Hiking Project Logo

blue Zaleski Backpack Trail South Loop

  4.3 ( 41 ) Favorite

Navigate on-trail with our free app

iOS App Store Android App Store


10.3 mile 16.6 kilometer loop


Ascent: 955' 291 m
Descent: -956' -291 m
High: 1,014' 309 m
Low: 715' 218 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Ryan P

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

Ryan P

Features Fall Colors · Wildflowers · Wildlife · Commonly Backpacked

Family Friendly Can be an easy overnight trip for young backpackers!


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.


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.


Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In


Mar 8, 2019
Al Fahimi
Nov 5, 2018
Kris Pyle
Few wet/muddy areas. Also a lot of blow down. Nothing that can’t be easily climbed over or walked around, just more than I have seen in past years. 13mi
Sep 30, 2018
Connie Spurlock
Sep 1, 2018
Stephanie Lambert
Aug 12, 2018
Brian Struchen
Aug 4, 2018
Suraj Reddy Janampally
Trail has some snakes.it is well marked with orange marks on trees and posts. It is a very good backpacking trip for beginners and experts. Very hilly 11mi
Jul 17, 2018
Matthew Guzek
Jul 13, 2018
Dale Tompkins

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 41 votes


  4.3 from 41 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star


in Ohio


298 Views Last Month
9,100 Since May 20, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate

Wifey and I used to hike this trail on reg basis and we stopped for awhile during the logging disaster . Wondering if the trail North of King Road has been re established. Jan 16, 2018

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking