Archers Fork Trail

HARD 92 reviews
#1 of 7 trails in

Archers Fork Trail is a 12.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near New Matamoras, Ohio that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 12.9 miles Elevation Gain: 1,935 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

cave

forest

views

wildlife

bugs

muddy

Archers Fork is an absolutely beautiful hike. This is a great overnight hiking/camping experience. It is very well marked with yellow diamond blazes. The Natural Bridge is a pretty awesome sight and the Cave is pretty amazing. The whole trail has huge rock outcroppings. Absolutely beautiful country!

hiking
1 month ago

I was surprised by this trail. I went over the weekend (6/14-6/15/2019) and it looks like it just got cleared which made it super easy to follow. also looks like new blazes were added which is nice. the trail was beautiful and there were no mosquitos, honestly it didn't feel like Ohio at all. definitely my favorite trail in Ohio, I will definitely be returning. My only gripe is the water, it looks like some heavy equipment was abandoned there and maybe not properly cleaned up, I'm not sure if that's responsible, but I drank a bunch of water (filtered with the Sawyer Squeeze) at the first water source and after a few hours I had diarrhea. I would say bring all your own water for the entire trail or boil it. I think I drank a total of 2 liters, but I was conserving my clean water. might have just been bad luck though, I don't know.

hiking
muddy
over grown
1 month ago

Awesome trail! We got caught in a storm which caused the trails to be pretty mucky and of course, no dry wood for a fire. We used the camp site that has a couple of makeshift tables and a stream nearby to collect water for filtering. There were places where the weeds had grown up enough that it was hard to see the trail itself but that’s just part of being in the woods.

backpacking
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

I successfully completed this trail as my first solo backpacking trip over the weekend. This was an excellent experience! The views were amazing! I don’t really have anything to compare this trail to as far as difficulties, but it was pretty tough and the flash flooding didn’t make it any easier. I ended up hiking it in 2 days. I would highly recommend this trail to anyone. I’d definitely hike this one again!

hiking
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

This was a fun trail. Unfortunately I had to cut my hike short due to running out of daylight. This would be an awesome trail for a trail run!!

backpacking
6 months ago

I did this trail a few months ago (August) as a first solo overnighter. First off, holy hell the spiders! I saw another reviewer mention them and scoffed - you're in the woods, of course there will be spiders. This was not a normal amount of spiders. This was every few steps, right at face height, huge webs stretched across the trail spiders. I spent most of the 13 miles waving my trekking poles in front of me like an idiot, but every time I let down my guard, I got another face full of spiders. I had webs in my hair, webs in my eyelashes, I was brushing spiders off my pack every time I stopped. At first it was just really annoying, but by the end it was completely demoralizing. Unless you're using some kind of averaging logarithm, this trail should be classified as difficult. The easy parts are really easy - there are sections that are actually on dirt roads - but the hard parts are really hard. I didn't expect it to be as strenuous as it was, but my strength might have been sapped fighting the spiders. I had been warned by a ranger not to drink the water due to heavy metal toxicity, and there were few places to collect it in any case, so you'll need to carry more. All of that said, it's a good trail. The campsites were really nice, except for one where previous campers had left a lot of trash, too much for me to carry out. There is a lot of different scenery to see, and the rock formations are especially awesome. This trail is very remote and not well travelled. I saw no one at all on the first day, and only two guys on mountain bikes passed me the second day, taking on the burden of web-breaking. I enjoyed a glorious, spider-free mile or two before they turned off onto another trail (I know exactly where they turned off because I continued not 5 feet past the turnoff before I got another face full of spiderweb). In conclusion, bring lots of water, expect challenging terrain, and go in the winter when all of those eight-legged bastards are cold and dead.

8 months ago

Went during leafs weren’t on trails and now much to look at but definitely a tough trip and fun!

backpacking
8 months ago

Only my 2nd time our backpacking after doing 20 miles of AT in the Grayson highlands/mt Rogers. Some cool rock formations. Only saw 2 people in 2 days. Very enjoyable. Didn’t find it that difficult.

backpacking
8 months ago

This place is very secluded with no cell service and no water along the trail. This whole area was strip mined and the water is polluted with heavy metals. The trail is rugged and not recommended for beginners, especially carrying all that water! Lots of wildlife: owls, coyotes, tons of woodpeckers and birds. Saw a large black snake on the trail too. Campsite was fine. Didn’t see much trash but there were many loud ATV riders in the morning which was a buzz kill.

hiking
8 months ago

A pleasant surprise. Very well maintained and I can’t wait to go back

backpacking
8 months ago

Great hike lots to see and lots of camp sites.

backpacking
9 months ago

The giant rocks and natural bridge are cool to see. I enjoyed the hills and how far away it is from people. The stars were beautiful here. I will be going again.

