Uncover the Largest Forest in Ohio (And What Lives Inside It)

Ohio is residence to a various vary of forests, together with deciduous, coniferous, and blended woodlands. These forests profit the state in some ways, offering clear air and water, a big habitat for wildlife, and leisure alternatives like tenting, mountain climbing, looking, and fishing.

However have you ever ever puzzled which forest in Ohio is the most important of all of them? In that case, you’ve come to the fitting place! On this article, we’ll focus on the most important forest in Ohio, and get to know the superb creatures that decision it residence.

The Largest Forest In Ohio: Shawnee State Forest

Shawnee state forest
Shawnee State Forest is the most important forest in Ohio.

©iStock.com/Corey B. Stevens

The Shawnee State Forest is situated in japanese Adams County and western Scioto County. Spanning 63,747 acres, this expansive space is a haven for all kinds of wildlife. The forest can be a habitat for a whole bunch of various animal species. Its various ecosystem helps an array of wildlife.

A few of the distinctive options of the forest embody its old-growth oak-hickory and beech-maple forests, which offer a house for a variety of species.

The Shawnee State Forest is an incredible place, with six completely different pure areas coming collectively to create a lot of variety. It’s a preferred spot for folks residing in cities to get away from all of it. In reality, over one million folks come to go to yearly, and it’s solely a six-hour drive from greater than 30 U.S. cities. It’s particularly near the numerous inhabitants facilities of Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Louisville, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Lexington, and Indianapolis.

A The 9 Best Books About National Parks for Travelers

One fascinating reality concerning the Shawnee State Forest is that it’s residence to the most important block of public land in Ohio. This implies it’s a in style vacation spot for outside fans who get pleasure from mountain climbing, biking, looking, fishing, and lots of different leisure alternatives within the forest.

The forest can be residence to the Shawnee State Park, which has a lodge and convention heart, in addition to cabins and campsites for guests to remain in.

One other distinctive side of the Shawnee State Forest is its wealthy cultural historical past. The forest is residence to a number of historic websites, together with the Shawnee Lookout Tower, which presents panoramic views of the encircling panorama.

Total, the Shawnee State Forest is a wonderful and various pure space that’s effectively value a go to. That is the right vacation spot if you happen to’re in southern Ohio or the encircling states and in search of a wonderful nature space to get away from metropolis life, even for a short time.

Historical past Of Shawnee State Forest

Do you know that the Shawnee State Park in Ohio will get its title from a gaggle of Native People who lived within the area? The Shawnee folks had been initially from the Potomac space, however they finally migrated to the Ohio Nation.

Within the early 1750s, there was a Shawnee village known as “Shawanese Cabins” situated simply south of Schellsburg.

Again within the 1700s, Normal Forbes and his military camped inside the park’s boundaries whereas they had been marching on the Forbes Highway throughout a marketing campaign towards the French at Fort Duquesne in Pittsburgh.

Enjoyable reality: George Washington led the rear guard of the military and even slept within the park on October 15, 1758. When strolling across the space, you may nonetheless see remnants of the Forbes Path inside the park.

In 1947, the Pennsylvania legislature gave the inexperienced gentle for the creation of a park. Simply 4 years later, work on the dam started, and the park was formally opened to the general public. From that time on, folks might expertise the pure magnificence and leisure alternatives supplied within the park.

Mountaineering And Tenting In Shawnee State Forest

Shawnee State Forest is a superb place to camp.

©Prapat Aowsakorn/Shutterstock.com

Should you like to spend your free time within the nice outside, Shawnee State Forest is the place to be! There’s a variety of enjoyable and thrilling actions to get pleasure from right here, like mountain climbing by the luxurious woodlands or establishing camp in one of many secluded campsites. 

Should you’re feeling a bit extra adventurous, strive your hand at fishing in one of many many streams or rivers that circulation by the park. And when the solar begins to go down, there’s nothing fairly like a campfire and a few s’mores to finish the day!

Let’s have a look at some enjoyable actions you may get pleasure from within the forest.

Mountaineering And Tenting

Shawnee Nationwide Forest is a paradise for outside fans, with over 300 miles of marked trails winding by its hills and valleys. Whether or not you’re an skilled hiker or a newbie merely desirous to strive it out, you’ll discover loads of trails to fit your ability degree.

However that’s not all this stunning forest has to supply – it’s additionally a wonderful place for tenting, with a wide range of campsites accessible for tent and RV tenting.

Simply you should definitely come ready for the weather, as wilderness areas like Shawnee Nationwide Forest can pose inherent dangers similar to antagonistic climate situations, isolation, bodily hazards, and lack of fast communication.

Should you encounter any points, search and rescue could not have the ability to get to you as quick as you would possibly anticipate, so it’s necessary to be ready and take essential precautions.

The districts ideally suited for backcountry tenting are:

  • Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District
  • River to River Path
  • Hidden Springs Ranger District
  • Wilderness Space


Should you’re an professional fisherman or simply beginning to study the ropes, you’ll love the number of lakes and ponds discovered inside Shawnee Nationwide Forest. From small, secluded swimming pools to massive, sprawling our bodies of water, there’s one thing for each kind of fisherman. And one of the best half? All of those pure wonders are open for fishing and different water-based actions all 12 months spherical.

