Trail Mix

Southeast Ohio Offers Variety of Autumn Hiking Options

Autumn doesn’t just signal the much-awaited return of football. It’s also a sort of unofficial preseason for Ohio’s unbeatable fall hiking. Before the temperatures drop and the leaf peepers come out to play in the fall foliage, here is some “trail mix” to enjoy that illustrates why Guernsey County, Ohio, is the perfect place to take a hike.

As Ohio’s largest state park, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of activities and amenities within Salt Fork’s more than 17,000 breathtaking acres to delight the whole family: fishing, swimming, golfing, horseback riding, and more. And, of course, there’s hiking – miles and miles of gorgeous Eastern Ohio flora and fauna. The park offers 15 official trails, ranging from easy trails and cave routes less than half a mile long to a 6.86-mile section of the Buckeye Trail (part of an ambling 1440-mile loop around the state). A new family-friendly Storybook Trail was added late last year near the campground, creating a unique opportunity to improve childhood literacy and develop an early love of the outdoors. The new trail, beloved by the young and young at heart, features the picture book “Wonder Walkers” by Micha Archer and follows two young explorers who venture outdoors.

The next stop on your outdoor adventure should be Seneca Lake Park. Seneca Lake Park offers several miles of natural surface hiking and biking trails throughout the woods surrounding the park’s large and beautiful lake. Seneca Lake Park’s website advises hikers, “Most trails are very challenging with unpredictable trail conditions, so please use caution and be prepared with proper footwear.” Popular routes include the Beech Tree Ridge Trail, Schoolhouse Trail, Cemetery Trail, and last but not least, the aptly named Lakeside Trail.

The Buckeye Trail also crosses Seneca Lake property and can be accessed from the Cemetery or Beech Tree Ridge Trails.

If you want a unique hike, visit The Butterfly Habitat at The Wilds. This walking trail winds through a 10-acre area of prairie, wetland, and woodland planted with flowering plants selected especially to encourage butterflies to flourish.

Located just across from The Wilds’ main parking lot along International Rd., the Butterfly Habitat is a great addition to your experience at The Wilds, either before or after your safari tour. The Butterfly Habitat is available to visitors during regular hours at no additional charge (a $7/vehicle parking fee still applies).

Finally, you can’t stop in Guernsey County without enjoying the Great Guernsey Trail. The trail offers a 14-mile round-trip biking, running, or walking trail along a paved, low-grade path. Coal Ridge Park and Trails, a new addition to the Great Guernsey Trail, consists of several walking trails that cross woods and open areas and include a lake that allows non-motorized boating, camping, and fishing.

There are two trailheads. One is at 35000 Corduroy Road in Cambridge, and the other is at 204 Main Street in Lore City. Both entrances offer restrooms and dog parks. Designated as a National Recreation Trail (NRT) in 2020, the Great Guernsey Trail is now part of the national database of NRT trails and is one of only 24 trails in Ohio with this distinction.

Make sure your next trail leads you to Guernsey County, Ohio. For local and seasonal happenings and highlights to round out your next hike, see .

For more information, contact the Cambridge/Guernsey County VCB office at 627 Wheeling Avenue, Suite 200 in downtown Cambridge, call 740-432-2022, email, or visit

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