Camping at Wayne National Forest
Location and Overview
Wayne National Forest is located in southeastern Ohio, United States, and is the only national forest in the state. It covers over a quarter-million acres and is divided into three units: the Athens, Marietta, and Ironton Ranger Districts. The forest is known for its recreational opportunities, including camping, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and ATV riding.
General Information: Camping is a popular activity in Wayne National Forest. The forest offers a variety of camping experiences, from developed campgrounds with amenities to backcountry camping for those seeking solitude.
Developed Campgrounds: Facilities in these campgrounds typically include picnic tables, fire rings, potable water, and restroom facilities. Some campgrounds also provide electric hookups.
Dispersed Camping: For those looking for a more isolated experience, dispersed camping is allowed in many areas of Wayne National Forest. Campers must follow Leave No Trace principles and camp at least 200 feet away from trails, water sources, and roads.
Backcountry Camping: In certain areas, designated backcountry camping is available for those wanting a primitive experience. Be sure to check regulations for the specific area you're interested in, as there may be additional rules or permits required.
Rules and Regulations
Campsite Occupancy: Most campgrounds have a limit on the number of people and vehicles per campsite, usually around six to eight people and two vehicles.
Length of Stay: There is typically a 14-day stay limit within any 30-day period at any one campground or dispersed camping area.
Firewood Restriction: To prevent the spread of invasive species, bringing your own firewood is usually discouraged or prohibited. Check the latest regulations and consider buying local or heat-treated firewood.
Pet Policy: Pets are allowed in most areas but must be kept on a leash and under control at all times.
Waste Disposal: Pack out what you pack in, and make use of designated waste disposal facilities if available.
Fire Safety: Follow all fire safety guidelines and restrictions. Never leave fires unattended and ensure they are completely extinguished before leaving.
Reservations: Some campgrounds may require reservations, which can be made through Recreation.gov or by contacting the forest directly. Others operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Hiking: Wayne National Forest offers a plethora of trails ranging from easy to challenging, including portions of the North Country Scenic Trail.
Mountain Biking and ATV Riding: Designated trails are available for off-highway vehicles (OHVs), mountain bikes, and dirt bikes. A permit is often required for OHV use.
Horseback Riding: There are miles of trails and horse-friendly campgrounds specifically designed for equestrians.
Hunting and Fishing: These activities are allowed in Wayne National Forest with the appropriate state-issued licenses.
- Always be aware of the weather conditions and prepare for sudden changes.
- Carry a map and compass, or a GPS device, and know how to use them.
- Be cautious of wildlife and know what to do in an encounter.
- Ensure you have a first aid kit and know basic first aid procedures.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially during warmer months.
Before you go camping, it's a good practice to check the latest information with forest officials for any changes in policies, closures, or other alerts.
Wayne National Forest Headquarters:
- Address: 13700 US Highway 33, Nelsonville, OH 45764
- Phone: (740) 753-0101
- Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/wayne
Planning and preparation are key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable camping experience in Wayne National Forest. Always check current conditions and fire regulations before you head out.