However that’s not all – the Forest Service has made efforts to enhance the fishing expertise by stocking the waters on a rotational foundation and putting in submersible fish attractor buildings. Many of the ponds had been initially stocked with catfish, bluegill, and bass, however because of the means of bluegill and bass to self-sustain their populations, channel catfish are actually the one fish which are supplementally stocked. It’s required to have an Ohio Fishing License earlier than doing any fishing within the park, so be sure to acquire this earlier than your journey!

Cross-Nation Snowboarding

Should you’re seeking to hit the slopes this winter, Shawnee State Park is the place to be. With its prime location within the Appalachian Mountains, this stunning state park presents among the greatest cross-country snowboarding within the area.

Many of the trails at Shawnee State Park are appropriate for skiers and snowshoers of all ability ranges, so whether or not you’re a newbie or a seasoned professional, you’ll discover loads of terrains to discover. The Lake Shore path is especially in style as a consequence of its picturesque surroundings.

Wildlife Watching

Should you’re a nature lover, you’ll love Shawnee State Park. From the various habitats on the base of the Allegheny Entrance to the tranquil waters of the 451-acre lake, this stunning park is residence to an array of fascinating wildlife.

Within the spring and fall, the lake serves as a stopping level for numerous migratory birds, and if you happen to’re up early or keep out late, you’ll have an excellent probability of recognizing a wide range of animals throughout their most lively occasions of the day.

To get a better look, take a leisurely stroll alongside the Lake Shore Path, or enterprise out onto the water in a canoe or kayak to see waterfowl like geese and geese. And if you happen to’re in search of one thing a bit extra strenuous, the Area Path presents the prospect to traverse by completely different habitats and catch glimpses of birds and mammals of their pure habitat.

Wildlife In Shawnee State Forest

Shawnee State Forest is residence to an unbelievable 500 completely different species of wildlife. From majestic mammals to colourful birds and every little thing in between, this various ecosystem is teeming with life. In reality, there are 48 various kinds of mammals, 52 reptiles,  237 species of birds, 57 amphibians, and 109 kinds of fish residing inside the park’s boundaries.

However that’s not all – the Shawnee State Forest can be residence to seven threatened and endangered species which are protected by the federal authorities. Moreover, 33 species are thought of “regionally delicate”.

It’s clear that the Shawnee State Forest is a real haven for wildlife, providing a secure and thriving residence for all kinds of species. 

Strive your luck to catch a glimpse of the next animals.

American Beaver

beaver eat
The American beaver is understood for its dam constructing abilities.

©SERGEI BRIK/Shutterstock.com

American beavers are fairly cool – they’re native to the Shawnee State Park and are identified for his or her spectacular dam-building abilities. They’re truly probably the most expert engineering species on the planet, utilizing branches and dust to create elaborate programs of dams, canals, and lodges.

They’re fairly superb to observe in motion! Plus, their dams assist to create new habitats for different wildlife, making them an necessary a part of the native ecosystem.

Clean earth snake

Smooth earth snake
The graceful earth snake is kind of small.

©Mike Wilhelm/Shutterstock.com

Should you’re a fan of reptiles, it is best to undoubtedly maintain a watch out for the sleek earth snake once you go to Shawnee State Park. These little snakes are native to the realm, they usually’re identified for his or her easy, shiny scales and small measurement (they often solely develop to be about 8-10 inches lengthy).

Whereas they’re not probably the most flashy or attention-grabbing snakes, they’re truly fairly fascinating creatures. They’re nonvenomous, so that they’re not a risk to people, they usually’re typically discovered close to wooded areas, streams, and different our bodies of water, the place they prefer to hunt for small bugs and worms.

American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog
You possibly can spot the American bullfrog within the hotter months.


Have you ever ever visited Shawnee State Park and heard a loud “jug-o-rum” noise coming from the wetlands? That’s most likely the American bullfrog, certainly one of North America’s largest and most well-known frog species.

Should you’re seeking to spot an American bullfrog within the park, your greatest wager is to go to through the hotter months (late spring by early fall) and head to a wetland space. Maintain your ears peeled for his or her distinctive mating name, and also you would possibly simply catch a glimpse of certainly one of these hefty amphibians sunning themselves on a log or lily pad. Simply you should definitely give them their area and observe from a distance.

Greengill Sunfish

Should you’re an avid angler or simply love spending time close to the water, you may need come throughout a greengill sunfish whereas fishing on this forest. These brightly coloured fish are a typical sight within the park’s streams, creeks, and ponds and are identified for his or her vibrant greenish-yellow hue and distinctive “ear” flaps.

To identify a greengill sunfish within the park, search for shallow, vegetated areas with slow-moving water. These fish are sometimes discovered round aquatic crops, logs, and different buildings and may be caught utilizing a wide range of baits and lures.

Scarlet Tanager

Most Expensive Birds-Scarlet Tanager
Shawnee State Park is a spot to seek out the scarlet tanager.

©Stubblefield Images/Shutterstock.com

If you wish to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous scarlet tanager, Shawnee State Park is a good place to begin. These vibrant pink birds can typically be seen flitting by the timber, their vivid plumage standing out towards the inexperienced foliage. Within the spring and summer time months, they are often discovered all through the park, however they’re mostly noticed close to the perimeters of the forest or in open wooded areas. 

So if you happen to’re in search of these stunning birds, maintain your eyes open as you wander by the park – you by no means know once you would possibly spot one!

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