Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (North Country Concurrent) (contact information on linked page)
Marietta - Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau
Little Muskingum Watershed Association (Events, Facebook Page)
The off-road trail of The Wilderness Loop was built by the Youth Conservation Corps in the early 1980's. It was orginally routed as the North Country Trail under the oversight of it's "Ohio Valley Chapter." Later, the maintenance and some its administration was transferred to the Buckeye Trail association in 1987. The Wilderness Loop is a 145 mile on and off-road route that consists of the Buckeye Trail's Road Fork, Whipple and parts of the Belle Valley and Stockport Sections in SE Ohio.
The Whipple Section's on-road trail was routed over low traffic country roads to serve as a link between the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest and the AEP ReCreation Land. The entire section is either a North Country Temporary Connector (NCTC), or rated as a National Scenic Trail (NCNST, off-road only). Any time on Buckeye, they are "concurrent" (like having two state highways signed on one road). And, again, during these times, Buckeye is the agency that maintains the trail. North Country concurrent portions of the Buckeye Trail are on the 7,800mi Sea-to-Sea Route (C2C).
This might contradict the NFS maps and the brown signs at some intersections along the trail in the area. But on route, the blazes are Sherwin - Williams' "Sweeping Blue" (BTA standard) instead of Nelson's "Boundary Blue" (the NCTA blaze color which is darker). The BTA's Whipple Section map and guide, it's trail alerts and map updates are the most up to date document for this section at this time and I recommend that anyone traveling through it to use this. The map for the Wayne National Forest is very big and is for sale at NFS Headquarters in Nelsonville of Athens County, but contains some inaccuracies (noted below). I am also aware of there being a map of hiking map of The Wayne, but the last time that I saw it, it cuts off the BT/ NCNST off in the west.
The Wayne's forest map was published in 2003. BT's Whipple Section map and guide has changed editions at least twice since then. Make sure that you check the BT's website for "trail alerts" and "map updates" before every hiking trip.
Your always welcome to report anything wrong, or maybe even right with the Whipple Section. If you don't own a GPS, just tell me what points it's between, or estimate how far in it is from the last road that you passed. We are probably the first section on the Buckeye Trail that is managed electronically. So if you are using a GPS, global coordinates are the best for us. Besides, it allows me to track it's maintenance and determine if there's a pattern of certain areas being affected more than others. From that, we might be able to reallocate our time from places with lesser to those greater needs in the years to come.
This section is routed through Independence, Lawrence, Fearing, Salem and Aurelius Townships of Washington County. As well as Jackson Township of Noble County and part of Center Township of Morgan County. We have the following needs in these areas:
campsites/ camp hosts
for profit, not for profit and non-profit campgrounds
for profit lodging
volunteer trail promotion
volunteer trail adopter (trail maintenance)
both on and off-road segments available
For campsites/ hosting, campgrounds and lodging, please contact me at email@example.com. I have a copy of the Whipple Section's master GPS line and can tell quickly if your location is within 4 miles walking distance. If you aren't sure and think it might be close, lets try it. We may have additional options. Also, if your willing to shuttle them, that could be an option.
For volunteer positions, please contact the BTA's Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know that your interested in the "Whipple Section."
If you were one of the trail builders who designed, or built the North Country Trail in the Wayne National Forest - Marietta Unit in the early 1980's, please let me know at email@example.com. Particularly if you can remember anything about it's construction. I'd like to know things like: what was hard? Or what didn't go according to plan? How many people were involved in building the trail? And so on...
The area that OH-26 is routed over at 39.430078, -81.366137 and is about 0.6 miles W of the NFS "Lane Farm" Campground, that features a set of winding curves just east of the City of Marietta is known by locals as "Pete Baker Hill."
Washington County is a part of the Mid-Ohio Valley and the Parkersburg - Marietta - Vienna Metropolitan Statistical Area.
All Weather Public Parking (for non-4WD vehicles)
All of the parking areas mentioned are on dirt "patches" located just off of a paved road. Their boundaries are unmarked. Those wishing to park in these areas during the cold months should pack a snow shovel and something to put on the suface to provide traction. Each of these sites provides enough just enough room to park a car outside of a snow plows throw.
Bear Run Rd/ C25 - 39.451854°, -81.264422°
This area is a dirt patch that is just off of a paved county road on it's west side. This spot is on federal property. At this time, I do not know of any regulation regarding the use of typical road salt on National Forest properties (and they don't plow anywhere in the Marietta Unit of The Wayne). But, just to err on the safe side of caution, I recommend that you carry a more ecologically friendly substitute (like cat litter) for this area.
