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Ohio: Wayne National Forest - Stone Church Horse Trail
Posted on Friday, February 24 @ 20:56:32 CST by iljiana

Horse Camping & Trails Athens Ranger District
13700 U.S. Highway 33
Nelsonville, OH 45764
Fax (740)753-0118

Welcome to the Stone Church Horse Trail and Campground. Named for the skeletal ruins of an old stone church nearby, this horse trail system provides 21 miles of scenic riding. The horse trail winds through the rolling hills of the Wayne National Forest. The trails will lead you through a variety of vegetation: open fields, brushland, mature forest, and new forest. Along the way, you may glimpse wildlife, and will recognize the influence of humans, both now and in the past. You will also pass many of our land management activities.

Water is turned off during the winter due to risk of freezing. During the period when no water is available camping is free at this site.
Trail Guidelines

  • Stay on the designated trail. The trail is marked by gray diamonds on trees or posts.
  • A Forest Trail Permit is required to ride horses on any Wayne National Forest trail.
  • Trails are open for hiking year-round, but horse use is only allowed April 15-December 15.
  • Please stay on marked trail to avoid riding on private land.
  • Several oil and gas roads cross the trail. These roads access oil and gas wells on private land and are not open for riding.
  • The mileage of each trail segment is shown on the map.
  • National Forest lands are open to public hunting. Please be aware of the different hunting seasons and plan your trail ride accordingly. State fishing and hunting regulations are enforced.
  • Water in ponds and streams can be used for horses, but is unsafe for human consumption.
  • Overnight camping is permitted along the trail or at the campground. No vegetation may be cut and all fires must be extinguished before leaving camp.
  • Be alert for ticks, snakes, and poison ivy.

The recently completed campground offers camping for horseback riders which provides facilities designed for horses and horse trailers.
  • Eight sites are provided, each with a 45' long by 15' wide parking space. Two sites are fully accessible for people with disabilities.
  • Each site has a covered paddock, fire pit, grill, and tent pad. Vault toilets are available.
  • Drinking water is provided in a tank for horses and people, bring buckets or jugs to carry water.
  • The fee for camping is $10/night, collected in a self-service fee tube.
  • Before vacating your campsite, clean out the paddocks and put manure in the manure bin.
  • The campground is closed December 15 - April 14.
The former Stone Church Trailhead is for also open for camping and day use. This trailhead is open for camping from April 14 through December 15. The site has a porta-john and trash cans available.
Stone Church Ruins

Near the trailhead is all that remains of a once thriving community. The haunting arched walls of the St. Peter's Catholic Church and almost 100 tombstones are all that remain of a church which once stood as the centerpiece to a community of people who lived in these hills.

Indians and early settlers depended heavily on the nearby Salt Run saltlicks. The people whose names are etched on the grave stones next to the old church were among those first settlers. They built the church in 1845 and Dominican priests came to give the first mass here.

During the Civil War, the iron ore in the surrounding hills was mined to make the cannon balls for the Union Army. According to legend, sometime shortly after the War, a plague struck and wiped out the community. The church fell into disrepair and was closed. Another version of local history maintains that with the boom of the iron mines, so many Catholics moved into the area that a new church was built in nearby New Straitsville. New Straitsville's St. Augustine Catholic Church was built in 1871, and the old stone St. Peters Church may have been abandoned. The 128 year old St. Augustine Church was razed in 1990, leaving the ruins of the stone church the only visible sign of a once prosperous Catholic parish. The stone church and cemetery are on private land. Please treat them with the respect they deserve.

For maps and more information:

Related Links
· USDA Forest Service
· Veterinarians
· More about Horse Camping & Trails
· News by iljiana

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