Wayne National Forest


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Location: Headquarters: 13700 US Hwy 33, Nelsonville

Phone: 740-753-0101

This serene beauty includes covered bridges, rock shelters, springs, and rugged hills covered with hardwood and pine, as well as trails for hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and ATV riders.

With over 300 miles of trails — 120 of which are all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-highway motorcycle (OHM) trails, 80 miles of horse trails, and 210 miles of trails available to mountain bikers — visitors are sure to have a great outdoor experience. All trail riders 16 years old and older must purchase a Wayne National Forest permit to use the trails.

Backpacking or cross country hiking is permitted anywhere on National Forest (NF) lands. Take extra precautions during hunting seasons by wearing bright orange clothing. It is also a good idea to carry a compass. Forest streams do not meet the safety standards for drinking water. We recommend taking your water with you. NF ownership is not continuous, and private lands are interspersed. Respect the rights of these owners by staying on public lands.

Keep away from oil/gas operations–they are private property and potentially dangerous. Pumpjacks may begin to operate without warning and any open flame, firearm discharge, or spark could cause an explosion.

Rutherford Wetland
This 20-acre wetland is located in the Athens Ranger District, just west of the community of Carbon Hill in eastern Hocking County, Ohio. Its half-mile accessible foot trail and density of native Ohio plants make it an excellent location for wildlife viewing. The trail was developed in collaboration with Wayne National Forest partners and the local community and is named in honor of local conservationist and writer Ora E. Anderson. The project includes interpretive panels featuring some of the poems from Anderson with illustrations by local artist, Barbara Sheriff Kostohyrz. For a brochure of the trail click here.

Primitive Camping
Primitive Camping is allowed on NF land away from developed campgrounds and anywhere that your camping equipment and/or vehicle do not block developed trails or road right-of-ways. There are also designated Special Areas in which camping is NOT allowed. Plan to bring enough drinking water for the duration of your stay. Leave a clean campsite by packing out all refuse. There is no charge for primitive camping, although a 14 day limitation is in effect. It is not normally necessary to check in with the Forest Service; however, groups of more than 25 people require a permit, and prior coordination is required.

Campground Reservations
Reservations are not required for developed campsites. However, to be assured a campsite, especially on holiday weekends, you may wish to make a reservation. To reserve a campsite at the Vesuvius or Leith Run Recreation Areas, call the National Reservation System at 1-877-444-6777. Hearing impaired persons should call 1-877-833-6777.

Personal property should not be left unattended for more than 24 hours, and campsites should be occupied the first night.

Other campgrounds with direct access to the trails include Camp Ohio, 740-753-2303, Camp Williams, 740-753-3611 and Begley’s Campground, 740-394-2539.

Hunting, Trapping and Fishing
State laws on hunting, trapping, and fishing are enforced on NF lands, requiring either resident or non-resident license. Generally hunting is allowed anywhere on NF land. An exception is recreation areas with designated boundaries. In all areas with scattered ownership please have a detailed map and do not trespass on adjacent private land.

Discharging a firearm (including a bow and arrow) is prohibited in or within 150 yards of a developed recreation site, trail head, residence, or any place where people are likely to be. Shooting across roads or bodies of water is also prohibited. State Law prohibits target practicing on all public lands (including the Wayne National Forest), except when legally pursuing game.

Recreation Fee Waiver Dates

Saturday, June 11, in observance of National Get Outdoors Day. Applies to all non-National Recreation Reservation System recreation sites & to all trails.

Saturday, Sept. 24, in observance of National Public Lands Day. Applies to all non-National Recreation Reservation System recreation sites & to all trails.

Friday, Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 12, in observance of Veterans Day. Applies to trails only.

The fee waiver does not include Leith Run Campground and its group picnic shelters, Oak Hill Campground, Iron Ridge Campground, Two Points Group Campground and Picnic Shelter, and Lake Vesuvius’ Roadside and Furnace Group Picnic Shelters.

The Wayne National Forest offers over 400 miles of multiple-use trails, which include horse, all-terrain vehicle (ATV), off-highway motorcycle (OHM), mountain bike, and hiking trails.  Trail permits are required to ride ATV, OHM, mountain bike, and horse trails during the open season (April 15 through December 15), with exception of designated fee waiver days.  Trail permits go on sale beginning Wednesday, April 1st.

Get There!

From Athens, take 33 West toward Nelsonville. The Wayne National Headquarters will be on your right just a few miles after you pass The Plains.

From Nelsonville and Columbus, take 33 East toward Athens. The Wayne National Headquarters will be on your left just a few miles after you leave Nelsonville.

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