Zaleski State Forest
Zaleski State Forest
4.5
The area
Address
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Best nearby
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Attractions
3 within 6 miles

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles25 reviews
Excellent
15
Very good
7
Average
2
Poor
1
Terrible
0

hikers4life
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014
First I have to say, as a first time backpacker I would rate this trail as an intermediate trail, NOT a beginner trail. Beginner insinuates easy, although this wasn't extremely hard, it was definitely not easy.
It is full of ups and downs, some sections straight up with little footholds. The trails are very lush and narrow. Absolutely a beautiful trail with deep dense forest. Outstanding flora!
I am an avid hiker with years of experience hiking all over the US, and hiking some strenuous trails, including rim to rim in the grand canyon in one day. I do not think this is a beginner backpacker trail. But worth it and very doable for beginners as long as they have more accurate expectations. Hiking 6 miles may not seem like much, hiking 6 miles with 30 lbs strapped to your back becomes an entirely different experience.
Written September 1, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TheLoneWolfe
Blacklick, OH26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I am a born and raised Ohio proud. I have hiked and backpacked hundreds of miles of trails all over the US. When I want to get away from C-Bus, I head to Zaleski to backpack their awesome trail system. One huge reason I continually have hiked Zaleski are good, consistent water sources at the camps. I have hiked Zaleski in all four seasons, and only had one pump issue. One thing though, the last two trips out there has been a detour in the first leg of the hike. Unexpected and sucks. Otherwise, an excellent time. Don't underestimate it! It isn't car camping folks.
Written March 20, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

M C
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2017 • Solo
This is my third trip to Zaleski this season, doing the north loop again. I took the western route of the loop up (therefore a clockwise direction), completed its northeastern loop (that starts/ends at camp 3), and returned to the registration area by the more easterly portion of the loop...so ~ 17 miles. Started about 3:30 on Thurs, arrived to camp 3 well before dark, hiked the rest Fri morning, done by 1:00 pm. I'm in the latter half of my 60s (but hike plenty) and would rate Zaleski North loop intermediate. I think a trail deserves 2 ratings: one for the physiologic effort and one for the navigation effort. Physiologically, its a lower intermediate. Yes, you might be panting a few times, but nothing like the north loop of Shawnee where you frequently have the urge to stop and rest to catch your breath). Zaleski has switchbacks, for example; Shawnee has none. Still, take your walking sticks; you don't need to roll an ankle and it's harder than walking in your neighborhood park. The "extra" loop from camp 3 is not as well traveled, so is a bit overgrown but just well enough marked. I lost maybe 10 min looking for trail markers, nothing worse. There was water at camp 3 and with a 2.5L hydration bag, I never had to filter, though streams were plentiful enough if camp 3's water supply was empty.
In short, I like Zaleski-- The camps are clean, if you start on Thurs, not many people, potable water, well marked trails, and will not require a day of recovery when completed.
Written September 30, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Eric T
Lebanon, United States193 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Friends
We went backpacking at Zaleski based on some reviews we read. (unfortunately we only found the positive ones before we went there and then found the negative ones afterward.) We wondered why all of the YouTube videos didn't show much and they were either in the fall or winter. This place is a jungle in the summer. It's so dense, there is a canopy holding in all of the humidity. The trails were a mess. Down trees everywhere. I didn't know Ohio had swamps and this area is surrounded by them. The mosquitoes were insane. The only two positives were they did have awesome water available and the camping areas were very nice. Maybe this place is better in the fall.
Written August 30, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jason W
Bellefontaine, OH68 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2016 • Solo
Been doing some solo backpacking trips and had zaleski on my radar for a few months. Started at the new trailhead by the hope schoolhouse (which added 1.9 miles) and made it to camp 3 by late afternoon, traveling counter clockwise. I am not an experienced hiker but am in pretty good shape and I had no problem at all with this hike. Had a few steep climbs, but mostly rolling hills and ridgetops.

Had originally planned on doing 2 nights and 3 days but decided to shorten after making it to camp 2 so quickly. The 3 sites have numerous spots to set up camp and each have drinking water and an outhouse. The North loop and South loop were my favorites. I thought the middle loop was kind of boring. Total of 30 miles. I liked the sites at camp 3 the best.

The dining lodge at Lake Hope for dinner and a beer after the hike was great.
Written November 25, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve B
Moraine, OH121 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2020
We Rode through on our way to the Moonville Tunnel and it was Absolutley Breath Taking , I will def. go Back again !
Written May 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ehemmel2
76 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2012
This hike is easy and fun. We got there in the afternoon on a Saturday. There is a nice parking area and maps available at the trail head. There are two camping spots if you prefer to break up the hike over more days. There is water available at both, which is very convenient. The terrain is fairly easy, but there are hills. A great adventure for those looking to get their feet wet with backpacking.
Written April 22, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

donphillipsiree
Grove City, OH323 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Couples
We use Zalenski for hiking and you have a couple trails to choose from. The lake trail is about 3 miles each was (put and back) and offers nice views of the lake. There is also an 11 mile trail for those who have 4-5 hours to kill. These trails are easy exception for the distance which some may say is moderate.
Written August 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Colleen L
Lagrange, OH7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2016 • Couples
Zaleski Forest has a designated backpacking trail that is divided in two loops, southern and northern. We did only the southern loop over 2 days which meant our mileage was short and manageable, great for us as backpacking novices. We met others who did the entire trail in that same time frame.The views and scenery are gorgeous.The trail is blazed with orange blazes and it's easy to follow. There is good tasting potable water at each campsite, but there isn't much water to be found between sites, so make sure you take enough (but not too much, water is heavy!) for the distance you plan to cover. In terms of terrain I would characterize this trail as "moderate to easy" in comparison to the AT which I would call "rugged and strenuous". With that said, you have to be in some semblance of shape to tackle this trail, especially with a 25-30 pound pack! The camps are well placed and the sites nicely spaced and clean. You can get a couple bars on your cell phone at the higher elevations in the camps. We had a perfect forecast and we went on a weekend so there was a bit of traffic but we could find solitude also at times. We met some great people (backpackers are the best) and definitely plan to return to take in the beauty of Zaleski in all her seasons. If you choose your distances wisely, Zaleski is a great backpacking outing for all ages if you are reasonably fit.
Written April 18, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nancy W
Cincinnati, OH287 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2012
Zaleski is entwined among Hocking Hills State Park, Lake Hope State Park, and Wayne National Forest. Although not as commercial as these places, Zaleski's trails are well marked, follow interesting routes with some hidden gem rockface, etc., and at some points connects with the Buckeye Trail, making it easy to do a 2 or 3 day trek. A few nice camping spots with potable water lie on a few of the more popular trails, which is always welcome. Registration at the trail head is expected, if not required.
Written December 7, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Zaleski State Forest - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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