|Ash Cave, Hocking Hills State Park. Popular hike; and stunning to experience in person.|
From the Carl Perkins Memorial Bridge over the Ohio River at Portsmouth, a short road walk brings the Fifty Trail to the Buckeye Trail, Ohio’s state trail. This section of the Buckeye Trail coincides with the North Country National Scenic Trail (which seems to have meandered almost to Dixie here), as well as the American Discovery Trail.
The Fifty Trail follows the Buckeye Trail east, skipping the NCT’s ‘Wilderness Loop’ in favor of the entirely off-road route through American Electric Power property, thus avoiding 57 miles of road walks.
The highlight of the Buckeye Trail is the section through Hocking Hills, dubbed the Grandma Gatewood Trail after the first woman to solo thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, who lived in this part of Ohio.
Where the Buckeye Trail and the North Country Trail separate in eastern Ohio, the Fifty Trail follows the NCT eastward through Beaver Creek State Park then leaves the NCT and strikes off south on roads to the town of East Liverpool where the trail crosses the Ohio River again, this time into West Virginia, via the historic (1905) privately owned Newell Toll Bridge, one of only six surviving suspension bridges over the Ohio. Pedestrians are charged five cents to cross and they have their own wooden plank walkway separated from the narrow traffic lanes.
MAPS and TRAIL GUIDES:
Newell Toll Bridge: http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=wvirginia/newell/
Buckeye Trail: http://www.buckeyetrail.org/
HEART OF THE TRAIL:
Hocking Hills State Park to Shawnee, Buckeye Trail headquarters, and environs. Details TBD