Shawnee Backpackers Trail

HARD 0 reviews
#5 of 5 trails in

Shawnee Backpackers Trail is a 18.1 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Nile, Ohio that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September.

18.1 miles
6154 feet
Point to Point





nature trips




old growth

over grown


This might be the hardest trail in Ohio but it's difficulty is due to both good and bad things. At times, be prepared for brush on the trail that is almost too thick to get through as well as downed trees one must climb over, streams that need to be crossed with no clear path or stepping stones (especially not after the rain) and blazes that are out of sight, especially when crossing bridle trails and roads. Don't trust the weather forecast for Scioto County either, as anytime on their trail you might be deluged with water! Be prepared to move off the trail and hunker down, because there is NOTHING controlling the water flow on the trail, and they quickly move from being steep, dry and pebbly trails to near waterfalls. Recommended gear, gaiters and a poncho that can cover your pack. My waterproof Salomon boots were no match for the torrential rains on this trail! The camps on this part of the trail are sparse -- most look as if they haven't been used in a year. Over a beautiful weekend, we only saw two other backpackers the entire time and they approached the trail clockwise, while we went counter clockwise. This is a definite perk, especially I you are trying to get away from the over-packed Hocking Hills area! However, it is important to note that if you go on the weekend it is desolate, and park rangers don't staff the park on the weekends either—so you are really on your own. It is likely that you might not see another person for days. Please also consider that the trails are pretty much completely inaccessible to motor vehicles. Unlike places like the Shenandoah, the fire trails and bridle trails aren’t really clear enough for even Jeeps to pass (maybe even ATV’s), so if you get hurt, you’ll need to descend on your own. Camp 6 is probably the loveliest of the camps, and has a good amount of room for both hammock camping and for tents. It is located on the water with is nice, and you have plenty of room. Camp 5 is located towards the top of the ridge line. It has room for tents but being hammock campers, we could hang two hammocks (although we hung one on a camp post), and there is a water pump at the entrance and an outhouse at the end of the camp trail. Do not camp without bug nets and a rain fly! Also, even in July, if it rains, do not expect anything to dry out by morning. The view of the park here is amazing though. One of the best views of the hike, and the morning is particularly magical, as the clouds settle below you, so when you wake up, it looks like a dream. The terrain on this trail is consistent; new growth forests with lots of brush, and ticks. The terrain is mostly dirt and small rock paths, and during accents there are virtually no places where you’ll get rock handholds. When you get to the streams, of which you’ll come to many, you’ll come across nice old growth pines and spruces with soft trails…. Luxuriate in them, because they are short. (Although camp 6 is in one of these areas.)

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