GALLIPOLIS — These days it’s OK to literally tell someone “go take a hike!”
In Gallia County there are plenty of hiking options to explore while getting exercise and practicing responsible social distancing.
Gallia County offers several places for the adventurous hiker as well as the novice. From the wild and rugged trails in Wayne National Forest to the tame Gallia County Hike and Bike Trail. In Gallia, there is a trail for everyone.
The O.O. McIntyre Park District operates several outdoor parks across Gallia including Racoon Creek County Park. Located at 518 Dan Jones Road, the park features trails sprawled across 700 acres of natural and recreational land. Several trails start along Dan Jones Road past the main entrance to the park and explore some of the land’s more natural side.
Natural Gorge Trail and Deer Hollow Trail both can be accessed from individual parking areas along Dan Jones Road. Both trails are under 2 miles, although they do access developing trails intended for horse riding further into the woods. From these trails, hikers can make their way into the upper side of the park.
The trail Racoon Creek Park is most known for is the fitness trail that encompasses the cleared area of the park. At two miles long, the trail wraps around the lower portion of the park and makes the climb up to the pond near the peak of the hill in the upper section.
The park is free to access for the general public including parking, and features a wide variety of nature and events for patrons to enjoy. To learn more, call the park district office at 740-446-4612.
The Gallia County Hike and Bike Trail, open to those on foot and on bicycles, is set on an old railroad track going from Haskins Park in Gallipolis to beyond Bidwell. Unfortunately, the trail is not contiguous and is broken in several places, including at the Ohio 160 and US 35 intersection. The main portion of the trail, which has free parking at both ends, runs between Bob McCormick Road and Haskins Park and features a smooth and level paved surface almost four miles long.
The Rio Grande Reservoir, located on Lake Drive in Rio Grande, has a short trail around the reservoir, as well as a shelter house, picnic table and playground.
The most wild and yet likely the most unused trails in Gallia County are the two trails located in Wayne National Forest. At 15 miles, the Symmes Creek and Morgan Sisters trails do join together in the middle and can be accessed from Symmes Creek Road and Pumpkintown Road, respectively.
These trails offer substantial elevation changes, going as low as 650 feet above sea level to as high as 934 feet on the schoolhouse loop, which joins the trails.
Each of these trails are open to the public year round, and can be enjoyed without any registration or reservation. Go to visitgallia.com or call the Gallia County Covention and Visitors Bureau at 1-740-446-6882 for more information.
Information for this piece taken from a previous article by former staff writer, Morgan McKinniss.