A natural paradise, 2,983-acre Lake Hope State Park lies entirely within the 26,824-acre Zaleski State Forest in the valley of Big Sandy Run It is a rugged, heavily forested region traversed by steep gorges and narrow ridges Remnants of abandoned mining and iron producing industries amid the beautiful scenery provide interest and pleasure for hikers, photographers, nature lovers and historians alike at one of Ohio's most historic and scenic state parks
Completed 3/4 of the day loop, starting at Y and cutting back through King Hollow Rd back to the Hope Furnace parking lot. The trail is great with the 4.5 mile leg being pretty deserted, the parking lots were full to the brim but only passed 6 people on the trail. That being said there is very little scenery to view and was overall a pretty boring hike. There is a great vista view at about mile 5 going counter-clockwise but the vegetation is so thick you can't really see it. There are many steep uphills with little footholds but this just makes the trail more challenging. Less traveled sections have trees over the trail and it can be quite narrow in places. Make sure you have a newer map before heading out, mine was older without realizing it and had location markers with different letters than what is actually on the ground. Hope Furnace trailhead should be point X not A. This created a lot of confusion on where we were and where water was located. That being said water pumps are clearly marked on the trail and campsites were large and realitively flat. There are 3 within the first 7 miles and are marked C, backpacker camp 1 and 2. Overall an okay 10 mile trip.
I have taken several overnight trips here. There is a new backpacking trail head near the Hope Schoolhouse. A video of my most recent trip, showing the new trail head, can be found on my YouTube channel at the link below.
Here is another video from 2015.
It's a nice place to go backpacking for a quick overnight trip.
Backpacked 5ish miles in and camped over night and then another 5ish out. The trails are well taken care for the most part. Crossed a lot of water on the way out as we took a different way. If you don't have a map you can end up taking a wrong trial and inadvertently double the length of your trip. The camping area is pretty large but still filled to the brim with others by evening. Good practice trail if your looking to build up to something more. You will get a workout.
We stayed at camp 2. The trails are well marked, and they had maps at the trail head( we also printed a few off before we arrived, which I recommend doing as there are not a lot ). The trails are pretty well taken care of. We did 14 miles, and were planning on staying a second night until a big thunderstorm came in, I hate wet gear and being cooped up in the tent. The water sources were a very nice feature. The backpack campsites were nice and roomy. I hear they fill up on the weekends. All in all I will definitely be back! There is a lot of cool things to see!
* I lost a pair of grey Gander Mountain zip-off hiking pants there if anyone finds them, message me please!
did 10 mile loop. the trail is ok. the worst part was the access road part of the trail. it will fatigue your feet fast. we did the loop in one day. we where gonna stay at sight 3 but seem to have heavy traffic. so we just walk back to parking lot. Good thing too because there where alot of hikers just heading in. to busy for my taste. no good scenery.
I love this backpacking trail. If you are looking for complete solitude I would recommend going on this trail during the week. Boy scouts tend to use this backpacking trail on the weekends a lot in the summer time. Expect the campsites to be filled on summer holidays and crowded, still a fun environment! Just not if you are more of a solitude backpacker, which can be achieved during the week. This is the only trail I feel safe enough to backpack alone without feeling like I have to be of concern for my safety. There are water and latrine stations at each campsite which is nice and water tastes great. Lots of up and down trekking on ridge tops so make sure you have boots that cover the ankle, and don't pack for a tent side camping trip for this trail obv. There is a section you will walk on gravel, do not let this discourage you haha It is probably for less than a mile. You go through pines, hardwoods, come across cool recessed fixtures and caverns, narrow trails to give you a more primitive feel. I live in Columbus so for me this trail is amazing when I want to get away for a day or two and I absolutely hate car side camping, and not to mention it's free haha. The first campsite is a nice trek in so expect at least a half hour -hour trek and prepare yourself. Just something I do is I usually do not hike all my water in since that is weight to carry and there is water at the first camp ! So no need to fill up all your water sources. I have went all seasons by far would say spring and fall are the best times! Summer is awesome but expect fellow neighbors! I have went so many times in the fall and spring and have literally been the only one there ha, it is so nice! Just remember to pack what is necessary, heavy packs could ruin your fun for this trip ! haha
My opinion...Zaleski state forest is an intermediate trail, although it wasn't hard and definitely not easy.
Full of ups and downs, some sections straight up with little footholds, the trails are pretty much narrow.
It's absolutely a beautiful deep dense forest!!
It's doable for beginners, keep in mind hiking 6 miles may not seem like much, hiking 6 miles with 30 lbs strapped to your back is entirely different!!!