Ohio: Richland Furnace State Forest

Southcentral Ohio

The Richland Furnace All Purpose Vehicle Area in Ohio may be one of the best places in the state to ride.

Tucked away in South Central Ohio, among rolling hills covered with thick stands of oak and hickory, Richland Furnace is a great setting for a day of riding.

Flint outcrops that were used by the Native Americans prior to the Europeans arrival to the area can be found if you look close.

The stone remnant of the old Richland iron furnace still stands on private property just north of Richland Furnace State Forest and is adjacent to Vinton Township Road 6.

The town of Richland, which is still listed on most maps, is gone, but a keen eye can detect where many of the homes once stood.

If you can get away any weekday, you stand a good chance of having the area all to yourself. Normally weekends at Richland Furnace aren't as busy as at other riding areas.

Most riders would rate the nine miles of trails easy to less difficult. That means they're perfect for beginning riders or families with children.

The trailhead has ample parking, a covered pavilion and picnic tables, making it a great place to have lunch. A bathroom and loading ramp are there also.

The area is day-use only, meaning no camping is allowed. Riding is permitted a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Trail riding closes for the winter on Nov. 30 and opens again April 1.

Ohio calls off-road motorcycles and ATVs with a maximum width of 50 inches all-purpose vehicles, or APVs.

Ohio law requires all riders to wear helmets and eye protection. Nobody under 12 is allowed to ride. Riders between 12 and 16 must be accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian who is 18 years old or older.

Riders over 16 must have a valid motor vehicle operator’s license. No passengers are allowed unless the vehicle was designed to carry a passenger.

APVs must be registered in Ohio or your home state. If your vehicle isn't registered, you will need to get a 15-day temporary Ohio sticker, which will require proof of registration. You can get the temporary sticker at an Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles office.

Richland Furnace can be found in the middle of a triangle, drawn between Chillicothe, Athens and Jackson.

If you are traveling from the north or west, at Chillicothe take Highway 50 southeast about 10 miles to State Route 327 south. Take SR 327 southeast another 10 miles to the entrance.

Lodging, restaurants, gas, groceries and ATV dealers are located in Chillicothe and Jackson.

For information, call the Zaleski State Forest at (740) 596-5781.