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Ohio State Parks

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USA Parks
Southeast Ohio Region
Tar Hollow State Forest
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Laurelville, Ohio   43135
(lat:39.3549 lon:-82.7671) map location

Phone: (740) 663-2538
Tar Hollow State Forest originated from the Ross-Hocking Land Utilization project of the 1930s. The purpose of the program was to locate families to more productive land, thereby enabling them to better sustain a living. Following termination of the project, the land was leased to the Division of Forestry, and finally transferred to the State in 1958. Tar Hollow is Ohio's third largest state forest, containing 16,120 acres. A wealth of recreational activities are available at Tar Hollow State Forest. A 48-site primitive horse camp is located at the south end of the forest on Poe Run Road. Latrines are provided at the camp, but electricity and drinking water are not available. Radiating from the horse camp are 33 miles of bridle trails. All bridle trails re south of the fire tower. A 22-mile network of hiking trails is located in the northern half of the forest. Seventeen miles of paved forest roads and 14 miles of gravel forest roads provide a great opportunity for a scenic drive and allow good access to all areas of the forest.
History of the Area
Tar Hollow State Forest is located in southeastern Ohio, within the counties of Ross and Hocking. It covers an area of approximately 16,000 acres and provides various recreational opportunities for visitors, including hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. The history of Tar Hollow State Forest can be traced back to its establishment in the early 20th century.

The area now known as Tar Hollow State Forest was once home to Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Wyandot. European settlers began moving into the region in the late 18th century, primarily from Virginia and Kentucky. The land was primarily used for agriculture, with settlers cultivating crops and raising livestock.

In the early 20th century, the expansion of the timber industry in Ohio led to the increased logging of the area. The forests were heavily exploited to meet the demand for timber, leading to significant deforestation. However, by the 1920s, the state recognized the need for reforestation efforts to prevent soil erosion and protect watersheds.

In 1930, The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) began acquiring land in the area to establish a state forest. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a work relief program during the Great Depression, played a crucial role in developing Tar Hollow State Forest. CCC camps were set up in the area, and the young men employed in the camps worked on various projects, including reforestation, building roads and trails, constructing recreational facilities, and combating forest fires.

The primary objective of Tar Hollow State Forest was to reforest the area and manage the land for sustainable logging. The CCC helped plant over 10 million tree seedlings, contributing significantly to the reforestation efforts. The forest was officially dedicated in 1938 and named for the tar-like substance found in the hollows of the area.

Tar Hollow State Forest has continued to be managed by the ODNR, with a focus on forest health, wildlife management, and recreational opportunities. Today, it is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, offering a wide range of activities and serving as a habitat for various wildlife species.

Efforts have been made to protect the forest's natural resources and improve recreational infrastructure. Numerous trails have been developed, including the renowned 21-mile Logan Trail System, which provides opportunities for hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding. The forest also contains several campgrounds and picnic areas, offering visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Tar Hollow State Forest.
GeneralLand, acres16,120
 Hiking Trail, miles22
 Bridle Trails, miles33
CampingHorsemen Campsites, #48
1. Tar Hollow State Park Campground: This campground offers both electric and non-electic sites for tents and RVs, as well as shower houses, flush toilets, a camp store with supplies like firewood or ice.

2. Backcountry Camping: For those who prefer more primitive camping experience can opt for backcountry camping in the state forest itself where they are allowed to set up camp anywhere that is at least 100 feet from any trail or water source.

3. Group Camping Areas: There are several group campsites available within the park which include amenities such as picnic tables, grills/fire rings etc., ideal for large groups of friends or family members looking to enjoy nature together.

4. Cabins Rental Options: The park also has cabins available year-round offering heating/cooling facilities along with kitchen appliances & utensils making it perfect choice if you're not into tent/RV camping but still want an outdoor adventure.

5. Logan Conference Center: If you have larger events planned then this center provides lodging accommodations including dormitory:style sleeping quarters.

