Ohio and Kentucky
Byron M. Guy
General Overview of Trail
In 1803, Ohio was the first state to be carved out of the Northwest Territory. The Europeans who settled this region found hardwood forests that covered 95 percent of the land. Much of southern Ohio through which the ADT runs is still heavily wooded. The Appalachian Plateau in eastern Ohio has narrow valleys, steep hills, and many caves. The American Discovery Trail follows the Buckeye Trail for most of its route through Ohio from Chester Hill to Eden Park in Cincinnati. The 1,445-mile Buckeye Trail is unique among trails because it is the only trail that completely circles the state through which it runs. The route uses the least traveled public roads possible to connect offroad sections. The trail is marked with blue blazes for the Buckeye Trail section and ADT markers for connections to West Virginia and Indiana.
Detailed Trail Description
The ADT route in Ohio is 524 miles long, on trails through public lands and private lands with landowner permission. There are 11 sections:
Belpre (WVA border) to Chesterhill, OH — 33.4 miles
The ADT crosses the Ohio River using the Parkersburg-Belpre Bridge, passes through Blennerhassett Park, and takes little-used back roads past Veto Lake to Vincent, Layman, and Chester Hill, where it joins the Buckeye Trail.
Chesterhill, OH (begin Buckeye trail) to East Branch Church Road/SR 78 — 15.5 miles
Following paved and gravel roads, the ADT passes through the southern part of Wolf Creek State Wildlife Area. See Stockport Buckeye Trail Map.
East Branch Church Road/SR 78 to Ohio SR 664 — 56.2 miles
The trail goes through Burr Oak State Park to Tom Jenkins Dam and then enters Wayne National Forest, which was named for Revolutionary War hero General Anthony Wayne. The trail traverses Trimble State Wildlife Area and re-enters Wayne National Forest on some of its 200 miles of trails passing Lake Tecumsey south of the town of Shawnee. See Straitsville Buckeye Trail map.
Ohio SR 664 to SR 327 — 42.5 miles
The ADT passes through Webb Summit and enters the region of the Hocking Hills, an area of Black Hand sandstone hills, cliffs, and caves. This area of eroding sandstone was formed during the late Mississippian period when this was the shore of an ancient sea. Passing north of the town of Logan, the ADT connects the Cedar Falls, Old Man’s Cave, and Ash Cave units of Hocking Hills State Park. See Old Man’s Cave Buckeye Trail map.
Ohio SR 327 to Pike Lake State Park — 62.0 miles
The route heads southwest through Tar Hollow State Forest east of Chillicothe, Ohio’s first state capital, and on to Scioto Trail State Park and State Forest; the towns of Alma, Denver, and Nipgen; and Pike Lake State Park and State Forest. See Scioto Trail Buckeye Trail map.
Pike Lake State Park to Beaver Pond Road at entrance to Davis Memorial State Nature Preserve — 52.4 miles
Near Sinking Spring, the ADT follows trails through Fort Hill State Memorial and Nature Preserve, the site of a prehistoric earthwork enclosing 48 acres believed to have been built by the Hopewell Indians. Now heading south, the trail passes through Buckeye Trail property and enters the Serpent Mound Historic Site, the largest and finest serpent effigy in North America, and enters the community of Marble Furnace. Near Marble Furnace, the trail passes historic Wickerham Tavern, which was a stop for runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad.
Davis Memorial Nature Preserve is 88 acres of rugged dolomite cliffs and rock towers northeast of West Union that the ADT passes through before circling near the east side of Mineral Springs Lake. See Sinking Spring Buckeye Trail map
Beaver Pond Road at entrance to Davis Memorial State Nature Preserve to Long Lick & Sunshine Ridge Roads — 44.5 miles
This part of Ohio is known as the “Little Smokies” because of its resemblance to the Great Smokies. The hills are steep, but the scale is smaller. The ADT follows the Buckeye Trail crossing, Shawnee State Forest and Shawnee State Park on rugged footpaths in some of Ohio’s steepest topography. See Shawnee Buckeye Trail map.
Long Lick & Sunshine Ridge Roads to Ohio SR 774 and Oakland-Locust Ridge Road at Grant Lake — 62.9 miles
The trail follows little used roads in a sparsely settled wooded landscape. The ADT passes the Counterfeit House, built in 1840. It overlooked the Ohio River in the distance in times past. Signals were sent to riverboat captains about the availability of counterfeit coins and bills. The house has false rooms, secret closets, and chimneys without fireplaces. The trail continues on rural roads through the villages of Bentonville, Neel, and New Hope, and then fords Sterling Run twice before reaching Grant Lake. See West Union Buckeye Trail map.
