ZALESKI STATE FOREST
The Zaleski State Forest is the second largest forest in the system. The Zaleski State Forest Backpack Trail was established on the forest to provide backpacking opportunities as well as to introduce some scenic and historic aspects of the forest. The main trail is a loop of 23.5 miles. There is also a 10-mile day loop trail.
Zaleski State Forest, located in southeastern Ohio, has a rich history that dates back to early Native American settlements and has played significant roles in the logging industry, mineral extraction, and conservation efforts.
1. Native American Settlements: The forest area was initially inhabited by indigenous tribes, primarily the Shawnee and Mingo tribes. They utilized the forests for hunting, gathering, and cultural activities.
2. European Settlements: The land was acquired by the United States in the late 18th century, and European settlers began moving into the region. The forests were later acquired by the state of Ohio in the early 20th century.
3. Logging Industry: During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Zaleski State Forest became an important area for the lumber industry. Vinton County, where the forest is located, was among the richest sources of timber in Ohio. The forests were logged extensively, and large amounts of timber were extracted for various uses, including construction, furniture, and fuel.
4. Iron Furnaces: The region surrounding Zaleski State Forest was also known for its iron industry. Several iron furnaces were established in the area to convert locally mined iron ore into pig iron. These furnaces operated from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, utilizing the abundant natural resources in the forests.
5. Conservation Efforts: With the decline of the logging and iron industries, efforts to preserve the remaining forested areas began. In 1935, the Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest was established, becoming one of the first experimental forests established by the United States Forest Service. This experimental forest later became a part of what is now known as Zaleski State Forest.
6. Development of Recreational Facilities: Zaleski State Forest has gradually transformed from an industrial landscape to a recreational haven. Since the 1940s, numerous facilities have been developed, including campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, and bridle paths. The forest remains a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, such as hikers, bikers, horse riders, and hunters.
Zaleski State Forest covers approximately 26,827 acres and is recognized for its diverse plant and animal life, scenic beauty, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Its history as a resource for logging, iron extraction, and its subsequent conservation efforts have shaped its present identity as a natural and recreational asset for the state of Ohio.
Backpack Trail, miles23
Bridle Trails, miles50
Walk-In Campsites, #3
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.
19.1 miles from park*
Cottages and Cabins
A lakeside retreat in the beautiful Hocking Hills on scenic Lake Logan. Full kitchen, Hot Tub, Satellite HD TV, sitting room, breakfast nook, and electric AC/Heat.
17.1 miles from park*
Hello I am the marketing coordinator for the Hocking Hills Lodge Conference Center. There is incorrect information on your website about our lodge, how would we go about changing that or providing
16.2 miles from park*