OH-821, SE of Macksburg - 39.626422°, -81.450214°
This site is in the highways right of way. This means that the highway is about 20ft wide across, but it actually has a 60ft wide right of way.
OH-821 near Sherborne Rd/ T301 - 39.627489°, -81.458171°
This site is in the highways right of way. This means that if the highway is about 20ft wide across, it actually sits in the middle of a larger right of way.
OH-339, east of Crooked Tree - 39.637226°, -81.492027°
Located on the southwest side of a bend that is southeast of the unincorporated community of Crooked Tree. This site is in the highways right of way. This means that if the highway is about 20ft wide across, it actually sits in the middle of a larger right of way.
Pts. 01 - 03
9.9 miles/ 15.9km
Pts. 04 - 06
Hike Pts. 05 - 04 twice because it's 1.3 miles long and it is the most direct way back to the parking area on Bear Run Rd/ C25
Pts. 09 - 13 using public transit on THURSDAY'S ONLY
11.8 total miles (including 2.7 miles that are off-trail)
7hrs 57min window of execution*
4hr 22min hike @ 2.7MPH adverage
From the City of Marietta, take the Community Action Bus Lines (CABL) "Marietta City Route A" (the bus will simply have a letter "A" on the windshield) to the Social Security Administration on Greene Street. From there, plot walking directions to Pt. 09 and begin a clockwise hike until you arrive at Pt. 13. Once there and 15 minutes prior to the scheduled arrival time, you'll board CABL's New Matamoras/ Macksburg route. It will be coming from the Village of Macksburg on the OH-821 southbound lane. CABL ordinarily does not use formal bus stops. Instead, when you see a Ford Econoline cut-a-way bus approaching, just waive your hand over your head to hail the driver and that will inform them of your intent to board.
N of Pt. 12 to S of Pt. 13
Pts. 19 - 13 using public transportation on THURSDAY'S ONLY
11.6 total miles
5hrs 31min window of execution*
3hrs 52min hike @ 2.7MPH adverage
From the City of Marietta, take the Community Action Bus Lines (CABL) New Matamoras/ Macksburg Route in the direction of Macksburg to OH-821 & Main Street (in Macksburg) and begin a counter clockwise (CCW) hike to Pt. 13. Once there and 15 minutes prior to the scheduled arrival time, you'll board CABL's New Matamoras/ Macksburg route. It will be coming from the Village of Macksburg on the OH-821 southbound lane. CABL ordinarily does not use formal bus stops. Instead, when you see a Ford Econoline cut-a-way bus approaching, just waive your hand over your head to hail the driver and that will inform them of your intent to board.
* A window of execution refers to the amount of time between the first and last transit vehicle. On CABL's New Matamoras/ Macksburg Route, there are only two buses every Thursday. The window of execution on either trip is fairly wide. But you must make the final bus stop on time, or you may have to call a taxi to get you back.
Before every hiking trip, please read the "Trail Alerts" and "Map Updates" for any section on the Buckeye Trail. Whipple's can be found here.
- On shore fishing could be accessed between Pts. 05 & 06 along the Little Muskingum River Flats in late spring and early summer. If you own the October 2010 Edition of the Whipple Section map & guide, please e-mail me for coordinates. This location is about 4 miles upstream from the bridge at Cow Run Road/ T19. It's also about 14 miles upstream from the Little Muskingum's mouth at the Ohio River. Personally, I'm not a fisherman myself and there haven't been any reports of how good the area is there. And this area may be used to ferry maintenance tools when the river level is low.
- North Country National Scenic Trail is listed as a "National Millennium Trail." The American Discovery Trail, which is about 18 - 22 miles south of the Whipple Section also has that designation. But the Buckeye Trail is Ohio's "Millennium Legacy Trail" (one of 50), as well as being the official hiking trail of the state and was signed into law on April 27th, 1967.
- The traditional hiking season on the section is about 40 weeks and usually begins on March 1st.
- (11/04/2015) The 10/2010 edition of the Whipple Section map & guide reads that T94 is Brooks Road in Lawrence Township of Washington County. Google Maps reads Brooks and Bean Ridge Roads as also being Township Hwy 94. Recently, a new sign was placed at the corner of what was (or still is) Brooks/ Township Hwy 94 & Cow Run Roads/ Township Hwy 19. It reads "Bean Ridge Road/ T94." So, on the ground, the entire road, including the portion that has the W off-road aperture is "Bean Ridge" now.
- Black bears are known to be in SE Ohio and there's been one sighting that I know of on the Little Muskingum River Flats between Points 05 & 06 (10/2010 map and guide). It's recommended that you sling your food away from your campsite while sleeping in either unit of the Wayne National Forest.
