Of Interest to Visitors

This information answers questions most frequently asked by visitors to the Wayne National Forest.

Backpacking or cross country hiking is permitted anywhere on National Forest (NF) lands. Take extra precautions during hunting seasons by wearing bright orange clothing. It is a good idea to carry a compass. Forest streams do not meet the safety standards for drinking water. We recommend taking your water with you. NF ownership is not continuous and private lands are interspersed. Respect the rights of these owners by staying on public lands.

Keep away from oil/gas operations, they are private property and potentially dangerous. Pumpjacks may begin to operate without warning and any open flame, firearm discharge, or spark could cause an explosion.

Except for seeing eye dogs, all pets must be caged or placed on a leash no longer than six feet long when using designated trails, at trailheads, or within any developed recreation areas. 

Prmitive Camping
Primitive Camping is allowed on NF land away from developed campgrounds and anywhere that your camping equipment and/or vehicle do not block developed trails or road right-of-ways.

Plan to bring enough drinking water for the duration of your stay. Leave a clean campsite by packing out all refuse. There is no charge for primitive camping, although a 14 day limitation is in effect. It is not normally necessary to check in with the Forest Service. However, groups larger than 75 people require a permit and prior coordination is required.

Small, open fires are permitted except during extremely high fire danger. No special permits are required. Please use extreme caution with campfires and make sure they are dead out before vacating the campsite. Use only dead and down material for firewood. Cutting or defacing live trees or shrubs is prohibited. Campfires are not allowed within rock shelters.

Permits Required

A trail permit is required to operate off-highway vehicles on the Wayne National Forest. Please review the Forest Trail Permit System. No trail permit is required for horse and mountain bike riding.

Non-motorized bicycles are permitted on the OHV trail systems on the Wayne NF. A handout is available showing which trails allow for mountain bikes. Use caution since bicycles are sharing the trails with OHVs and hikers.

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
There are several areas which provide designated ATV trails. All vehicles must be properly licensed or have an APV sticker and drivers must abide by State laws.

Campground Reservations
Reservations are not required for developed campsites. However, to be assured a campsite, especially on holiday weekends, you may wish to make a reservation. To reserve a campsite at the Vesuvius or Leith Run Recreation Areas call the National Reservation System at the toll free number 1-877-444-6777. Hearing impaired persons should call 1-877-833-6777. You can also reserve a site online at www.recreation.gov. A reservation service fee of $10 will be charged. You should call 5 days in advance. Camping is limited to 14 days within a 21 day period.

Personal property should not be left unattended for more than 24 hours and campsites should be occupied the first night.

Hunting, Trapping, and Fishing
State laws on hunting, trapping and fishing are enforced on NF lands, requiring either a resident or non-resident license. Generally hunting is allowed anywhere on NF land. An exception is recreation areas with designated boundaries. In all areas with scattered ownership please have a detailed map and do not trespass on adjacent private land.

Discharging a firearm (including a bow and arrow) is prohibited in or within 150 yards of a developed recreation site, trailhead, a residence, or any place where people are likely to be. Shooting across roads or bodies of water is also prohibited.  State law prohibits target practicing on all public lands (including the Wayne National Forest), except when legally pursuing game.

Paintball and Airsoft

According to Ohio Revised Code 1501:31, "it shall be unlawful for any person to engage in any paintball shooting activities or paintball games on a public hunting area or wildlife area". The Wayne is operating under that same philosophy. Paintball defaces the forest, even if only for the short term. After consultation with the ODNR, airsoft recreational activities are considered similar to recreational paintball activities. It is also prohibited because "discharging and depositing plastic airsoft pellets/BBs in the Forest would be considered littering and is therefore prohibited." In accordance with

 261.11 (b) Possessing or leaving refuse, debris, or litter in an exposed or unsanitary condition.261.11 (c) Placing in or near a stream, lake, or other water any substance which does or may pollute a stream, lake, or other water.

These plastic pellets/BBs may also become a hazard to fish, birds, and other wildlife if consumed. 

Plant Collecting
Permits are required for personal or commercial collection of plants from the NF. Collection of endangered, threatened, or rare species is prohibited, and certain areas of the Forest are closed for plant collecting. Plant collecting permits are $20 and available at any Forest Service office. Click here for a printable brochure on plant collecting and gathering forest products.

Use of Metal Detectors and removing artifacts
Much of the Wayne National Forest was once in farms and home sites. Bottles, old farm equipment, and antiquated household utensils often remain at these sites. These items are protected and may not be removed. As historians and archaeologists examine the sites, many of these items allow for them to date occupancy of the site and from these traces of the past, they can learn more about our heritage. Use of a metal detector to search for coins or other antiques and historic artifacts is prohibited. These objects are part of the cultural history of the area and are protected under federal antiquities acts. However, an exception to this rule is that coins may be collected and metal detectors may be used on beach areas in developed recreation sites.

The Wayne NF does not provide cabins or horses for rent. Small boat rentals are available at Lake Vesuvius.

Many Forest facilities are specifically designed to provide access to all people, others are accessible to varying degrees of physical limitations. Call ahead for specific information.

The Forest Service participates in the federal passport programs for people 62 years of age and older and for those with disabilities. Both passports entitle the bearer to 50% off most fees.

Map Information
A separate map page provides the information necessary for ordering maps from the Wayne NF. Recreation information is also included on these maps. A large Forest map sells for $9.00 and includes both the Athens and Ironton Districts. 

Topographic maps at the scale of 2 1/2 inches per mile, and a map of Forest hiking trails are also sold at, or may be ordered from, our offices. These maps will show NF ownership and other topographic and cultural features.