Appropriately, this remote summit trailhead shares parking with the long forgotten cemetery named St. Patricks -- its guaranteed youll feel like celebrating (though don t expect a parade) if you complete this rugged 9.5 mile loop. During a scouting of this sector of the Wayne National Forest (WNF), I wandered into this remarkable trail network with my mountain bike in tow. Although this route was clearly a hikers delight, the waning sun dictated a quick mounted loop. While the singletrack hillside traverses were exhilarating, the near vertical slope of the eight-plus ascents and descends over 250 feet in height humbled my mountain biking ego.
The Archers Fork Trail was designed for wilderness enthusiasts who believe switch-backs are for wimps (I actually held this belief until very recently). The route passes through the most tempestuous and desolate section of the WNF and provides a variety of sights and side trails about Irish and Jackson Runs. While the main route is a loop trail, the blue diamond-blazed North Country Trail (NCT) does bisect and follow half the circumference. In addition, both the Covered Bridge Trail and the Ohio View Trail emanate like rays from the loop vectoring north to the bridges and south to the Ohio River, respectively.
To reach the trailhead from Marietta, proceed northeast on SR 26 for roughly 25 miles. In Bloomfield, head east on SR 260. After about 2 miles, take a right on TR 34. Follow for 3 miles to North Country Trail parking on left.