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Summer Vacation Idea: Visit Wayne National Forest in Ohio

Summer is a perfect time to go on a much-needed break, especially when many feel cooped up after staying at home for so long. A survey published in Travel Agent Central, in fact, revealed that 50 percent of Americans have plans to travel from July through September.

You can a lot of leisure activities in summer. You could, for instance, hit the road, surf the waves at an awesome beach, fly to a country that’s accepting tourists and hang out with friends.

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, consider taking a nature vacation by heading to a park, a forest or a public green space. One of the attractions that you should check out when you’re in the United States is Wayne National Forest.

Wayne National Forest: An Overview

Situated in Ohio, Wayne National Forest is a national forest that spans more than 160,000 acres. It’s the ideal spot for nature lovers, adventurers, backpackers and campers to visit. You can find this area tucked away in the Appalachian foothills and is home to abundant wildlife, meadows of beautiful wildflowers and trickling streams.

Whether you’re looking to work out your body this summer or enjoy a peaceful retreat, a trip to Wayne National Forest is an awesome way to spend your vacation.

How to Get to Wayne National Forest

Coming from Cleveland? Take the I-77 to get to Wayne National Forest. Source: Pinterest

If you’re coming from states that are far away from Ohio, such as California and Florida, you could fly to these airports to get to Wayne National Forest:

  • Pittsburgh International Airport (travel via I-77 south and I-70 west approximately 75 miles to the eastern forest cluster)
  • Charleston Yeager Airport (45 miles to the southern forest cluster)
  • Port Columbus International Airport (about 45 miles to the northwestern forest cluster)

If you’re in Cleveland, you could take the I-77 to Marietta. This will give you convenient access to the national forest areas.

Whether you’re coming from Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati or Columbus, you can feel confident knowing that you can get to Wayne National Forest no more than a day’s drive.

What to Do in Wayne National Forest

Wayne National Forest has areas that are perfect for canoeing and fishing. Source: Pinterest

Tourists have plenty of things they can do while they’re at Wayne National Forest. Here are a few activities that might interest you:


Wayne National Forest has three rivers that are ideal for canoeing. These are Symmes Creek on the Ironton District, the Hocking River on the Athens unit and the Little Muskingum River on the Marietta unit. All three offer a tranquil float and provide access points to public land.


Wayne National Forest has plenty of trails that are perfect for nature lovers and adventurers. The forest, in fact, has 300 miles of trails open to backpacking.

This natural attraction has options for different types of hikers. Whether you’re aiming for multi-day expeditions or a quick few miles, you’ll enjoy hiking at Wayne National Forest.


This natural attraction provides a spectrum of camping experiences. You can opt to stay at full-service developed campgrounds or immerse yourself in nature by taking advantage of remote backpack camping options.


Looking for an excellent spot to cast a line? Wayne National Forest has great areas for fishing. This place has estuary fishing that’s open to the public from April to October. Anglers will surely enjoy stream, river, pond and lake fishing.

ATV Riding

If you have a bit more in your travel fund, you can rent and ride an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in Wayne National Forest. You can rent an ATV from R Adventure Park. Here, you’ll come across a range of quads that are for everyone, from newbies to pros.

Horseback Riding

Have a great equestrian adventure through Wayne National Forest by riding a horse. You can explore on saddleback by taking the Vesuvius Horse Trail or the Kinderhook Horse Trail. You’ll traverse lush forests, dense brushland and open fields — all while winding through the gorgeous hills.


Wayne National Forest has more than 200 miles of scenic bike trails. You can do mountain biking in several areas, including the Scenic River Trail, North Country Trail, Monday Creek Trail System and Hanging Rock Trail System. Keep in mind, however, that you need a trail permit for off-road biking.

The Best Backpacking Trails in Wayne National Forest

Given that there are so many backpacking trails for Wayne National Forest, which one should you take?

Here are a few popular trails that you can try:

Archers Fork Trail

This 20.8-kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail can offer beautiful hikes. Although the trail rating is difficult, it gives hikers and backpackers the opportunity to see wildlife. This trail has yellow diamond blazes to help prevent you from losing your way.

Kinderhook Trail

This moderately difficult trail is an 8.9-kilometer loop trail in Wayne National Forest situated close to Newport, Ohio. This trail provides many activity options and features beautiful wildflowers.

Wayne National Forest Scenic River Loop

Are you a beginner? Consider taking this 15.8-kilometer loop trail. It features a river and has an easy trail rating. If you’re going on a simple nature, walking or hiking trip, this option is for you.

Wayne National Forest offers a rich diversity of attractions. If you’ve got nothing better to do this summer, head over to Ohio and enjoy exploring this great, national forest.

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