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Ride Ohio’s Wayne National Forest

Ohio offers some great off-road riding with 145 miles of trails in the Wayne National Forest near Nelsonville in the southeastern part of the state.

The Wayne National Forest is more than just one area. There are three separate riding areas. Monday Creek is the closest to the Columbus metro area, while the Pine Creek and Hanging Rock OHV trail systems are farther south near the Ohio River.

Monday Creek has 75 miles of designated trails, with something for everyone. Several of the trails that are marked “less difficult” are wide, generally smooth and suitable for even beginning riders.

The trails that marked “more difficult” or “most difficult” feature twisty trails and challenging hill climbs strewn with large rocks and slippery tree roots that will catch you off guard, if you aren’t paying attention.

The Pine Creek OHV system has about 20 miles of trails, while Hanging Rock has 26 miles. The Hanging Rock trails wind through an area that was strip-mined in the 1960s and 1970s, which means there are some challenging trails up and down steep slopes.

Wayne National Forest trail passes are $20 for three days or $35 for the season. There are no single-day passes. All operators and passengers 16 and older must have their own pass. You must have a driver’s license to operate an OHV. The riding season is April 15 to Dec. 15. You can buy your trail pass and get good maps at many gas stations in Nelsonville.

Ohio residents are required to title and register their off-highway vehicles. If your machine is registered in your home state you are good to go. If not, you can buy a temporary APV (all-purpose vehicle) at a state of Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles office.

Directions: There are eight trailheads to the Monday Creek OHV trail system: Highway 595, 2 miles south of New Straitsville to one trailhead, follow signs off Highway 33, approximately 2 miles south of intersection of Hwy 595 and Highway 33 to five trailheads, on County Road 24 between Carbon Hill and Buchtel to another trailhead, and off Highway 78, north of Buchtel, south of Murray City to yet another trailhead.

Contact: Wayne National Forest Athens Ranger District, 13700 US Highway 33, Nelsonville, Ohio 45764. Phone: (740) 753-0101. Website: www.waynenationalforest.com