Rules and Etiquette for Trail Use on Wayne National Forest

The Wayne National Forest is a popular and beloved area of southeastern Ohio. Increasing visitor use requires that all visitors are mindful of rules put in place to protect this special environment and to keep visitors safe. In addition to these rules, we also ask that you follow etiquette guidelines to improve visitor experience and protect the many species of plants, animals, and insects that call this environment home. 

A full list of forest orders can be is posted for all legal notices.

Trail Use Rules

  • Horseback, Off-highway Vehicle (OHV), and mountain bike use is only allowed from April 15 to December 15 on trails that allow for those uses. 
  • Horseback, OHV, and mountain bike use are prohibited on trails not specifically designated for those uses.
  • Anyone 16 years and older must have a Wayne National Forest trail permit, a valid state driver’s license and vehicle registration to ride motorized trails.
  • Our boundaries surround a checkerboard pattern of ownership, with public and private ownership interspersed. Care must be taken to stay on Wayne National Forest lands and respect private property.
  • Please respect all forest orders. Forest orders explain regulations and areas closed for safety and conservation.
  • Alcohol use on OHV trails is not permitted.
  • OHV Riders are required to wear a helmet and eye protection.
  • Outfitters and guides, may provide services to public land users through special use permits.

Additional rules and requirements for OHV use apply.

Respecting All Trail Users

Following some simple guidelines will improve the experience on trail users and multi-use trails. 

Practice Courtesy on the Trail

  • Bikers should yield to horse riders and hikers. 
  • Hikers yield to OHVs and horse on trails that allow those uses. 
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.

Leave No Trace

Our natural spaces are becoming increasingly more important as more and more people venture into the Forest. Practicing Leave No Trace principles can help prevent resource damage and improve all visitors' experiences.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know area rules and regulations
  • Prepare for extreme weather
  • Use a map and compass

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises

Leave What You Find

  • Don’t take cultural or historical artifacts or structures
  •  Do not introduce or transport non-native plants, live bait or animals
  •  Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Use a lightweight stove for cooking
  • When fires are permitted, use an established fire grate and keep fires small
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, and make sure the fire is completely out
  • Even after forest fires, you may see an ample supply of burned wood near your site. Collect firewood away from campsites to prevent enlarging and defacing the area

Respect Wildlife

  • Do not follow or approach wildlife
  • Never feed animals. It can damage their health and alters natural behaviors
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations properly
  • Use lead free tackle

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses, or snow
  • Keep campsites small – stay in area where vegetation is absent
  • Walk in single file in the middle of the trail even when the trail is muddy

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter
  • Deposit human or dog waste in the latrines
  • Wash yourself and dishes with biodegradable soap away from streams or lakes
  • Burning trash in firegrates is discouraged