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What's Buckeye Trail Hiking
In Ohio Like?

By Diane Spicer

If you're in Ohio, great news.

"What's Buckeye Trail hiking like?" has a resounding answer:


A short history
of the Buckeye Trail

The idea for a long trail in Ohio began in the mind of Merrill Gilfillan in 1958.

It only took one year for the idea to gather together a nucleus of people to form the Buckeye Trail Association (see below).

Emma Gatewood was among them.

  • Fifteen years later, to honor her, the Buckeye Trail Preservation Fund was established. It's purpose: to purchase easements and land along the trail.
  • In May 2016, an historical marker in Cheshire, Ohio was dedicated to this inspiring hiker.

Buckeye Trail hiking

The Buckeye Trail winds around and through Ohio for +1400 miles.

Lots of scenery is yours for the taking on this loop trail:

  • Lake Erie,
  • Ohio River,
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park (near Cleveland),
  • and everything in between, including farmlands, sandstone cliffs, wetlands and forests.

The trail is marked with blue blazes on trees and posts (contrast that to white blazes for the Appalachian Trail).

It's divided into 26 sections, with local place names for each section. Here's an overview map.

  • That link also has specific section maps.

Camping along the trail can be a problem, as not every section has camping sites.

There are no shelters, as you'd find on many other long trails.

However, you won't be very far from civilization, because the trail passes many towns as it winds its way through Ohio. This can be a good thing if you're caught in bad weather, or a bad thing if you're looking for solitude.

If you're a hiking history buff, this trail allows you to combine both of your loves.

As always, it's important to do your homework and planning before setting foot on the trail.

This book, aptly entitled Follow The Blue Blazes, will help with your Buckeye Trail hiking plans.

Female hiking standing on trail with blooming purple wildflowers lining the trail

Buckeye Trail Association

In my experience, it's the volunteer organizations that get the most done.

They're focused, committed, and love their local trails.

The Buckeye Trail Association is a great example.

These volunteers:

  • host public events,
  • maintain the trail,
  • educate the community through workshops and presentations,
  • and partner with other groups to get the word out about hiking the Buckeye Trail.

If you have a hankering to volunteer to maintain this amazing Ohio hiking trail, BTA will give you plenty of options for trail stewardship, outreach and professional services that you can donate.

It feels great, and preserves this trail for the next generation to enjoy.

And isn't that one of the wonderful thing about hikers? We always like to pay it forward.

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