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Fernwood State Forest

Overview

The 3,023-acre Fernwood State Forest in Jefferson County was purchased in 1961. A substantial portion of the land has been strip mined for coal. However, the production of acid mine water is minimal because of the neutralizing effect of limestone deposits.

The majority of unstripped lands are located on ridges or in valleys, and are in forest cover. Subsequent reforestation and installation of recreation facilities, funded through the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 and the Ohio Capital Improvements program, have restored the area to a beautiful, healthy forest, providing visitors with many outdoor recreational opportunities.

Hidden Hollow Campground, with 22 family campsites, is equipped with picnic tables, fire rings and vault latrines. Located just outside the perimeter of the Hidden Hollow Campground is the Fernwood State Forest Land Lab. The land lab is used to promote natural resource and environmental education.

Favorite Things to Do or See

  • Visit the recently renovated shooting ranges at Hidden Hollow.    
  • Camp at the Hidden Hollow Campground    
  • Picnic at our Scenic Vista or Little Round Top Picnic Area.    
  • Hike our scenic 5 miles of hiking trails.     
  • Hunt, or fish one of the many ponds in the forest.     

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is the camping free of charge? Yes.
  • Is Fernwood State Forest open for ATV use? No.
  • Are the shooting ranges free of charge? Yes.
  • Is the forest open for hunting and fishing? Yes.
  • Is Hidden Hollow Campground open for RV use? Yes.

Unique Features

Scenic Vista Overlook, Little Round Top Rock formation.

Forest Rules

  • Fernwood State Forest is open to visitors between 6am and 11pm daily. Legal campers, hunters, and anglers may be present during other times.
  • Operation of motor vehicles is restricted to roads provided for such travel. Speed limit on state forest roads is 30 MPH unless otherwise posted. Vehicles may not be parked where traffic or access to division service roads or trails are obstructed. OAC 1501: 3-4 Motor Vehicles
  • Fires are not permitted except in grills or fire rings provided, or in portable stoves. Fires must be attended to at all times.
  • Trash must be disposed of in receptacles provided.
  • Camping is only permitted on designated areas for such use. OAC 1501:3-3 Camping
  • Hunting and fishing are permitted in most state forests as regulated by the Division of Wildlife. Shooting is prohibited within 400 feet of any building, facility, or recreation area and from or across any road or driveway. Discharge of any firearm is not permitted except during lawful hunting season.
  • Public display or consumption of any alcoholic beverage is prohibited.
  • Disturbance, defacement, or destruction of any property, material, natural feature, or vegetation is prohibited. Berries, nuts, and mushrooms may be gathered and removed except from posted areas.
  • State forest boundaries are indicated with yellow blazes on the trees and/or posted signs.
  • Other general rules for visitation are found at OAC 1501:3-2 Rules for Visitation

Activities

Camping

Hidden Hollow Campground, at the west end of the forest, has 22 family campsites equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, non-potable water, and vault latrines. Campers self-register by filling out a card at the comment box. Law enforcement officers patrol the area and can familiarize visitors with camping regulations. There is no charge for camping.

Fishing

Many ponds are scattered throughout the forest and are stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish.

Hiking

Two short hiking trails, each approximately 0.5 mile in length, are located along the perimeter of the Hidden Hollow Campground. The trails are part of the Fernwood Forest Land Lab, a collaborative effort from the ODNR Division of Forestry, the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Jefferson County Conservation Education Committee to promote natural resource conservation practices and environmental education in the region.

A 3-mile hiking trail loop starting near the forest headquarters offers a variety of scenic and wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as the Little Round Top Picnic Area, where forest users can relax, eat, and enjoy Fernwood’s natural beauty. Two scenic vistas along Township Road 181 east of the Forest Headquarters provide outstanding views of the surrounding countryside. Parking areas are located throughout the state forest.

Hunting

Hunters may pursue white-tailed deer, turkey, and many small game species. Hunting is not permitted within the Hidden Hollow Campground Area or within 400 feet of any other recreation area, building or facility. The No Hunting Zone boundary around the campground is marked with red paint. Firearms may not be discharged from or across any road or driveway.

Target & Trap Shooting Range

Three shooting ranges are located on the west end of the forest. There are separate areas for pistol, rifle, and trap shooting.

Range Rules

  • Designated ranges are open to public use on a first come, first serve basis.
  • All rules of gun safety, firing only downrange toward the backstop and loading weapons only on the range or benches, shall be strictly observed at all times.
  • Hours of use are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Maximum number of shooters permitted at any one time shall be determined by the capacity of the shooting lanes provided.
  • The range may be closed for maintenance or other reasons at any time as determined by the chief or his authorized agent.
  • No persons shall use targets made of material other than paper or clay, without written permission from the chief or his authorized agent.
  • Persons using ranges are responsible for removal of debris from the range, which includes but is not limited to, paper and cardboard targets, target stand brought by the shooter, shell casings, and litter which was generated by the shooter’s activity. Excepting ranges which provide receptacles for debris disposal, shooters must remove all debris from state forest property upon completion of their activity.
  • Persons shall use or fire on ranges only those weapons permitted for legal hunting in Ohio as defined by statute, rule or order of the Division of Wildlife or as approved by the chief or his authorized agent.
  • No person shall use or fire centerfire rifles on ranges of fifty yards or less in length.
  • No person shall use or fire automatic weapons of any kind on a range without written permission from the chief or his designated agent.
  • All tracer and explosive rounds are prohibited.
  • All shooters must wear eye and ear protection.
  • Shooters may use only ranges designated for their specific type of shooting activity (trap range, pistol range, and rifle range).
  • The use of shotgun slugs is prohibited at trap ranges.

Contact

Forest Manager: William McCormick, (740) 266-6021

Administrative Office:
Fernwood State Forest
11 Township Road 181
Bloomingdale, OH 43910

Columbus Headquarters: (877) 247-8733, forestry.comments@dnr.ohio.gov

Emergencies

Call: 911

Phone Number

(740) 266-6021

Non-Emergency

#ODNR

Available Trails

    Activities