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Ohio State Parks

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USA Parks
Southeast Ohio Region
Zaleski State Forest
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Zaleski State Forest © DanaK~WaterPenny / CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Zaleski State Forest, Ohio
Zaleski State Forest © pilssken / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Zaleski State Forest, Ohio
Zaleski State Forest © DanaK~WaterPenny / CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Zaleski State Forest, Ohio
Zaleski State Forest © pilssken / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Zaleski State Forest, Ohio
Zaleski State Forest © Dan Molter / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
A fruit body of the bolete fungus Boletus frostii Russell. Specimen photographed in Zaleski State Forest, Ohio, USA.
Zaleski State Forest © DanaK~WaterPenny / CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Zaleski State Forest, Ohio
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29681 OH-278
Zaleski, Ohio   45698
(lat:39.2912 lon:-82.3922) map location

Phone: (740) 596-5781
The Zaleski State Forest is the second largest forest in the system. The Zaleski State Forest Backpack Trail was established on the forest to provide backpacking opportunities as well as to introduce some scenic and historic aspects of the forest. The main trail is a loop of 23.5 miles. There is also a 10-mile day loop trail.
History of the Area
Zaleski State Forest, located in southeastern Ohio, has a rich history that dates back to early Native American settlements and has played significant roles in the logging industry, mineral extraction, and conservation efforts.

1. Native American Settlements: The forest area was initially inhabited by indigenous tribes, primarily the Shawnee and Mingo tribes. They utilized the forests for hunting, gathering, and cultural activities.

2. European Settlements: The land was acquired by the United States in the late 18th century, and European settlers began moving into the region. The forests were later acquired by the state of Ohio in the early 20th century.

3. Logging Industry: During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Zaleski State Forest became an important area for the lumber industry. Vinton County, where the forest is located, was among the richest sources of timber in Ohio. The forests were logged extensively, and large amounts of timber were extracted for various uses, including construction, furniture, and fuel.

4. Iron Furnaces: The region surrounding Zaleski State Forest was also known for its iron industry. Several iron furnaces were established in the area to convert locally mined iron ore into pig iron. These furnaces operated from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, utilizing the abundant natural resources in the forests.

5. Conservation Efforts: With the decline of the logging and iron industries, efforts to preserve the remaining forested areas began. In 1935, the Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest was established, becoming one of the first experimental forests established by the United States Forest Service. This experimental forest later became a part of what is now known as Zaleski State Forest.

6. Development of Recreational Facilities: Zaleski State Forest has gradually transformed from an industrial landscape to a recreational haven. Since the 1940s, numerous facilities have been developed, including campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, and bridle paths. The forest remains a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, such as hikers, bikers, horse riders, and hunters.

Zaleski State Forest covers approximately 26,827 acres and is recognized for its diverse plant and animal life, scenic beauty, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Its history as a resource for logging, iron extraction, and its subsequent conservation efforts have shaped its present identity as a natural and recreational asset for the state of Ohio.
GeneralLand, acres26,827
 Backpack Trail, miles23
 Bridle Trails, miles50
CampingHorsemen Campsitesyes
 Walk-In Campsites, #3
Nearby Accommodations
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Hidden Cave Cabin - Rockbridge, OH
Cottages and Cabins
Hidden Cave Cabin is an authentic log cabin with 2 bedrooms in a private wooded setting. It is located on one of the most scenic drives in Hocking Hills and just 3.6 miles to Rock House and less than 10 miles to Conkle's Hollow and Old Man's Cave.
19.1 miles from park*
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Cottages and Cabins
A lakeside retreat in the beautiful Hocking Hills on scenic Lake Logan. Full kitchen, Hot Tub, Satellite HD TV, sitting room, breakfast nook, and electric AC/Heat.
17.1 miles from park*
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Conference Center
Hello I am the marketing coordinator for the Hocking Hills Lodge Conference Center. There is incorrect information on your website about our lodge, how would we go about changing that or providing
16.2 miles from park*
Nearby Vacation Rentals
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Guided Tours
The Zaleski State Forest Sawmill is Ohio's only publicly owned and operated sawmill. It began operation in 1967. Most new commercial mills are using the latest technologies such as computer operation and laser calibration. For this reason, the "low-tech" approach taken at Zaleski gives the mill an almost historical significance. By no means however is the Zaleski Sawmill a museum-piece. It is an efficient functioning mill that turns out specialty orders for many public works projects. Additionally, demonstrations and training activities (for example, grading workshops) are held every year at Zaleski.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
April 17 great park and backpacking by troop 113
park review stars; one to five
January 8 One of the best!! by Erica M.
park review stars; one to five Lake Hope is where my two aunts, my sister, and I camp every year for atleast once a week during the summer. Its so peaceful, we love the nature center. No matter how many times weve been there it never fails to be awesome. Every Saturday night they have movie night at the ampitheather we always go and its not just for the popcorn and kool-aid! The wild life is also great Zaleski state park is a beautiful one. If you ever think about going dont hesitate to! Its a wonderful experience!!! <3
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Area Campgrounds
Hocking Hills KOA Holiday
29150 Pattor Road
Logan, OH
Lake Snowden Campground
5900 U.S. 50
Albany, OH
Top O' the Caves
26780 Chapel Ridge Road
South Bloomingville, OH
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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Cottages and Cabins
Trickle Creek offers luxury cabins in Hocking Hills. The cabins are situated on nearly 236 acres of secluded cabin rentals in the deep wooded ravines in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Hocking County, Ohio.
21.1 miles from park*
Area Resources
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Offical Guide to Southeastern Ohio's Scenic Wonderland, the Hocking Hills. The 9 State Parks and State Forests. How to get there, things to do, interesting local merchants, what to see, places to stay. Reserve your cabin or campsite online
11.3 miles from park*

1. Start by heading south on US-33 from Athens.
2. Continue on US-33 for about 7 miles until you reach the exit for OH-56.
3. Take the exit toward Laurelville/New Plymouth and merge onto OH-56 East.
4. Stay on OH-56 East for approximately 12 miles until you reach the town of New Plymouth.
5. In New Plymouth, turn left onto OH-328 East/Main Street.
6. Follow OH-328 East for about 3.5 miles.

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Ohio State Parks