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail. We did this as a day trip and went counter clockwise. Lots of spiders on the first half. I found it to be a little bit better marked than other reviews have suggested. We only noticed Natural Gas smell at a couple of spots next to a pretty obvious natural gas processing area. The second half featured some pretty awesome weathered sandstone. I would make sure to map your route to the trailhead prior to getting close as there isn't any reception.

backpacking
10 months ago

The trail could use better trail markers. The cave nothing big, it’s more of an over hang. It does make a good rain shelter

backpacking
11 months ago

nice overnighter, lots of up and down hills. well marked trail

camping
Wednesday, July 04, 2018

We did this loop as a family camping/backpacking summer trip. Our 5 kids ages 16 to 1 1/2 enjoyed it most of the time although some of the terrain was pretty intense for the younger ones. We started going clockwise at 11am on a Saturday and only met 3 other hikers before we got to the halfway camp by 3. Trail was well marked and several campsites/water crossings along the way. Hiked out Sunday in 4 hours and saw nobody. Beautiful trail and private. Would not do this trail again in 95+ degree weather but it would be a great spring/fall trip.

backpacking
Sunday, July 01, 2018

I read all of the reviews before I left and Nothing in those reviews prepared me for this trail. The hills on this trail are intense and you will spend miles at a time going uphill. If you go counterclockwise the beginning is nice and relaxing but once you hit mile 4 the trail gets intense. It was well maintained but muddy everywhere. Its a nice trail that was well maintained but it should be listed as hard not moderate. The views were also not as exciting as I expected after all of the hype. It was exactly what you'd expect to see standing on the side of a mountain but nothing special.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Even after 4” of ran the previous day not really muddy. Creeks higher tricky to pass. Never saw a soul. Moderate. 2 mph possible for an out of shape old guy. Camp anywhere!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

my wife and I were here about 3 weeks ago and the trail was really nice and enjoyable until the second day. we had camped about 6 miles in to the trail loved the campsite it was right next to the creek. upon us leaving the next day to finish the hike we noticed the trail markers strated to go away there weren't as many and the amount if huge trees down in the trail was ridiculous the trail at that time was not maintenance at all.

backpacking
Monday, April 23, 2018

I purchased the guide for this trail at least 8 years ago, if not longer. Never got to go before a left the country for a few years. Finally, went last weekend. Really enjoyed the trail. It's much longer than the 9 miles on the old guide, but the topo map on this site seems accurate. The hiking app on my phone came up with just shy of 14 miles. We arrived at the trailhead by the cemetery just before noon (after missing the turn on Shay Ridge Road because Waze didn't load enough maps prior to losing cell signal, so we had an unplanned visit to New Matamoras). There were already 6 or 7 cars parked there, but there was still space for at least one more after we parked. We took the counterclockwise direction toward the cave and natural bridge. The vast majority of the trail was in good condition with few muddy spots. The trail had been improved since my guide was made with switchbacks replacing what had previously been straight up the hill ascents or descents. This added about 1 1/2 to 2 miles to the trail on either side of the campsites in the middle. It seems like we saw a couple of campsites within the first couple of miles. There were several near the midpoint. There were also several on the second half of our trip, so while we hiked about 7 miles before stopping, it appears that there are options for that distance +/- 2 miles regardless of which direction you travel. We had decided that we didn't want to mess with pumping or purifying water, so we had driven down and around to TWP 427, which is shown on the AllTrails map, and dropped off a 2 1/2 gallon jug of water there. When we hiked back around to that point, we passed one small campsite and stayed at another that was near where we left the jug. TWP 427 was passable with a Highlander to the point where the creek and the trail cross the road. We may have been able to cross the creek, but I was just caching water and didn't need to risk getting stuck. While were we camping there, a group of two Gators came down the road after dark. We also heard at least one go up the road in the morning. While we encountered 4 groups on Saturday, we didn't see any when we hiked out on Sunday. There are a lot of sites with past or current oil wells. While it isn't shown on the AllTrails map, there is a section of trail that we encountered on the second day, that starts at the summit above TWP 427 and follows an dirt road. It was sort of boring. It was a good hike. Would do it again.

hiking
Thursday, April 12, 2018

I remember doing this trail 3 years ago and yes it was great for an overnight 2 day hike we had several hiccups where we just winged it on navigation. the trail was slightly overgrown and not well marked. with the help of good guessing and land navigation we made it. did make the trip more interesting and kept you on your toes. so if your not good with land nav./ gps tracker id advise against this trail.

