Zaleski Loop Trail

MODERATE 67 reviews
#1 of 9 trails in

Zaleski Loop Trail is a 19.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Wilkesville, 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
19.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4064 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

old growth

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.

backpacking
4 days ago

I've been to Zaleski twice now. Started at the Hope Schoolhouse and made it to the first campsite, spent the night and left the next day. The trail is pretty steep past the Schoolhouse so be prepared. I think it's a 900-1,000 ft elevation change, great way to start a hike. A couple of downed trees but hey, you are in the forest.
Heather Rodenborg, just because you struggled to get up the first hill (I made it up the first time in 15 min, first time backpacking as well) and because the outhouse was well, an outhouse, doesn't warrant a poor review. Go dig a trench. Anyone who has hiked any trail in the US would expect some downed trees and not a 100% clear and visible path.
The orange blazes are clearly marked throughout the entire trail. It is very easy to follow. I suggest going in early spring / late fall when the foliage isn't so overwhelming. Good supply of cold water spaced out as well. Have to search a bit for good firewood though.

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

1 month ago

Great bath. But I would rank this path. Hard! due too the terrain near the swamp before and after ariving the aria. The path just goes steap going up and down. It is a workout! the only even surface is at the campgrounds. Trail is a nice dense forest. You can run the whole trail with 2 litters. there is water pumps at 2 campgrounds. no need to carry extra. be ready to get a challenging pack packing hike. no jock.

backpacking
1 month ago

The ridgetops were beautiful, but the wetlands were tough to get through enjoyably. Some hills were quite challenging. A lot of downed trees crossing the trail. Water supply was great.

backpacking
2 months ago

This was our first trip to Zaleski and will be our last. I'm being generous in giving it two stars. We started from the school house point since the park office stated that the iron furnace lot floods when it rains and rain was in the forecast. Well 30 minutes in and we were ready to quit. There is a pretty steep hill that you have to get up and the trail up it sucks. They should have 1) made it a switchback or 2) put in stairs. The trails aren't maintained and this part has washed out due to the rain. It took us a 5-10 to get up because our feet keep sliding since the incline was so steep. We did the whole loop and there were at least 5 huge downed trees on the trail that you either had to try and climb over, take your pack off and climb under, or try and find a way around. Like I said, the trails aren't maintained so these trees have never been cut and taken off the trail, which makes it hard to follow the trail. In fact, one of the trees that went down was a trail marker tree and you could see around or over the down tree which took us a bit to find the trail. We stayed at camp site 1 and 2. The reason I gave 2 stars is because they do provide water and a toilet. However, none of the toilet were clean or have toilet paper. People had pooped on the seats and not cleaned it up, there was a huge hornet nest on camp site 2's toilet, so be prepared. There were a few great views but not enough to bring me back here. So good luck!

backpacking
2 months ago

Took us a min to figure out which way to go at the creek bed. Go up, not right. The hills were a good challenge, pack light and even. Camp C was great. There was only one other group this weekend, they beat us to camp and we decided to keep trucking and discovered there are other sites just in the other side of the outhouse, one right off the trail and another further in past that one. Very well spread out, super great trip.

backpacking
3 months ago

We did the South and Middle loops, and made a stupid mistake heading to the North loop (missed a very obvious marker) and ended up hiking about 4 miles out and back in the wildlife reserve area. Stayed at Camps 2 and 3. Really liked the camps and the water supplies and outhouses at each- good water, really helped lighten the load.

The trails are well marked, except for some of the road crossings. Generally trails were to the left on road crossings. We parked at Hope Schoolhouse and once we exited the woods, before the Furnace, and were trying to find the last stretch to finish, we lost all trail blazes. The maps weren't detailed enough to see where the reentry point was to the trail. It was probably a quarter mile away, off the main road, past the furnace parking area. This was a frustrating thing after 3 days out, when we were tired.

Overall though, nice trails. I'd rate it as moderate/ intermediate. Definitely some butt-kicking hills in places! Some areas were a tad difficult because the foliage is so heavy right now. I would like to go back and do the North loop.

hiking
3 months ago

backpacking
4 months ago

The trail was pretty well marked but very grown over in some spots. Lots of ups and downs, but that made it more fun! We stayed at Camp 1 & Camp 2. Both were very nice, but very open- not ideal for hammocks. The water at the camps is surprisingly good! We went on a hot weekend and still saw quite a few groups. The bugs are horrible so make sure you have a good spray.

backpacking
4 months ago

not to bad. camping spots are really open, so hammock camping is based on creativity. trails are well marked and not busy.

backpacking
4 months ago

4 months ago

4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

backpacking
5 months ago

Good amount of ups and downs, not too busy overall and well maintained with water spouts make it good for backpacking. Didn't care for the large stone path, rough on the feet but rest is nice. High recommend.

backpacking
6 months ago

Was a great trip. I can only think of two hills that really took it out of me. The scenery was wonderful but you will want to get a camp site as soon as you can. I was really surprised how fast they fill up.

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

backpacking
11 months ago

This trail is rough. Lot's of elevation changes the whole way through. That doesn't affect the natural beauty of it. Get out there early so you can secure a parking spot and a decent campsite.