Zaleski South Loop Trail

moderate 204 reviews
#1 of 5 trails in

Zaleski South Loop Trail is a 11.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Zaleski, Ohio that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,528 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

cave

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

You are walking on a portion of the original road from Marietta to Chillicothe, which also passed through Middletown (today known as Athens). This road, abandoned by 1870, was actively used by early settlers and was also an important hunting ground for Native Americans. BACKPACK TRAIL RULES 1. You may camp only in the designated campground areas shown on the map. 2. A self-registration permit (no fee) is required of all hikers. The permit, which you must fill out prior to entering the trail, is available at the trail parking area 24-hours a day.

Another wet, muddy, snowy winter hike but it was still fun.

hiking
muddy
24 days ago

good trail for a first time solo backpacker . Quite muddy at times with a fair share of downed trees but trail is very well marked. Scenery is blah this time of year but what can you do. I used this trail to train for a longer trip I'll be taking in AZ in a week or so.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Very challenging. Loved it.

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

A muddy trail is a given when we have a warm day this time of year. I saw two backpackers shortly after I arrived and not another soul the rest of the day. The rating of moderate would be accurate if you're breaking this up in pieces and camping along the way. I did this as a day hike and would rate it as difficult. The footing was a bit tricky as there are several inches of wet leaves with which to contend. Nothing major, but it definitely forced you to slow down a little. The ascents are a bit steep in places, but the trail provides ample flatter spots to recover. I agree with the reviewer who said this is a great way to train for the AT.

backpacking
3 months ago

This is a very nice trail. Pretty challenging for a beginner like myself, but pretty scenic. It got pretty cold at night and firewood was pretty sparse. Temperatures during the day were near perfect for backpacking. I will definitely be back here when the weather warms up!

hiking
3 months ago

Trail was in excellent shape, weather (40s) was perfect!

hiking
3 months ago

Started recording at point I. I did not record the first half. Ended at main trail head parking

hiking
4 months ago

Loved it here, was the perfect tune up of distance and varying elevation for upcoming AT section hike. I did parts of both North and South loop. Camp 3, Camp 1 not quite to Camp 2. I recommend long sleeves and either pants or compression pants under shorts as there are weeds that you will come into contact with basically the entire trail. It is not overgrown but you’ll hit it. Trekking poles will save you on all the ascents.

hiking
4 months ago

Trail was in good condition last weekend of September, 2019. Took two days to do it at a leisurely pace. Campsites fill up early.

hiking
4 months ago

This is a great trail!

hiking
bugs
5 months ago

long, good training route

backpacking
bugs
muddy
5 months ago

We hiked it in late May this past year. great hike, challenging in the beginning mostly. don't stop around the lake or you'll be eaten alive haha we wear long sleeves and pants so it helps. we also got rained on but it didn't stop us a bit. trail was mostly well maintained but if I had a machete there were places I would have opened up a bit. Get to camp early, there was camping right on the trail or up the hill, the topside was full but the bottom we shared with a family. Wood is easily found if you have a pocket saw there were tons of downed trees to choose from.

hiking
5 months ago

My first ever backpacking experience. I’m a 6’1”. 155lb 28yr old male. I’m in good shape although a little on the skinny side. I found out really quick that I should hit the gym and defn work on leg training. Also NEED ankle supported shoes for a trail as such. There are several inclines And declines that require supportive shoes/boots . After the initial hike in to camp 2 (approximately 6 miles)I was beat. Bring food with high protein and high energy. Beautiful views,outlooks, a cave or 2. Saw about 6-8 ppl on a 2 day hike. Not too bad. Trails were clearly marked orange. So for a rookie that a bit nervous hiking alone it put me at ease. Trail was 8-85% blazed and clear. Some thick spots but no big problems at all. There is poison ivy everywhere so come protected(bring small bottle alcohol Justin case) BUG SPRAY is a must for this forest. Date hiked August 23-24th. Weather clear 78* high 48*low . Bring underquilt if hammock camper. I would go back and do this trail again someday but for a first time hiker/ backpacker I would come prepared and be ready for a good physical challenge. P.S. I love this new hobby and I do want to thank the state of Ohio and Zaleski State Forest for its beauty and everything else it has to offer

hiking
5 months ago

This trail kicks my butt everytime I do it. Use it as training grounds for my Grand Canyon hikes.