hiking
Sunday, April 01, 2018

Late March 2018. Archers Fork is Wildcat Hollow on steroids. We just did the whole 13 mile loop in around 6.5 hours or so with 5.40 in hike time. Archers has a lot mor elevation change and many more water crossings compared to Wildcat. Also Archers is a full 13,mile loop - no mid point cut off loop like Wildcat. Archers feels more wild and less traveled, with much more geological scenery and fewer established camps. Signage was good with more blue blazes for the North Country than Archers Yellow at times. Bring your app and map and you’ll be fine. Trail was muddy in spots due to rain but tree fall was well handled. Streams were higher than typical but we were able to cross using fallen trees or other creative means without wading. Going towards the Great Cave and Rock bridge we saw few camps until around the midpoint. Camps persisted the rest of the way - especially near major streams or cliffy areas - see my recording. Not many folks out on the trail or atvs on dirt road lbs so it was quiet. Met 2 groups backpacking and 1 group of local boys who stared at us across a hollow, while I silently played deliverance banjos in my mind. . The middle 1/3 is less interesting than the beginning or end. Lots of flats on soggy oil rig roads. The final 2/5 or so was my favorite part with many streams and cliffy sections. This is also the most challenging part to hike with endless ups and downs. I will return to camp here as this could be a great overnight zone with options for multi day trips using some of the connector trails. ps- The eTrails map/guide I found posted online was very helpful but it says 9.8 miles. It was more like 13. That’s 3.2 miles off- in hilly terrain that’s huge. My track recorder was off for 2 short bits , but even with that I my trek recording showed over 12 miles.

backpacking
Saturday, March 17, 2018

Archers fork is one of the best backpacking trails in all of Ohio. The 13 mile loop provides nice views, interesting rock formations and good camping sites. There are major elevation changes, but they are not all that bad. Decent layout and switchbacks make them very doable. Parking is limited (6 -12 cars) so large groups should consider carpooling. The Great cave and Natural Bridge are both interesting. There are also relics from the early 20th century oil era. One drawback is that consumption of water along the trail is not recommended, however, water caching is easily done. (please go back and pick up any jugs)

hiking
Sunday, October 29, 2017

I was doing Archers Fork Loop Trail as a over night backpacking trip to test out some new gear before me and my pops trip to do 98 miles on th AT. I started this trail counter clockwise started at 6 and got to to the natural bridge just in time to watch the sunrise. I passed up and down over and around breathtaking rock formations and small streams and rivers oil wells old and new throughout. I made it to Jackson run where there was a good little camp spot at about 1 set up camp ate some food and took a nap. when i woke up i decided to just finish it up so packed up in a bit of a haste at about 330. i don't know if it was because i was tired or what but that last section of the trail whooped my ass with the elevation ups and downs finished up about 630. It was a great trail but ran in to a little to many hikers more then my likening anyway but this little challenging trail has a ton of natural beauty and wildlife.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

This was a great hike but I would not call it easy. We did it in one day and took us about 7 hours. Lots of hill, lots of hills. There is a part where you have to cross a deep creek that goes to about your thighs. The rocks, natural bridge and cave are beautiful. This trail has it all including the gas smell. Which was neat to see the old oil rigs but not on my nature hike in a national forest. It was marked well, I think we only got out the picture of the map a few times to make sure we were on track.

hiking
Saturday, September 02, 2017

This trail was featured in Backpacker magazine and so I figured I would give it a try as a day hike. The trail receives high marks and reviews so maybe I had high expectations, but I was pretty disappointed with my experience. First, the trail is very poorly marked and if it had not been for a map and compass I surely would have been lost and possibly spent the night in the woods. I have a fair amount of experience hiking and navigating in the woods backpacking multi-day hikes on the Appalachian trail and other long distance hiking trails without this much difficulty. These issues can be fixed, however there are numerous exposed gas pipelines and oil pumps along the corridor of the trail. Additionally, we experienced a strong natural gas odor in three separate areas of the trail that was quite overwhelming. I reported this to the Forest service who said that they are aware and working to fix the issue. Very disappointed in my experience. There are several nice rock formations and streams in the area, but this area needs a great deal of work.

backpacking
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

We've been here several times and it's always amazing. Moderately challenging, not too crowded, plenty of water. Not a lot of big hilltop views, but the woods themselves are beautiful and green. I always get some nice photos.

backpacking
Sunday, July 02, 2017

Some overgrown parts of the trail. Some ticks. But beautiful!

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