Cool tunnel thats about it.

trail running
18 days ago

I attempted this route yesterday. Parked at Hope Furnace. Walked across street to get a free trail map and headed off. Day after a rain I expected trails to be muddy. They were muddy and the trail is overgrown but not ‘thick’. Some spots are a bit thick but most is runable. Mistakes I made were not downloading the GPX file to my watch. Not remembering my AT&T service is dead in this area of Ohio. I forgot to bring calf compression sleeves to protect shins from thorns and weeds.
Plenty of friendly backpackers out on trails.
Tried as best as I could but ended up missing a turn past point Q and started following yellow painted markings not orange. Popped out on 278 about 3 miles north of Hope Furnace. Hiked and ran back to the car.
If you don’t mind stepping over logs, dirty trail shoes, rubbing shrubbery, or getting dirty these are fun single track trails which you can combine to make longer runs. Saw one snake. Had plenty of tiny streams to wash my arms and legs off and dump water on my head.
I want to go back and do the sections I missed.

The main loop was well-maintained and well-marked for the most part. We didn't lose the trail at all but we did not have a good sense of when we reached some of the lettered points on the trail. There is some varied scenery, such as ridges, wetlands and streams. With the Hope Schoolhouse connector this is a tough trail. Not only do you add about 2 miles, but you immediately add a ton of elevation gain.

Great hiking trail! Be sure to have your Cardio ready to go as a few of the inclines are no joke!

Did this entire trail yesterday. We went counterclockwise. Trail is well marked and plenty of water is available. As others have said the terrain can be steep in places and is probably a little more than a “moderate” hike, especially if you are carrying your backpacking gear. Overall though a nice trail.

Did loop midweek and had trail and Campsite#3 to myself. Well marked. Water at campsite is nice. Some spots are muddy after a rain but passable.

We've done the north loop, it was beautiful but pretty tough. Heavy rain can make the creek a little scary, but it's largely avoidable. the campgrounds are nice, especially having the access to water. Go early on weekends, the parking lot seems to fill up quickly.

backpacking
2 months ago

I've backpacked Zaleski over the course of a weekend and I've hiked the whole thing in a day. Either way it'll kick your butt. It's got some serious elevation changes and combined with the sheer distance, this could easily be rated "hard." You could argue it's a little boring. There aren't a ton of spectacular views or features, but it's still my go to long distance hike in Ohio. If you love the forest, you'll love this. Especially the peaceful north loop. Camping can be hit and miss because you're limited to three general areas and it's typically pretty busy. Find those quiet times and the solitude can't be beat. I'll never stop coming back here. As others have alluded to, there are a few areas where it's difficult to follow the trail. I still lose it from time to time and I've hiked it at least half a dozen times. Bring your map and pay attention.

Beautiful area and a fun place to hike and explore.

hiking
7 months ago

Nice and simple trail with cool scenery. If you are up from a rock scramble, there is a large hill with a moderate climb. Feeling adventurous? Park on the opposite side of the stream and figure out how to traverse the valleys and water to find your way to the tunnel.

backpacking
8 months ago

I've been to Zaleski twice now. Started at the Hope Schoolhouse and made it to the first campsite, spent the night and left the next day. The trail is pretty steep past the Schoolhouse so be prepared. I think it's a 900-1,000 ft elevation change, great way to start a hike. A couple of downed trees but hey, you are in the forest.
Heather Rodenborg, just because you struggled to get up the first hill (I made it up the first time in 15 min, first time backpacking as well) and because the outhouse was well, an outhouse, doesn't warrant a poor review. Go dig a trench. Anyone who has hiked any trail in the US would expect some downed trees and not a 100% clear and visible path.
The orange blazes are clearly marked throughout the entire trail. It is very easy to follow. I suggest going in early spring / late fall when the foliage isn't so overwhelming. Good supply of cold water spaced out as well. Have to search a bit for good firewood though.

It’s fun, check it out. A VERY easy trail for sure.

backpacking
8 months ago

Love it! Yes there are downed trees, yes it’s difficult to climb with a pack but it’s not supposed to be easy. I passed a dad and three kids today ranging in age from 16-9 so it’s achievable. Get to camp early though because it can be crowded on weekends. Even at that people are respectful and are quiet as soon as the sun sets.

