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Zaleski Backpack Trail South Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.3 (55) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Escape the Hocking Hills crowds and explore this rare gem in southern Ohio.


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Map Key

10.3

Miles

16.6

KM

Loop

1,014' 309 m

High

715' 218 m

Low

955' 291 m

Up

956' 291 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

14%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

The Zaleski Trail is a great hike or short overnight trip. You'll spend your time navigating the forests of southern Ohio. It can get humid in the summer and water can be found along the route - but pack accordingly! Traffic is low to medium, depending on the time of year.

Need to Know

Water is available at hydrants at the campsites. Most of the surface water is considered contaminated by old mine runoff.

Description

The south loop of the Zaleski Backpacking trail is the shorter of the two loops. It can easily be knocked out in a day or extended to an overnight trip... especially great for families with young backpackers!

Parking for the South Loop of the Zaleski Trail is roughly 50 yards from the trailhead, across from Hope Furnace. If you're spending the night on the trail, parking is now at the Hope Schoolhouse on Wheelabout Road. This adds about one and half miles of out-and-back to the trail each way. Entering the trail, you'll turn left and head into the woods. The Zaleski trail winds through the forest and you'll be under the canopy for a majority of your trip. The trail itself is packed dirt and rock - generally very easy with little to no technical ability required. There are some steeper sections - but they're short and quickly level out. A number of historical markers or areas of geological interest can be found by using the accompanying Zaleski Backpacking Brochure.

Flora & Fauna

Be aware of poisonous snakes in the area.

Contacts

Shared By:

Ryan P

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 55 votes

#162

Overall
  4.3 from 55 votes
5 Star
40%
4 Star
51%
3 Star
9%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Ohio

#162

Overall
173 Views Last Month
14,222 Since May 20, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

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60%
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Photos

South Loop scenery
Mar 31, 2020 near Athens, OH
A rock outcrop stands alongside the Zaleski Backpacking Trail.
Feb 2, 2017 near Athens, OH
Zaleski Backpacking Trail
May 20, 2015 near Athens, OH
Looking across the lake.
Aug 14, 2017 near Athens, OH
A nice overlook along the trail.
Aug 14, 2017 near Athens, OH

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 29 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

May 22, 2021
Dasu Gedela
Oct 10, 2020
Sean Bartholic
Hiked in from the school house to the first camp site (Backpack Camp 1). On the way back we went toward Point Y and the Hope Furnace parking area. 3mi — 1h 45m
Sep 26, 2020
Justina Roberts
6mi
Jul 18, 2020
Cameron Titus
Linked the south and middle loops with Sara. Camped at camp 2.
Jun 7, 2020
Rachel Hansen
13.5mi
May 31, 2020
Adam Peters
Not to crowded, minor trail maintenance issues. 10.3mi — 7h 45m
May 30, 2020
JP Miller
May 29, 2020
JP Miller