Lake Vesuvius Backpacking Trail

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Plumb a line from Columbus, down past the farmland of Circleville and Chillicothe, and eventually it’ll drop into a remote section of Wayne National Forest bunched over hilly pockets just miles above the Ohio River.

Deep within this land of one-pump filling stations and forgotten forest roads lie the muddy fingers of Lake Vesuvius. And deep within these hidden corners sits one of Ohio’s least-used backpacking trails, a winding earthen sliver draped like a garland through the endless foothills.

Navigating overnight trails can be confusing, so try this: Start from the trailhead at the southwest boat launch, hike clockwise 10 miles to the spacious Paddle Creek campsite and save the final six miles for an easier second day.

If you’ve already conquered courses at Zaleski State Forest and Wildcat Hollow, hit the 16.2-mile Vesuvius loop on your next free weekend. Grab this awesome topo trail guide and heed the tips below.