6. Horseman's Camp Area: A separate area designed specifically keeping horse riders in mind providing hitching rails, mounting blocks among other things.
Nearby Accommodations
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Cottages and Cabins
Rustic beauty in a peaceful, clean atmosphere is the secret to this Family Retreat. The serene splendor of Mother Nature is your reward for visiting Walnut Creek. We offer cabin rentals for those who want the convenience with less effort.
10.2 miles from park*
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Hidden Cave Cabin - Rockbridge, OH
Cottages and Cabins
Hidden Cave Cabin is an authentic log cabin with 2 bedrooms in a private wooded setting. It is located on one of the most scenic drives in Hocking Hills and just 3.6 miles to Rock House and less than 10 miles to Conkle's Hollow and Old Man's Cave.
14.8 miles from park*
Nearby Vacation Rentals
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Boating enthusiasts can enjoy the 15-acre Pine Lake, which allows electric motors only. Rowboats and paddle boats are available for rental during summer months at the park office. Private boats are also permitted but must be manually or electrically powered as gas-powered engines aren't allowed on this lake.

1. Logan Trail: A 21-mile trail that offers a challenging hike through the forest's rugged terrain, featuring beautiful views of rolling hills and dense woodlands.

2. Buckeye Trail: This is part of Ohio's longest single loop trail stretching over 1444 miles across the state with several sections passing through Tar Hollow State Forest offering scenic vistas and diverse wildlife sightings.

3. Fire Tower Loop: An easy to moderate level hiking path spanning about three miles around Pine Lake; it includes an old fire tower which provides panoramic views from its top.

4. Homestead Hiking Trails: These trails are perfect for family hikes as they offer shorter routes ranging between one to two miles each, winding past historical sites like pioneer homesteads within the park boundaries.

5. Ross Hollow Backpacking Route: It's a strenuous but rewarding backpacking route covering approximately ten:miles in length showcasing some unique geological features including sandstone cliffs and gorges.

6. Cross Country Ski Trails: During winter months these designated paths provide excellent opportunities for cross:country skiing amidst snow-covered landscapes.

7. Horseback Riding Paths: Several multi-use trails throughout Tar Hollow cater specifically towards horse riders providing them ample space alongside hikers on shared pathways while ensuring safety measures are maintained at all times.

8. Bridle Pathways: There exist numerous bridle ways designed exclusively for equestrian use allowing visitors to explore different parts of this vast woodland area atop their horses without disturbing other users or local fauna/flora species present here.

9. Mountain Biking Routes: Certain tracks have been developed keeping mountain bikers' needs into consideration where they can enjoy thrilling rides along steep slopes amid lush green surroundings during summer season.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
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Area Campgrounds
Walnut Creek Campground & Resort
2342 Walnut Creek Road
Chillicothe, OH
Top O' the Caves
26780 Chapel Ridge Road
South Bloomingville, OH
Palmerosa Horse & Hike Camp
19207 Keifel Road
Laurelville, OH
Area Fishing Related Businesses
D & K Bait & Tackle Dealers
288 W Hydell Rd
Chillicothe, OH
(740) 772-1836
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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Cottages and Cabins
Trickle Creek offers luxury cabins in Hocking Hills. The cabins are situated on nearly 236 acres of secluded cabin rentals in the deep wooded ravines in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Hocking County, Ohio.
20.3 miles from park*
Area Resources
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Offical Guide to Southeastern Ohio's Scenic Wonderland, the Hocking Hills. The 9 State Parks and State Forests. How to get there, things to do, interesting local merchants, what to see, places to stay. Reserve your cabin or campsite online
11.9 miles from park*

1. Start on I-71 South from Columbus.
2. Continue on I-71 South for about 26 miles.
5. Continue on OH-56 East for approximately 17 miles.
6. Turn left onto Tarlton Road/Laurelville-New Holland Road.
7. Follow Tarlton Road for about 5.5 miles.
8. Continue onto Cave Road/Lingrell Road.
9. After about 4 miles, turn right onto OH-327 South.
10. Continue on OH-327 South for around 1.5 miles.
11. You will reach the entrance of Tar Hollow State Forest.
12. Follow signs within the forest for various trails, camping areas, and recreational activities.

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Ohio State Parks