Pine Run Trail to Vinton Iron Furnace

easy 8 reviews

Pine Run Trail to Vinton Iron Furnace is a 5.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Hamden, Ohio that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 5.5 miles Elevation Gain: 656 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

wildlife

historic site

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.

hiking
muddy
over grown
washed out
8 months ago

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.

hiking
Tue Oct 02 2018

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.

hiking
Sun Mar 04 2018

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!

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
Sat Feb 09 2019

hiking
Thu Mar 08 2018