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Ohio Backpacking comes in two styles: the hillier east and the generally flatland west, for the North Country Trail hiker.
Here are some facts about the North Country Trail - 4,600 miles when complete, it is the longest National Scenic Trail in the United States. The National Park Service administers the NCT. Already has more trail completed than the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is long, it was created by Congress in 1980 and passes through twelve National Forests. Valued at 1.5 million dollars, in 2010, a fourteen percent increase over 2009, volunteers contributed almost 70,000 hours toward maintaining and building the Trail and telling its story!
In the Little Beaver Creek Watershed, the NCT enters the State of Ohio from Pennsylvania SGL 285. The NCT finds itself in the Beaver Creek State Park along the abandoned Beaver Canal Towpath with historic lock structures visible today, from walking the road, to an abandoned rail grade in Beaver Creek State Forest. An early settlement in Ohio, the trail passes through the town of Lisbon. The trail more or less follows the path of the Beaver and Sandy Canal Systems through Columbiana, Carroll, Stark and Tuscarawas Counties. Just outside the historic Village of Zoar, the NCT joins with the Buckeye Trail.
The two trails converge on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath across the Tuscarawas River, just pass the village.
Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath
Before the NCT departs the BT to head for southern Michigan, the trail heads south, following the path of the Buckeye Trail for more than 800 miles, taking in eastern, southern, and western Ohio. The trail heads south through the Muskingum River Watershed in eastern Ohio. Featuring lakeshore vistas of the forested hills of the Appalachian Plateau, are Wolf Run Lakes, Senecaville, Salt Fork, Piedmont, Clendening, Tappan and Leesville.
The NCT heads south and east through the Marietta Unit of the rugged Wayne National Forest and down to historic Marietta at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, a section of the BT in southeast Ohio. The gateway to the Northwest Territory, Marietta is Ohio's first settlement. In Stockport, Ohio on the Muskingum River, the trail turns northwest to finish out the section.
The trail continues through Ohio's hill country, the Village of Chesterhill, a point on the Underground Railroad, Burr Oak State Park, the Athens Unit of the Wayne National Forest, and the Village of Shawnee, from Stockport to Logan, on the Hocking River. This area is known for the continuing restoration efforts underway and its coal mining heritage.
Burr Oak State Park
One of the most visited and most incredible places in Ohio, from Logan, to Tar Hollow State Forest, the trail passes through the Hocking Hills Region. A good reason to explore the trail, awe inspiring hemlock forests, waterfalls, caves, and sandstone cliffs, create habitat for unique species of animals and plants.
Stone Bridge In Hocking Hills Region
The trail passes through Scioto Trail, Pike and Shawnee State Forests/State Parks, Ohio Historical Society and private lands, in South central Ohio. Along with natural biodiversity, this region is rich in history.
Scioto Trail State Park
Including the American Discovery Trail, the Ohio to Erie Trail, the Underground Rail Road, the Sea to Sea Route, the Little Miami Scenic Trail, the Little Miami River Water Trail and of course the Buckeye and North Country Trail, the junction of 22,000 miles of Ohio backpacking trails, the trail is mainly on the road between Shawnee State Forest and East Fork State Park eventually arriving in Milford Ohio. The NCT heads north along the Little Miami Scenic Trail to Yellow Springs, Ohio, and a spur that heads south to Eden Park in Cincinnati.
The Ohio To Erie Trail
The North Country Trail's largest Trail town, the trail arrives in Dayton, Ohio on a system of bikepaths and metroparks into downtown and then north to Tipp City, Ohio joining the route of the historic Miami and Erie Canal. The Trail continues to follow the general route of the canal towpath into an area of Ohio once known as the Great Black Swamp that fed Lake Erie, through Troy, Piqua, New Bremen, and other historic canal towns and on to Defiance, Ohio.
The Historic Miami And Erie Canal
Continuing on the towpath, where the NCT and the Buckeye Trail diverge, the Trail passes through Napoleon, Ohio. Administered by the Northwest Ohio Rail Trail Association, the NCT joins up with the Wabash and Cannonball Rail Trail. Before departing north towards the Michigan state line, the NCT short cuts a portion of the rail trail through Maumee State Forest and the unique habitat of Oak Openings Metro park rejoining the Wabash and Cannonball Trail heading west.
Enjoy Ohio backpacking and if you wish to continue on the NCT, go to Best Backpacking in Michigan.
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