State Forest General Visitation Policy
State Forests are open to visitors daily between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. (except for Hocking State Forest and the all-purpose vehicle areas which are closed one-half hour after sunset until one-half hour before sunrise). Persons engaged in legal activities, such as camping, hunting, and by special permit may be present in authorized areas during other hours. Recreational activities, including motorized vehicles, are generally restricted to areas designated and provided for their use. Hiking is permitted on bridle trails.
Horse Camps and Bridle Trails
The Ohio Division of Forestry offers an array of bridle trails suitable for novice, as well as more experienced riders. Riders will enjoy the beauty of the forest as they ride past scenic vistas and through cool hemlock hollows. Horse Camps offer latrines, water for horses (at some locations) and horse ties.
Please click here for a listing of bridle trails and horse camps.
Camping (no fee) is permitted only in areas provided for such use. Family campgrounds are available at Fernwood and Harrison State Forests. Primitive horse camps are located at Hocking, Zaleski, Tar Hollow, Shawnee, and Harrison State Forests. Remote Park and Pack campsites for the novice backpacker are available on a permit basis (self-registration) in Mohican-Memorial State Forest. Both Shawnee and Zaleski State Forests provide primitive camp sites for backpackers along their backpack trails. Some forests permit camping in self-contained vehicles at various locations during certain established hunting seasons.
Two backpack trails are available. The 60-mile Shawnee State Forest backpack trail crosses rugged terrain requiring moderate skill and endurance. The 23-mile Zaleski State Forest backpack trail provides a shorter and generally less strenuous hike. Self-registration permits (no fee) are available at each respective trailhead. There is no restriction on group size, and reservations are not required nor accepted. Latrines, primitive camping, and water (weather permitting) are provided at various locations indicated on trail maps.
All Purpose Vehicles
Four all-purpose vehicle (APV) areas are provided at Maumee, Pike, Perry, and Richland Furnace State Forests.
Vehicles are limited to 50 inches width or less. Except within the Perry APV Area, riding is restricted to designated trails. APV areas and trails at Pike, Richland Furnace and Perry State Forests are closed seasonally from December 1 through March 31, unless otherwise approved.
When conditions permit, snowmobiles are permitted on designated trails in the Maumee APV Area and the Mohican-Memorial State Forest. All vehicles must display a valid highway or APV license obtained through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Operators must wear helmets and eye protection and be properly licensed. Minors under the age of sixteen may operate an APV so long as they are accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian who is eighteen years of age or older.
Link to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles for Titling and Registration information
Hunting and Fishing
Hunting is permitted on most State Forest lands as regulated by Division of Wildlife. Fishing opportunities exist on numerous ponds and lakes located within the state forests. Shooting ranges at Fernwood, Harrison and Zaleski State Forests are open on first-come first-served basis. Target shooting is prohibited except on designated ranges.
Mountain bike riding is restricted to roads open to normal motorized traffic. In addition, mountain bikes are permitted on bridle trails at Scioto Trail State Forest and to a limited number of bridle trails at Mohican-Memorial State Forest. Mountain bikes are also permitted in each of the State Forest APV areas.
Special Events and Public Meetings
Special events or public meetings held on a state forest often require the waiver of specific rules. To acquire a Special Use Permit (pdf) and hold a special event or secure the waiver of state forest rules, please printout the application, complete it, and mail the signed form to the appropriate state forest. Some events or activities require a fee or security deposit.
Geocaches on State Forest Lands
A policy and procedure governing the placement, use, and tracking of Geocaches within Ohio's State Forest system. Click here.