Two scenic vistas provide breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Parking areas are located throughout in the forest area. The forest is open to public fishing and hunting under Division of Wildlife regulations. Many ponds are scattered throughout the area and have been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish. Hunters pursue white-tailed deer and many small game species including squirrel, rabbit, and grouse. Hunting is not permitted within 400 feet of any camping area, residence or structure, and firearms may not be discharged on, from or across any road or driveway. Three shooting ranges are located southwest of the Hidden Hollow Campground. There are separate areas for pistol, rifle and trap shooting. Users need to furnish their own targets (paper or clay only), and must clean up their casings and debris before leaving. Ranges are open daily from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. The operation of motor vehicles is not permitted off designated roadways.
History of the Area
Fernwood State Forest is located in Monroe County, Ohio. It was established in 1977 and encompasses an area of approximately 1,450 acres. The area has a rich history, dating back to the early settlement of the region.

The land that now constitutes Fernwood State Forest was primarily used for agriculture and farming in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, due to the Great Depression and subsequent economic challenges, many farmers abandoned their land. This led to soil erosion and degradation, as well as the loss of valuable topsoil.

In an effort to combat these environmental issues and revitalize the land, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources acquired the property and established Fernwood State Forest in 1977. The primary goal was to restore the degraded land and promote sustainable land use practices.

Since its establishment, Fernwood State Forest has been managed with the purpose of promoting forest health, protecting wildlife habitats, and providing educational and recreational opportunities for visitors. The forest features a variety of tree species, including oaks, maples, hickories, and pines.

The state forest offers several recreational activities, such as hiking, bird watching, hunting, and fishing. It also provides opportunities for nature education and research, with various trails, picnic areas, and an amphitheater available for visitors.

Overall, the history of Fernwood State Forest reflects a commitment to conservation and environmental stewardship. Through its establishment and ongoing management, the state forest continues to provide a valuable natural resource for the local community and serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and restoring our natural lands.
GeneralLand, acres3,023
 Hiking Trail, miles3
CampingGroup Camp, capacity22
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In this 3,300-acre forested area located in Jefferson County, fishing enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of options. The main water body is the man-made lake where anglers have access to several species including largemouth bass and bluegill. There are also numerous streams throughout the park that offer opportunities for catching smallmouth bass and various types of trout. Whether you prefer bank or boat fishing, there's something here for everyone.

Fernwood State Forest is located near Saint Clairsville, Steubenville and Weirton

1. Fernwood Loop Trail: This is a 2-mile loop trail that offers scenic views of the forest and its diverse wildlife.

2. Buckeye Trail Section: A part of Ohio's longest hiking path, this section in Fernwood State Forest covers about 5 miles with moderate difficulty level.

3. Wildflower Pathway: An easy half-a mile walk perfect for families or beginners; it showcases an array of wildflowers during springtime.

4. Deer Run Track: Approximately three miles long, this track winds through dense woods where deer sightings are common especially at dawn and dusk.

5. Birdwatcher's Route : About two-and-half-miles long, ideal for bird enthusiasts as numerous species can be spotted along the way including woodpeckers and hawks.

6 .Fern Gully Pass - A challenging four-mile hike featuring steep inclines but rewards you with stunning panoramic views from atop hillsides covered in ferns

7 .Creek Crossing Circuit - Roughly five miles round trip which includes several creek crossings on footbridges offering beautiful water vistas

8 .Pine Grove Way- Two mile pathway winding through towering pine trees providing cool shade even on hot summer days

9 .Raccoon Ridge Walk- Three-mile trek known to have frequent raccoon sightings making it exciting particularly for kids

10.Wildcat Hollow Hike - Four Mile strenuous route leading up to high ridgelines giving breathtaking view over entire state park

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
July 3 Hiking by Matthew Coblentz
park review stars; one to five Had a great hike with my daughter. Some muddy spots but still a great hike.
June 26 Secret of the Area by FUS grad.
park review stars; one to five I think this place is one of the best kept secrets of the area! I went to school out there and found this place on accident one day. Made for great hikes in the snow and in the summer. Very few people ever there!
May 25 Nice area for shooting
park review stars; one to five Visited the rifle and pistol range today. Was impressed with how nice the range was for a public range. Bring your own targets and clean up your trash. Road signs would help make it easier to actually find the range. Prepare for a lot of gravel road. GPS latitude-longitude 40-19-50.2N 80-46-8.6W
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Area Campgrounds
Austin RV Park and Cabins
1002 Township Road 285A
Toronto, OH
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Trophy Spinner Baits
1023 Efts Ln
Wintersville, OH
(740) 264-5400
Critter Recreations Taxidermy
229 Elmer Avenue
Weirton, WV
(304) 748-4654

To get to Fernwood State Forest in Ohio, follow these directions:

1. Start by heading north on Route 71.
2. Take exit 176 for OH-95 W toward Fredricktown.
3. Turn left onto OH-95 W and continue for approximately 9 miles.
4. At the roundabout, take the second exit to stay on OH-95 W.
5. After about 2 miles, turn left onto State Route 3 N.
6. Keep driving on State Route 3 N for approximately 10 miles.
7. Turn right onto Township Road 2675.
8. Continue on this road for about 1.5 miles until you reach the entrance of Fernwood State Forest on your left.

Enjoy your visit to Fernwood State Forest!

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Ohio State Parks