Route: Logan Trail (OH)

Location
Ohio, US
Description

Chase Smith submitted the route:

Logan Trail is a hiking trail in Tar Hollow State Park and was established by Boy Scout Troop 195 in 1965. It consists of a north and south loop and from what I gather is usually hiked in one long day by hikers or split up into a two day hike via the north and south loops. There is a connector trail that connects the north and south loops near a fire tower and camping area (excluded from this FKT effort). Tar Hollow State Forest is located in south central Ohio and is Ohio's third largest state forest. Tar Hollow is notable for camping (RV & primitive), hiking, a 15 acre lake for fishing/swimming and has a resident camp used by 4H and other groups.

Tar Hollow is an ideal place to get away from the more crowded running/hiking trails in Hocking Hills, Great Seal and Scioto Trail State Parks that are nearby. The Logan Trail loop is ~17 miles and has ~3200 feet of elevation gain split between 6 climbs.There are few rocks but quite a few roots and downed trees in sections. The Boy Scouts did not design the trails with switchbacks so the ascents/descents can become very greasy/muddy when wet and are quite steep in spots. There are large amounts of briars which are tolerable in the winter/early spring but intolerable in the summer/fall. There are also some stinging nettles in the summer that make portions very unpleasant.

The Pine Lake parking lot is where most the start of the trail and the trail is meant to be run in a counter clockwise direction (much larger proportion of red blazes in the counter clockwise direction). The first couple miles has dozens upon dozens of downed trees (presumably from the past 2 wet winters) that makes going very slow and demoralizing. After the first couple miles the downed trees became much less and the trails open up and became more runnable. The first 3 miles have a significant amount of single track but after that the majority of the trail is wider and there are quite a few portions that are logging roads (old and new). There are numerous stream crossings that you can refill your water with a filter however these may be much fewer in the summer/fall seasons. There is only one significant creek crossing (around mile 13) that you can't avoid getting your feet wet if that's your thing.
 

Chase created a Strava segment for the counter-clockwise loop.

Comments

I attempted this Friday, May 1st and it's quite the trail.  It's geographically very close to the Hargus Lake and Shawnee Ridge trails and I was attempting to break all 3 in a 24 hour period.  I got the first two but failed on this one as I was physically and mentally just off.  Some helpful notes for anyone attempting this trail.  When they say there are a lot of downed trees, they are a LOT of downed trees.  Having never run the trail before, I was hoping to go fast but the first 3 miles felt a bit more like an obstacle course... which can be super fun if you're in the right mindset but I wasn't.  I wish I would've just had fun and enjoyed it but it didn't meet my expectations and I'm quarntine cranky.  So be prepared for lots of tree hoping and enjoy the fun!  Also, there are at least two spots where the trees are very clearly marked with the big red dots but its not the correct way to go, both on the south loop.  The first is in an area of construction.  The trail appears to go straight forward but the red dots continue down to the road on this muddy, wide bulldozer path?  The second, is when you're running on the gravel road, a trail veers off into the woods on the right and it's marked with the red trail dots but you stay on the road.  I ran with the "hiking project" app on my phone and was able to figure it out before I got more than a few hundred yards off trail... but just watch for those few spots.  Also, there are no switchbacks and the ups and downs are very steep.  While fun, it's probably best to not do this trail after heavy rains as the downhills are super slippery and steep (at least if you're trying to go fast).  Hope that helps!  It as a fun trail and once I realized I wasn't getting the FKT, I just jogged in and finished at exacly 3 hours.

OH!  And that part in the route description about briars?   Thats very real and they are already covering the trail in many places before the growing season is even hitting it's stride.  If you're hiking, you can easily just go around but if you're going for a fast time you're going to get wicked scratched up.  Calf sleeves might help?  By Memorial Day they will be thick and I'd imagine miserable.