The Ohio Buckeye Trail

DISTANCE (round-trip)

1444 mi (2323km)

DIFFICULTY

TIME

70-140 days

ALTERNATIVE TO

North Country Trail

SOLITUDE

The Heartland Trail No One Told You About

Ohio may not be the first area you think about when considering a great backpacking adventure. That's why it makes the perfect place to find a 1,000+ mile trail that sees very little attention.

The Buckeye Trail runs nearly 1,500 miles in a huge loop around the perimeter of the state of Ohio.

During your 100+ day hiking trip, you'll pass through countless small cities, and a few large ones. Places like Cincinnati (Pop: 300K), Akron (Pop: 200K), Cleveland (Pop: 400K), and Dayton (Pop: 150K).

NOTE: This trail can be hiked in a nearly limitless number of variations. Easily choose a hike duration that appeals to you!​

During your trip you'll also pass within miles of some of the sleepiest and most beautiful parts of West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan.​

When to go

In this area the winters are mild and the summers never got too hot. You'd be hard pressed to pick a time of year that's wrong for a visit.

Spring, summer, and fall are moderate. Starting on the southern part of the trail in the spring will allow you to make a northern loop as temperatures warm up.

Know before you go

  • The trail borrows many miles from various companion trails. Navigation can be sporadic.
  • Parts of the trail are remote and rural but the trail delves straight into the concrete jungle from time to time.
  • Despite the metropolitan feel of some areas, proper precautions must be taken. There are still plenty of wild animals that would love to munch on your trail mix.

For more information:

  • The BTA maintains a great digital map here.

Buckeye Trail Map Source: Swallow Bicycle Works

Hocking State Forest Area Source: That Linux Box

About the author

Casey Fiedler

Professional ski instructor and backpacking guide, Casey Fiedler went to school with CWC and NOLS for Outdoor Education and Leadership. Want to read more about what it takes to lead great adventure trips? Casey writes about outdoor education at caseyfiedler.wordpress.com

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