A rugged loop on some of the more difficult terrain to be found at Tar Hollow State Park.
Don't pack a ton of water on this one; bring some, but there are plenty of places to filter along the western half of the trail. Water is also available on the northeastern third of the trail as it passed through Tar Hollow State Park campground. The only really dry portions of the trail are on the southeast leg of the loop.
If you like PUDs (pointless ups and downs) you'll love the eastern half of the loop, while the western half is all about climbing up to ridgeline or descending to hike next to the stream.
This hike encompasses the northern loop of the Logan Trail
. The jagged figure-8 Logan Trail
is marked with red blazes throughout—the blazes are not standard 2x4 in. rectangular blazes following AT and BT blaze convention, but instead are red dots or arrows where the trail quickly turns.
At Brush Ridge Fire Tower the North Loop, South Loop, and Buckeye Trail
meet, The fire tower is one of three trailheads. Backpackers can camp at the fire tower but a reservation at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry is required. The fire tower sites have pit toilets and tent pads downhill from the privy area. There is no water at these sites. The second trailhead (for multi-day backpackers) can be found below the Pine Lake Dam, and the third trailhead, for campers at the Tar Hollow State Park Campground, is located directly behind campsite #53 on Logan Hollow Road.
To follow this as mapped, start from the parking area off Tar Hallow Rd. and follow the trail north up past the Tar Hollow State Park campground. Continue on the trail as it winds through Logan Hollow along the stream bed before climbing out of the hollow and emerging on North Ridge Road.
While not well-marked, the trail continues slightly to your left on the other side of the road, expect to pass through about 100 yards of regrowth forest before the trail dumps you out on a bulldozer track running along the ridge. The trail continues to the left. From this point forward along the western half of the loop, the trail is no longer singletrack but has been bulldozed.
The trail will dive to the left down a hollow, following a stream to the right while slowly working south along the side of the hill. After crossing Tar Hollow Road and then the stream next to it (this part was not well marked) take the trail which bears slightly right and uphill, and prepare yourself for an epic climb followed by some ridge hiking and an epic descent. Unfortunately, this descent is a mess. It heads along a highly eroded dozer track straight downhill, so plan accordingly.
Once at the bottom enjoy hiking alongside, through, and crossing (multiple times) a stream (great time to filter water) before climbing back up out of the hollow to the fire tower and better yet a return to singletrack trail. From this point forward the trail is pretty easy to follow. Continue east on Logan Trail
until it drops you back at the parking lot.
Tar Hollow is one of the few places in Ohio where you can still find Timber Rattlesnakes. Also, I recommend long pants, as stinging nettles were out in force along stream beds. Unfortunately, the ever preset compliment of ticks were also out in force.