Ohio SR 774 and Oakland-Locust Ridge Road at Grant Lake to Eden Park, Cincinnati — 67.1 miles
The ADT goes along Grant Lake near Mount Orab, then over the East Fork of the Little Miami River into Williamsburg. Twenty eight miles of the Buckeye Trail are in East Fork State Park with its 2,160-acre lake. After going through the small town of Batavia, the ADT enters Milford, a suburb of Cincinnati, and the trail takes on a definite urban character after going under I-275. From Milford to Krugerhill, the ADT follows an abandoned railbed along the Little Miami River.
The town of Mariemont is a planned community founded in 1923 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. From the village of Fairfax, the ADT is mostly on sidewalks into Eden Park where it leaves the Buckeye Trail. Eden Park offers splendid views from high above the Ohio River, which allow you to see well into Kentucky. See Williamsburg and Loveland Buckeye Trail map.
Eden Park, Cincinnati to Elizabethtown — 26.7 miles
On sidewalks through Mount Adams, a historic part of Cincinnati, the ADT heads downhill to the Riverwalk on the Bicentennial Commons. The South Western Ohio Trails Association has mounted a bronze plaque at Yeatman’s Cove recognizing that the American Discovery Trail comes through Cincinnati. The ADT passes the famous statue of the Flying Pigs and Riverfront Stadium and crosses the Roebling Suspension Bridge into Covington, Kentucky.
Covington experienced a major influx of German immigrants in the 1840’s and their history and settlement is preserved in an area known as MainStrasse. A steep climb up a set of cement steps takes the ADT to Devou Park where there are outstanding views of Covington and downtown Cincinnati. After crossing the Ohio River (for the third time) on the historic Anderson Ferry, the ADT is back in Ohio. The trail passes the tomb of President William Henry Harrison as it follows close to the Ohio River.
Elizabethtown to Indiana (southern route) — 1.0 mile
Near Elizabethtown the Southern Midwest Route of the ADT enters Indiana on State Line Road.
Elizabethtown to Indiana (northern route) — 58.9 miles
The Northern Midwest Route of the ADT turns north, to Miami Whitewater Forest, passing near Okeana and into Reily. On this route the ADT passes the Governor Bebb Preserve, Bunker Hill Haven for Boys, and Indian Creek Preserve. Oxford is the home of Miami University, founded in 1809. In Hueston Woods State Park the ADT takes the West Shore, Sugar Bush, Big Woods, and Hedge Apple trails. Continuing north the trail is on little-used country roads, going through Fairhaven and over the Harshman Covered Bridge to Concord Church. The Northern Midwest Route of the ADT enters Indiana east of Richmond on Stateline Road.
The most up-to-date, detailed trail directions are published in the ADT Data Books.
- Buckeye Trail
- Burr Oak Loop Trail
- Robert and Mary Lou Paton Trail in Burr Oak State Park
- Grandma Gatewood Trail in Hocking Hills State Park
- Perimeter Trail in East Fork Park
- The Riverwalk in Cincinnati
- Little Miami State Park Trail
- The Shaker Trace in Miami-Whitewater Forest Hamilton County Park
- Hueston Woods State Park Trails
- Hedgeapple Trail
- Big Woods Trail
- Sugar Bush Trail
- West Shore Trail in Hueston Woods State Park
- Wayne National Forest
- Hocking State Forest
- Tar Hollow State Forest
- Scioto Trail State Forest
- Pike State Forest
- Shawnee State Forest
- Burr Oak State Park
- Logan State Park
- Hocking Hills State Park
- Tar Hollow State Park
- Scioto Trail State Park
- Pike Lake State Park
- Fort Hill State Memorial
- Serpent Mound State Memorial
- Davis Memorial
- Shawnee State Park
- Grant Lake
- East Fork State Park
- Little Miami River State Park
- Eden Park
- Bicentennial Common in Cincinnati
- Devou park (Kentucky)
- Harrison’s Tomb
- Miami – Whitewater Forest Hamilton County Park
- Indian Creek Preserve
- Gov. Bebb Butler County Metropark
- Hueston Woods State Park
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Adjoining Trail States: Indiana – West Virginia