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. Trails are dog friendly but leashes are required.

With over 450 miles of trails — 146 of which are all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-highway motorcycle (OHM) trails, 93 miles of horse trails, and 105 miles of trails available to mountain bikers. Backpacking or cross-country hiking is permitted anywhere on National Forest (NF) lands, but there is approximately 107 miles of exclusive hiking trails. With these many diverse miles of trails, visitors are sure to have a great outdoor experience. All motorized trail riders 16 years old and older must purchase a Wayne National Forest pass to use the trails.  Seasonal or 3-Day trail passes may be purchased online by visiting Recreation.gov.

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. National forest 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.

Primitive Camping
Primitive Camping is allowed on national forest 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 person may stay for 14 days within a 30 period. It is not normally necessary to check in with the Forest Service; however, groups of more than 75 people require a special-use permit, and prior coordination is required.

Campground Reservations
Some campgrounds and group picnic shelters require a reservation.  You may reserve your site at Recreation.gov or by calling 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.

Hunting, Trapping and Fishing
State laws on hunting, trapping, and fishing are enforced on national forest lands, requiring either resident or non-resident license. Generally hunting is allowed anywhere on national forest 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..

Recreation Fee Waiver Dates

The Wayne National Forest announces recreation fee waiver dates during summer and fall of 2019.

  • Saturday, June 8, in observance of National Get Outdoors Day. Applies to all non-National Recreation Reservation System recreation sites & to all trails.
  • Saturday, Sept. 28, in observance of National Public Lands Day. Applies to all non-National Recreation Reservation System recreation sites & to all trails.
  • Saturday, Nov. 9 through Monday, Nov. 11, 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.

Trail passes are not required to ride motorized trails during designated fee waiver days.


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.



Contact Information13700 US Highway 33

Wayne National Forest and Athens Unit Welcome Center

Nelsonville, OH 45764

(740) 753-0101

Hours: 8:00am – 4:30pm

Monday – Friday

For deaf/hearing impaired:


Athens Ranger District – Marietta Unit

27515 State Route 7

Marietta, OH 45750

(740) 373-9055

(740) 753-0101

Hours: 8:00am – 4:30pm

Monday – Friday

Ironton Ranger District

 6518 State Route 93

Pedro, OH 45659

(740) 534-6500

Hours: 8:00am – 4:30pm

Monday – Friday

Wayne_Website:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/wayne