Shawnee State Park

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Shawnee State Forest is a mecca for Ohio backpackers -- the terrain you work toward after hiking your favorite backyard stomps and local metro parks for years.

In these 64,000 acres of steep, tree-covered hills lies a grueling 40-mile loop where through-hikers train for the Appalachian Trail. Others with less time simply go to burn their quads in one of the most remote sections of Ohio.

To see if you’re ready for true backcountry, try the 7.2-mile day hike that starts in Shawnee State Park, a smaller enclave that lies inside the sprawling state forest. Like a spunky little sister trying to prove herself, this section offers much of what you’ll find on the bigger loop, just in a slightly toned-down version.

Shawnee State Park 4404 State Rt. 125, Portsmouth 740-858-6652 [Park homepage] [Backpack map]

Here's a visual tour through the Shawnee Forest Day Hike Trail.