“A beautiful rolling lakeside trail along the Buckeye Trail.”
— Steve Creech
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Buckeye Trail weaves through Wolf Run State Park, sandwiched between the impounded Wolf Run Lake and Interstate 77. Its easy access from I-77 makes it a perfect and beautiful mid-drive hike to break up long drives. Doing an out and back is just over 5 miles of pretty, rolling, wooded Ohio singletrack alongside a lake. The Buckeye Trail is marked by light blue rectangular blazes throughout its 1,444 mile loop around the state of Ohio.
You can park at the trailhead off Wolf Run Road. It is a small parking area which also accesses the dam that backs up the waters of Wolf Run Lake. Do not block the gate! If this area is full, you can also park one or two hundred yards east on Wold Run Road at the picnic area and take the grassy trail to this entrance.
Start hiking down the grassy trail to the level crossing atop the dam. This first view of the lake is especially beautiful in the mornings when fog is often rolling atop the lake. Cross the dam and turn right, staying alongside the lake. As you near the woods, the trail will appear as well as a blue blaze or two. The trail continues along on the west side of the lake and does not have any trail intersections.
The trail can be slightly challenging to see in the fall with all the leaves, but the rest of the year is fairly clear. When in doubt, look for the blue blazes; they tend to be placed right where you might need them, including at tributary crossings. There is one surprisingly bouncy wooden bridge which can be quite slick if at all wet; take it slow when hiking northbound as it forms a turn when going in that direction. The trail continues along and eventually reaches an open youth group camping area. This is the end of the singletrack and roughly the northern boundary of Wolf Run State Park, though you could continue following along the TR 115 gravel road to the north which is the continuation of the Buckeye Trail.
Be sure to take care of the trail and the park, and leave it better than you found it.