Great bath. But I would rank this path. Hard! due too the terrain near the swamp before and after ariving the aria. The path just goes steap going up and down. It is a workout! the only even surface is at the campgrounds. Trail is a nice dense forest. You can run the whole trail with 2 litters. there is water pumps at 2 campgrounds. no need to carry extra. be ready to get a challenging pack packing hike. no jock.

backpacking
9 months ago

The ridgetops were beautiful, but the wetlands were tough to get through enjoyably. Some hills were quite challenging. A lot of downed trees crossing the trail. Water supply was great.

backpacking
9 months ago

This was our first trip to Zaleski and will be our last. I'm being generous in giving it two stars. We started from the school house point since the park office stated that the iron furnace lot floods when it rains and rain was in the forecast. Well 30 minutes in and we were ready to quit. There is a pretty steep hill that you have to get up and the trail up it sucks. They should have 1) made it a switchback or 2) put in stairs. The trails aren't maintained and this part has washed out due to the rain. It took us a 5-10 to get up because our feet keep sliding since the incline was so steep. We did the whole loop and there were at least 5 huge downed trees on the trail that you either had to try and climb over, take your pack off and climb under, or try and find a way around. Like I said, the trails aren't maintained so these trees have never been cut and taken off the trail, which makes it hard to follow the trail. In fact, one of the trees that went down was a trail marker tree and you could see around or over the down tree which took us a bit to find the trail. We stayed at camp site 1 and 2. The reason I gave 2 stars is because they do provide water and a toilet. However, none of the toilet were clean or have toilet paper. People had pooped on the seats and not cleaned it up, there was a huge hornet nest on camp site 2's toilet, so be prepared. There were a few great views but not enough to bring me back here. So good luck!

Path was a bit overgrown. A decent amount of thorns. We would recommend pants and a long sleeve.

backpacking
10 months ago

Took us a min to figure out which way to go at the creek bed. Go up, not right. The hills were a good challenge, pack light and even. Camp C was great. There was only one other group this weekend, they beat us to camp and we decided to keep trucking and discovered there are other sites just in the other side of the outhouse, one right off the trail and another further in past that one. Very well spread out, super great trip.

There isn't actually much of a trail here. It follows a creek so the scenery isn't bad but there's just not really a trail to hike. You don't actually make this hike for the trail. The only reason you go here is for the Moonville Tunnel.

Beautiful area. However trail maintained poorly and blazing at roads and turns EXTREMELY poor! This could be a great trail if trail blaze protocol was implemented.

backpacking
11 months ago

We did the South and Middle loops, and made a stupid mistake heading to the North loop (missed a very obvious marker) and ended up hiking about 4 miles out and back in the wildlife reserve area. Stayed at Camps 2 and 3. Really liked the camps and the water supplies and outhouses at each- good water, really helped lighten the load.

The trails are well marked, except for some of the road crossings. Generally trails were to the left on road crossings. We parked at Hope Schoolhouse and once we exited the woods, before the Furnace, and were trying to find the last stretch to finish, we lost all trail blazes. The maps weren't detailed enough to see where the reentry point was to the trail. It was probably a quarter mile away, off the main road, past the furnace parking area. This was a frustrating thing after 3 days out, when we were tired.

Overall though, nice trails. I'd rate it as moderate/ intermediate. Definitely some butt-kicking hills in places! Some areas were a tad difficult because the foliage is so heavy right now. I would like to go back and do the North loop.

backpacking
Monday, June 19, 2017

The trail was pretty well marked but very grown over in some spots. Lots of ups and downs, but that made it more fun! We stayed at Camp 1 & Camp 2. Both were very nice, but very open- not ideal for hammocks. The water at the camps is surprisingly good! We went on a hot weekend and still saw quite a few groups. The bugs are horrible so make sure you have a good spray.

backpacking
Thursday, June 15, 2017

not to bad. camping spots are really open, so hammock camping is based on creativity. trails are well marked and not busy.

backpacking
Sunday, May 07, 2017

Good amount of ups and downs, not too busy overall and well maintained with water spouts make it good for backpacking. Didn't care for the large stone path, rough on the feet but rest is nice. High recommend.

backpacking
Sunday, April 09, 2017

Was a great trip. I can only think of two hills that really took it out of me. The scenery was wonderful but you will want to get a camp site as soon as you can. I was really surprised how fast they fill up.

backpacking
Saturday, November 12, 2016

This trail is rough. Lot's of elevation changes the whole way through. That doesn't affect the natural beauty of it. Get out there early so you can secure a parking spot and a decent campsite.

Monday, October 10, 2016

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 would say if you are going in the fall this is not the greatest trail, however the tunnel is something to see and it's a nice little trail walk to do and stop to have lunch or something. The reason it's not great in the fall is that the water levels are too high to cross the creek so the trail ends within a mile of its start. There is a huge log that you can cross "Dirty Dancing" style to keep going but it's slick and if your muddy shoes lose footing you are in some deepish water. So do this in the summer when the water feels nice. I took the alternate horse trail to make my hike longer and this was definitely more difficult and interesting, albeit incredibly muddy. It spits you out onto the road you drive in on and means you have a bit of a jaunt back to the trailhead via the main road.

backpacking
Friday, September 16, 2016

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Upe8ndkgPUI

Here is another video from 2015.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmPnib7-zDE

It's a nice place to go backpacking for a quick overnight trip.

backpacking
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

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.

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