PERRY STATE FOREST
Whether you come to Perry to Ride APVs (all purpose vehicles), go horseback riding, hunt or just visit, you will have an enjoyable state forest experience. Much of Perry State Forest was strip mined for coal prior to existing reclamation law, resulting in very rugged, sometimes barren terrain. Since the state acquired the area in 1961, some reclamation has been accomplished, including a large area along CR 48. Several reforestation and test tree planting have been established on the forest. Note: The AVP area is open from April 2 through November 30. The Perry APV area is the most popular public riding area in Ohio. Miles of challenging trails are open. Picnic tables and latrines are provided at the parking area. Perry State Forest has a very scenic, day-use bridle trail system. Parking for horse trailer rigs is provided along County Road 48. The Miles Lake water is suitable for horses. The diversity of forest cover encourages a variety of wildlife species and hunting opportunities.
Perry State Forest, located in southeastern Ohio, has a long history dating back to the early 1900s. It was established primarily for the purposes of reforestation and timber production.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, much of Ohio's forested land had been heavily logged, leading to ecological and economic concerns. As a result, the Cleveland and Hocking Valley Railway Company, under the leadership of its president and founder Thomas C. Mendenhall, sought to acquire lands for reforestation and timber cultivation.
In 1908, the Ohio General Assembly authorized the purchase of land in Hocking and Perry counties to develop a state forest. With funds provided by the railway company and support from conservation organizations, the state acquired approximately 4,500 acres of logged-over farmland, strip mine lands, and abandoned mining territory to establish Perry State Forest.
The initial goal was to re-establish a productive forest by planting trees, primarily hardwoods such as oak and hickory. The first planting took place in 1909, and the forest gradually expanded over the years through additional land acquisitions and reforestation efforts.
During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a significant role in developing Perry State Forest. CCC workers undertook extensive forest management projects, including building fire towers, trails, bridges, and recreational facilities. Many of these infrastructure projects are still present in the forest today.
Over the years, Perry State Forest has evolved into a multi-use area, serving both conservation and recreational purposes. It offers various recreational activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, and horseback riding. The forest continues to be managed for timber production, wildlife habitat conservation, and ecological restoration.
Today, Perry State Forest spans over 4,572 acres and remains an important part of Ohio's natural landscape, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation and promoting sustainable forest management practices.
Hiking Trail, miles16
Bridle Trails, miles8