Hiking The Zaleski Backpack Trail
The 2nd most popular hiking trail in Ohio.
Sunday 14 August 2016 01:56 GMT
Within the 26,300 acre Zaleski State Forest is the 22 mile long Zaleski Backpack Trail. It runs through old Adena Indian villages; the Adena were known as mound builders from 800 BC to 700 AD. The hiking is gentle and through an area of ghost towns and abandoned farms. The trail follows old railroad grades, logging roads and old township roads. The main trail is marked with orange blazes, side trails with white blazes. From the trail head at Lake Hope, the path leads east along a ridge for about 2 miles to the first designated campsite. From the campground, it heads south on a road that was, until 1870, the main route from Marietta to Chillicothe. The trail turns sharply north, then to the head of Bass Hollow and follows it downhill to a creek called Hewett Fork. The point where the trial reaches a railroad track was the site of an iron mining town called Ingham Station a century ago. An old cellar hole by the trail is one of the few existing remnants of civilization. The entrance to the old Ingham Mine is farther up the trail and to the left.
The path heads uphill and turns northwest to the site of a ceremonial ring used by the mound-building Indians of the Adena group active in southern Ohio between 800 B.C. and 700 A.D. You are again following the old Marietta-Chillicothe Road at this point. The chips of black flint in the road surface are said to have been the third most important flint to the Indians of Ohio in prehistoric times.
After the trail crosses King Hollow Road, it turns west again to intersect a shortcut trail leading west along the north slope of a hill above Harbargar Hollow back to the trail's beginning point at Lake Hope.
A parking area is available at the north end of Lake Hope on State Route 278.
Overall, Zaleski Backpack Trail is the 2nd most popular hiking trail of all 24 hikes in Ohio.