Take a journey on one of Ohio’s most isolated, wild hikes

Lamping Homestead may be one of the most isolated hikes in Ohio. It is a long ways from anywhere, in rugged southeast Ohio. The 5-mile loop doesn’t cross any roads in the rolling Appalachian foothills between Haney and Pleasant ridges in southwest Monroe County.

It is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the 240,900-acre Wayne National Forest that includes 12 Ohio counties. The national forest lies within an 834,000-acre tract established by Congress in 1934.

The Lamping Homestead Recreation Area is off state Route 537, about two miles from state Route 26. It is about 35 miles from Marietta as the crow flies over the heart of what’s called the Switzerland of Ohio due to the number of Swiss immigrants.

The main trail begins on the other side of a pond and cuts through the picnic area. You will hike through a white pine plantation and into a beech-maple forest. Ravines are numerous. The trail crosses hills, goes down and up in hollows, across ridge lines and along the side of steep hills. The area is heavily wooded with small streams crossing the trail. If the leaves have fallen, you may get glimpses of the Clear Fork of the Little Muskingum River.

Not far away is one of the best backpacking trails in Ohio: the tough 11-mile Archer’s Fork Loop with its massive natural rock bridge. The hike in Washington County includes at least seven climbs of more than 250 feet, crossing between the Ohio River and Little Muskingum watersheds.

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