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Zaleski State Forest

October 2, 2020 -- Zaleski Bridle Trail Closure: The yellow bridle trail at Zaleski State Forest is currently closed for timber management activities. See map [pdf].

The 27,822-acre Zaleski State Forest is the second largest forest in Ohio's system of state forests. 

Zaleski State Forest operates the only state-owned sawmill in Ohio. The mill produces rough sawn lumber for use by Ohio’s state forests and state parks as well as other government agencies.

Historic Moonville Tunnel is located within Zaleski State Forest on the Moonville Rail Trail right-of-way.

Overview

Unique Features

  • Backpack Trail – 29 miles
  • Shooting Range – paper target only. 50 yard and 75 yard range
  • Sawmill
  • Grouse management area
  • Turkey management area
  • Forest of Honor
  • Moonville Tunnel

Favorite Things to Do or See

  • Backpacking
  • Bridle Trails
  • Moonville Tunnel
  • Lookout Rock
  • Fire Tower

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the forest open for public access hunting? Yes.

Activities

Backpacking

The Zaleski State Forest Backpack Trail was established on the forest to provide backpacking opportunities as well as to introduce some educational, scenic, and historic aspects of the forest. The main trail is a loop of 23.5 miles. There is also a 10-mile day loop trail. A trailhead at Hope Schoolhouse was added in 2016 with a 2-mile connector to the main trail. It offers easy access to the Moonville Rail Trail. 

Bridle Trails & Horse Camp

There are 30 miles of bridle trails and a horse camp that offers 16 sites, latrines, picnic tables, fire rings, and hitching posts. The horse camp is located on Crow Road. Sites are available on a first-come, first- served basis. The camp is open year-round. Campers must register on-site.

Shooting Range

The shooting range is located on State Route 278, just north of the forest headquarters. There are six 50-yard and four 75-yard shooting lanes with benches. Hours of operation are 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset. Only paper targets are permitted.

Hunting & Hunters Camp

The 1,100-acre Grouse Management Area is managed sustainably to optimize habitat conducive to Ruffed Grouse reproduction.

The Turkey Management Area covers more than 4,000 acres of the forest and is managed to create favorable conditions for wild turkey reproduction.

These areas are managed under cooperative agreements the Division of Forestry has with the Division of Wildlife and the Ruffed Grouse Society. Both areas are open to hunting in season.

The Atkinson Ridge Hunters camp is located on the north end of the Grouse Management Area on Township Road 5 at the fire tower. The campground offers latrines, picnic tables and fire rings. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Hunters Camp is operational one day before the start of squirrel season until one day after the close of grouse season. It is operational again 14 days before the start of spring wild turkey season and closes the day after the season ends.

Rules

General Forest Rules

  • Zaleski State Forest is open to visitors between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily. Legal campers, if applicable, 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
  • Horses may be ridden along forest roads or on designated bridle trails.
  • Fires are not permitted expect 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
  • Camping is also permitted at the Hunters camp. The Hunters camp is operational one day before the start of squirrel season until one day after the close of grouse season. It is operational again 14 days before the start of wild turkey season and closes the day after the season ends.
  • Hunting and fishing is 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

Target 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 operation are 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 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 without written permission from the Chief or the Chief's 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 the Chief's 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 the Chief's 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 (pistol range and rifle range). 

Contact

Courtney Cawood, Forest Manager: (740) 596-5781

Division of Forestry Main Office: 1-877-247-8733, forestry.comments@dnr.state.oh.us

Administrative Office:
Zaleski State Forest
P.O. Box 330 / State Route 278
Zaleski, OH 45698
 

Emergencies

Call: 911

Phone Number

(740) 596-5781

Non-Emergency

#ODNR

Natural Features

    Available Trails

      Activities