backpacking
6 months ago

Weekend of 10-11 August the trail was in excellent condition. The northern half of the South Loop is more challenging and less used than the south half, but the entire loop was well marked and clear. Poison Ivy was moderate, mud was minimal, traffic was average for the dates. The water supply was working at both locations and tasted very good. Parking at the furnace was full by late-morning but the school house parking was plentiful. The further campsite was full by late afternoon.The Moderate rating is accurate with some challenging areas (mostly on the northern half) but there were plenty of really easy sections as well.

backpacking
6 months ago

For the whiners stay home and stare at the tv. The mud,blow downs,bugs,poison ivy,up hills and down hills oh and it’s too hot or it’s too cold. Man cards turn them in ,just play some video games. I’ve hike more then 500 miles of the AT and yes there are whiners on the trail but like Zaleski no one made you go. Now go turn in your man card.

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

backpacking
muddy
over grown
washed out
7 months ago

Not sure where all these positive reviewers were hiking, because it could not possibly be the trail I just came off of. We did the South Loop plus the eastern half of the Middle Loop up to the first campsite in the Northern Loop and we were pretty much knee-deep in poison ivy the entire way. I have never seen so much poison ivy anywhere. The trail is over grown about 70% of the time and had huge muddy sections every mile or so. To top it all off, the trailhead itself was nearly impossible to find. (Once you're on the trail it is well blazed). I am an avid hiker/backpacker and this is the worst hiking experience I have ever had.

hiking
8 months ago

Well established, blazed and maintained. Would recommend for first time backpacker, also a great trail to take a family. Easy to moderate for an overnight trip.

hiking
muddy
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

I just finished a two day trip on this trail and loved it. The trail can be a bit muddy due to to recent rains but with proper boots it won’t be a problem. This trail has about three steep hills that take you up to ridges where it will plateau out. If you are in decent shape you can tackle the hills with a few breaks along the way up. I went during the middle of the week and only saw a few people along the trail. Stayed in campsite 2 the first night and did not see one person. Campsites are nice. Fresh Water is along the trail from wells which is a big help. I would say this trail is of moderate difficulty. Saw lots of birds, butterflies, and heard coyotes howling at night. Make sure to bring insect repellant. I will definitely be taking this trail again. Also, this app was very helpful while taking this trip. I was able to check my progress along the trail while my phone was in airplane mode to conserve battery life. The map will still show your location on the map when you are in airplane mode. The map also helped me stay on course when I strayed a little bit.

backpacking
9 months ago

First backpacking trip and I was pretty tired once we got to our site. The trail was nice but fairly challenging for an inexperienced hiker while getting used to the weight of the backpack. I would definitely go again.

hiking
10 months ago

Weather was awesome those weekend for the wife’s 1st backpack adventure. Our dogs had a great time as well. We trekked to camp site 2 and spent the night there. Heard coyotes at night and where woken up to turkeys in the morning. Trail was in great shape and just a few muddy spots. Recommend this

hiking
10 months ago

Great first time experience for my son and I. We stayed the first night in camp 2. Very few other campers was nice. The second night in camp 2 had over 50 which was a lot but lots of room to spread out. The blaze tree markings are pretty good but the the sign at point b points hikers to the “main parking lot” and we ended up on a road 1.2 miles from the parking lot. Not sure what we did wrong or why the trail just ended at a road when leaving the park that direction.

hiking
10 months ago

Zaleski State Forest contains some of the best hiking Ohio has to offer. Very challenging trail in some places but the views are spectacular. Easy to navigate with orange blazes. This loop is mostly a ridge line trail and has areas for camping.

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail. Well maintained and some awesome views. Great warm-up to bigger things.

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