Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley Nation Park is a short trek from the cities of Cleveland and Akron. In 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught fire for 24 minutes, and that source of environmental shame helped to spark the movement for the first Earth Day. Now the river is making a comeback, and it acts as a symbol for how people can help to heal a damaged environment. The park offers a primitive campsite for hikers and cyclists traveling the towpath trail. The Earth Caching program utilizes portable GPS devices to lead visitors on a guided tour of the parks treasures. Wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the parks 194 bird species, 42 mammal species, 43 fish species and 42 species of reptiles and amphibians.
Wayne National Forest
Located in Southeaster Ohio, the Wayne National Forest is comprised of nearly 250,000 acres of Appalachian foothills. The forest offers primitive camping both in designated campsites and along its many hiking trails. The Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area boasts of a 143-acre complex that provides nature and interpretive programs.
The Buckeye trail is a 1,444-mile loop that's maintained by the Buckeye Trail Association. Marked by 2-inch by 6-inch blue blazes, the Buckeye Trail began in the 1950's as a trail from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. The circular nature of the trail leads many hiker to try and complete the entire loop; the trail association even offers a patch for doing so.
Punderson State Park
Punderson State Park surrounds Punderson Lake, one of Ohio's few natural lakes. Camping facilities include electric and non-electric sites; it also offers shower houses and flush toilets. Amenities include a nature center, seven hiking trails, fishing and swimming on a public beach. In winter, the park has a lighted sled hill and two cross country ski trails.
Rockbridge State Nature Preserve.
Rockbridge is Ohio's largest natural bridge, and it elegantly spans 50 feet over a ravine. Aside from the natural bridge, the preserve features nearly two miles of hiking trails and canoe access to the Hocking River.
The Mad River flows from Logan County to downtown Dayton, where it enters the Great Miami River. The Mad River is a great river to explore on a weekend canoe or kayaking trip. Aaron's Canoe and Kayak Center is located on mile 20.1 of the river and offers organized trips from three to sixteen miles. It also offers canoe, kayak and tube rentals. Shuttle service is also available.
Aaron's Canoe & Kayak Center
5605 Old Lower Valley Pike
Springfield, Ohio 45506
Shawnee State Forest
The Shawnee State Forest--which is known as the "Little Smokies of Ohio"--encompasses over 60,000 acres in southern Ohio. Close to 8,000 acres are protected wilderness, and over 60 miles of backpacking trails are contained within the forest.
Lake Erie Islands State Park
Lake Erie Islands State Park is a collection of four state parks located near the resort town of Putin Bay. Camping is available in tents or cabins. One can participate in fishing, canoeing and kayaking on Lake Erie.
Little Miami Scenic Trail
At over 78 miles long, the Little Miami Scenic Trail is one of the longest paved trails in the country; this makes it perfect for cycling or hiking. Running from Springfield Ohio south to Cincinnati, the trail is close to the major urban centers of Dayton and Columbus. The trial intersects major highways at regular intervals. That means it's easily divisible into smaller day trips.
A tributary of the Ohio River the Hocking RIver is located in Southeastern Ohio. Widely regarded as one of the most scenic rivers in Ohio, the Hocking River is an excellent place for a canoeing or kayaking excursion. Outfitters such as Hocking Hills Canoe Livery offer equipment rentals as well as planned trips at reasonable rates.
Hocking Hills Canoe Livery
12789 St. Rt. 664 South
Logan, Ohio 43138