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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tar Hollow - Ohio Spotlight

tar hollow state forest sign
(photo by JHY)

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based on a news release of the Akron Beacon Journal

Tar Hollow State Forest in south-central Ohio is often overlooked in favor of the better known Old Man's Cave or Hocking Hills. Tar Hollow State Park is just 619 acres within the 16,000 acre state forest. But this very natural park offers plenty of what Ohio used to be like before it was heavily settled.

The area is known for steep ridges and deep ravines. On the dry ridge tops one can find oaks, hickories, shortleaf and pitch pines. Along the rivers the black willow, sycamores, and buckeyes abound. The area is located in the sandstone hills that transition to the Allegheny Plateau.

tar hollow fire tower
Brush Ridge fire tower (photo by JHY)
The forest was named for the tar from the pitch pines. It was a staple for early settlers who used it for everything from liniment to lubricant. It was also distilled into turpentine.

The forest has an extensive trail system roughly in a figure 8. At the center of the system is the Brush Ridge Fire Tower. The Buckeye / North Country Trail reaches this point from the SE, and then makes a sharp turn at the tower to the SW.

One could easily spend a long weekend at Tar Hollow. In all, there are 24 miles of hiking trails, and 2.5 miles of mountain bike trails. There are five backpacking campsites and seven overnight log shelters. 25 miles of bridle trails also traverse the forest, including a horse camp.

Wildflower enthusiasts will find southern Ohio to be spectacular in the springtime.

tar hollow fire tower
violet wood sorrel (photo by JHY)

The Tar Hollow Region stretches from points 2 to 7 on the Scioto Section of the Buckeye Trail Maps, for 11.7 miles of off-road trail. Camping is allowed near the fire tower (no water).

The Beacon Journal article gives much more information about the local area.

See Buckeye Trail
See Tar Hollow State Forest

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