Shawnee Backpackers Trail

HARD 5 reviews
#4 of 12 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. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

18.1 miles
4,281 feet
Point to Point

dogs on leash





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. The camps on this part of the trail are sparse -- most look as if they haven't been used in a year. 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. Do not camp without bug nets and a rain fly! 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.)

17 days ago

This trail is super difficult. We only made it about 1 mile out and realized it was out of our access. Lots of bugs even with bug spray so be prepared. The trail does not seem to be maintained well either.

11 months ago

I just completed this hike last week but as a loop of ~25 miles, starting at the trailhead, following a trail just north of SR125 (traveling SE), crossing south over SR 125, and picking up the displayed trail there, finishing the loop at the trailhead. The trail is fantastic-- you cannot ask for a better groomed trail. It's simple to follow, well marked, with only a couple of trees downed over the trail in all those miles. There is no deluge of water runoff in the rain (& I started during a rainstorm) and the reason is simple in design- on each and every slope, every 50 feet or so, a backsloping cutout is made in the trail to force water runoff off the trail, so no deluge ever forms. This took an enormous amount of work to construct. But (big but), this is an athletically hard trail; easy trail technically; hard trail athletically. Take a water filter-- plenty of streams. Actually, camp 5 was 1/2 way for me and beautiful, on a ridge with great views. I loved this hike and will be going back for more.

11 months ago

Lots of up and down, very challenging if your not in good shape. If you have a dog, watch out for copperheads!!

1 month ago