Pine Run Trail to Vinton Iron Furnace is a 5.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Wilkesville, Ohio that features a great forest setting and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips.

Length5.3 miElevation gain616 ftRoute typeOut & back
HikingNature tripsForestViews
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Vinton Furnace Experimental State Forest is roughly 12,000 acres used for forest research, but also open to hikers. There are several buildings at the park's 'headquarters' and if you go during the week, you can drive to a parking area nearby. On weekends however, the gate is closed on the entrance road, but parking is provided there. This adds about 3/4 of a mile to each end of the hike, getting from the gate to the headquarters. Once there, the 'trails', which are essentially gravel roads, branch out like spokes on a wheel. Each spoke is marked by name and they are relatively easy to find. This hike leads from the entrance gate to the Pine Ridge trail, which ends at the ruins of the Vinton Iron Furnace, and coke ovens. Standing in the center of the headquarters area, the Pine Run trail would be at roughly 11 o'clock. Grades are mostly gentle and you are walking on a gravel road. There are no blazes on the road, but the path is obvious. When you reach the end of the road there is a turnaround surrounding a tree. A mowed path leads off to the right and begins to descend downhill, switching back several times. This is the most strenuous part of the trail, but it doesn't last long. The path leads you right to the ruins of the coke ovens. These ovens were made in Belgium in the mid 1800's, and shipped here as individual numbered bricks for reassembly. The coke they produced was used as fuel to make iron in the furnace, which is located directly over the hill from the ovens. Again, a mowed path to the furnace is provided. Iron furnaces dot the southern Ohio landscape but the coke ovens are the only known remnants of Belgian ovens anywhere in the world. The path back is simply reversing the route. This is a very underutilized state forest where you can go for a nice walk in the woods and experience some unique history. A day at Vinton here is highly recommended.

Latrines at the hunters camp and headquarters area. Picnic area and gazebo.

Administrative Office: Zaleski State Forest P.O. Box 330 / State Route 278 Zaleski, OH 45698

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Reviews (30)
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Pam Mays
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 17, 2021
HikingFlooded

Beware the creek is dammed up to cross at the end of the road. Had to take our shoes off and wade knee deep to cross. You can also cross on an old rickety bridge farther down the creek (not a fan of heights over water). Otherwise the furnace is very interesting. It is mostly a service road (have to walk a mile past the gate to get to the educational buildings before starting the hike.

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Andy Snively
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Jim K
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Hiking

Not a classic forest hike. More of an educational / historic trek on forest service roads through forestry test plots. When you get to the very very end of Pine Run, there's a tiny trail leading to the Belgian Coke Furnaces. Absolutely no signage, but the GPS track is accurate to follow. Worth it with fall color but would be a somewhat bland hike other times of year unless you're there for the history.

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Suzy Delong
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Alex Carter
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Hiking

Great hike! Definitely be cautious as there really aren't any trail markers. Have to hike for about a mile down the gravel road to get to the welcome center.

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Ethan Vose
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Hiking

a lot harder than I thought. Being water.

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Matt Lobban
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Hiking

I loved it. I will return here again. Very secluded. Very clean (LETS ALL KEEP IT THAT WAY). It was nice to see the old ruins of a historic industrial site. Chatting with a local snake scientist was wonderful. A very unique trail. It was very peaceful and tranquil.

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Alyssa Adkins
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Hiking

Very disappointed in this trail. I wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t have to walk a 1 mile/ 1 1/2 before actually getting to the trail due to them keeping the gate shut. They do allow people on foot but won’t allow cars? But yet there is vehicles that are inside somehow? Anyways, the trail in mostly gravel which is okay for strollers (if you have those good jogging strollers) it’s a little grown over in spots and there are side roads and it gets somewhat confusing to where we actually need to go. We saw a park ranger at the Office or whatever it was and she didn’t seem friendly whatsoever. Saw our group and went back inside and shut the door, waited for us to walk by and came back outside I will not be walking this trail again. Not worth it unless you’re really bored.

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Ryan Junior
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HikingBugs

This is nothing more than a walk down a road (even a road sign that says "Pine Run Road"), first mile (and last mile since it's an out & back) is a gravel road. The place has lots of tree plot history signs, but not one that directs you exactly where the old furnace is which is hard to find since there was a ton of overgrowth in that area. This hike is boring. Would have been better if the previous clown reviewers actually gave helpful advice & directions to the furnace instead of talking about ticks and bug spray. Welcome to the outdoors since you obviously dont get off your couches but once a month...now go back to watching Netflix and leave nature to us.

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Jeff Goodrich
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HikingMuddyOver grownRocky

Little trail over an old bridge to find the Vinton Furnace! Great time!

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Ben Davis Jr.
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HikingMuddyPrivate property

this is a real cool trail, it's mostly just a gravel road, but it goes deep into the forest. I followed a train across the stream before the furnaces to a really old bridge. I was curious, and could see where the support beams were so I crossed it. after crossing I realized that the road I was on didn't connect with the trail, so I crossed the rickety bridge again. by the time I made it back to the official trail there was somebody in a pickup truck right at the bridge staring at me. I suppose it's bad news to be on that side of the forest.

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Carolyn E
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HikingMuddyOver grownWashed out

Pleasant, heavily forested trail with very few visitors aside the scientist residents...and maybe a few spectres, if you believe the legends. The old coke furnaces, covered in trees and flowers, are a beautiful site and worth a visit. Wear shoes that can handle both gravel and mud, as well as long pants as sections are a bit overgrown. I say this moments after brushing a tick off my pants. It is a pleasant out-and-back, however, with a lot of gorgeous butterflies and foliage. ....and spider webs... Getting to the trail head takes a drive down a long, winding gravel road, which is blocked off suddenly with a sign stating only foot traffic is allowed. A small gravel area nearby serves as a car park of sorts. A mile up the trail, tho, you get to the experimental forest residents' camp. I understand visitors are welcome but no, you can't drive in and park there. There are latrines, however, and a number of paths and trails.

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Kelly Routt
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Hiking

Some up hills make for a strenuous hike. Most of the hike, however, is on gravel or unimproved road, so it won’t take too much pit of you. Bug spray is a must. Worth the effort to see the Coke Ovens.

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Agent J adventure_and_beer
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Hiking

Not sure where I was at in the park exactly. Just rolled up on it passing through the area. Not a soul around but its a single lane 4 mile gravel road where I was.

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Jeff Gandee
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Hiking
First to Review

My friend and I visited here on a cold and clear beautiful sunny March day, and had the place to ourselves. It was a very nice walk, not overly strenuous but there is something about coming upon man made structures left to rot in the middle of a forest that fascinates me every time. I give this hike five stars simply because of the interesting history at the end of the trail...and because there were no crowds!

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Jaime Miracle
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Lexi Rohrbach
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Jodie Lemley
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KYLE RILEY-HAWKINS
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Aaron Dean
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Lisa Cincinnati
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matt yost
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matt yost
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Heidi Lamerson
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Pete Smith
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