- On your Whipple Section 10/2010 edition map, you may see a crossing over the Little Muskingum River that's near OH-26 on Chandler/ Felter Road/ T381. It's not a bridge, but a ford through the river. So, most people should approach BT/ NCNST's intersection with T381 from C9.
- When approaching Pt. 05 in an car, you'll want to do so on Bean Ridge Rd/ T94 from County Rd 9/ C9. Brooks Road/ T94 east of Pt. 06 and west of Pt. 05 is a rough and is not recommended for non-4WD vehicles. Also, McCain Hill Rd/ T382 has a number of primitive fords and some "knuckles" in the road's surface at the top of a hill that are partially exposed boulders. That part of the road might be ideal for a 4WD vehicle with an upgraded suspension.
- The people in SE Ohio are some of the hardest laborers in the state. At this time, I'm not aware of any work stays along the Whipple Section, but should you get one, I advise that you hustle all day long no matter the task, or where it takes place. Always be motivated, intense, physical and expedite the job.
- NFS does not recommend crossing the Little Muskingum River on ice.
- Washington County uses the Category System for Snow Emergencies. See here for more details.
Wayne NF - Federal Property Polygons for Google Earth (2015)
Wayne NF - Federal Property Polygons for GPS Enabled Devices (2015)
Tracks for the side trail - marked red on map (05/28/2015)
on the Whipple Section map, October 2010 Edition
This was once the route of the mainline BT/NCNST until property was acquired near the Hills - Hildreth Covered bridge that essentially shutdown a township road that the trail was using. As a result, the Whipple Section map displays a shortened spur that leads to the Lane Farm Campground via a ford in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest.
As of 05/28/2015, the spur is being rebuilt and is only passable from the BT/ NCT to federal land and back. Follow the white blazes between the Whipple Section, Pts. 06 - 07 from Cow Run Rd/ T19.
BT - Parking (P) Areas (Incomplete) (06/09/2015)
These are an incomplete listing for waypoints of known public parking areas on, or within 4 miles of the Buckeye Trail. However, parking data for the Whipple Section is complete.
Unmaintained Spur to Leith Run Recreation Area (2.96mi)
The Leith Run Recreation Area is a seasonal facility has the only potable water wells in the Marietta Unit. It's also the only electric campground near the section. At the southern most point between Whipple's 01 & 02, there is a hidden former skid road beyond a 5ft ridge that lines the south of the trail as it curves. It's 0.68 miles long, unmaintained, easy to follow, but it does have a large descent that a distance hiking trail would have a switchback for. But since this isn't a part of the trail, this one goes down steeply and will emerge next to some big green storage canisters before ending at Archer's Fork Rd/ C14. The rest is S on Archer's Fork Rd to E on OH-07 and this route is the only way to get from Leith Run to BT/ NCNST in under 3 miles. If you don't want to stay at Leith Run, you can disperse camp on federal property, 150ft or more from the Brown House TH that's on OH-07. Because of the hill on the former skid road, I recommend that you overnight near OH-07. Brown House is where the southern intersection for the Scenic River and Greenview Trails. Along the Scenic River Trail, just N of said intersection, will most likely be the best place to find a suitable location for a dispersed campsite in that area due to terrain.
On the return trip heading N on Archer's Fork Rd/ C14, watch for those green canisters in the grassy field, that will be your cue to turn E. If your using a forest map, you'll see that there are actually two former roads in this area, one on high and the other low and straight ahead. This unmaintained spur uses the low road.
Weatherbug - I use the following stations to monitor weather on the section:
East - Paden City, West Virginia (near New Matamoras of Washington County)
South - Marietta
West - McConnellsville
Custom Smartphone Notification Tones
I used a third party app on Android to record myself saying "THIS IS A WEATHER ALERT! (x3)." After I saved and named the file, I did a search on my smartphone's file system to locate where it was. Then, I moved it to the phone's on-board "Notifications" folder. Afterwards, I set my Weatherbug app's weather alert to that notification sound file.
A weekday route on the Community Action Bus Lines (CABL) is available 2.7mi from Pt. 09 at the Social Security Administration on Greene Street/ OH-26 in the City of Marietta. This is where Whipple Section hikers without automobiles can have access to the city's hotel, laundromat and resupply amenities. They also run a Macksburg - Marietta - New Matamoras (5mi east of Road Fork Section) route twice on Thursdays only. That route is most accessible along OH-07 from the trail at Archer's Fork/ C14 near County Road 9/ C9 near Pt. 02 and OH-821 & Main Street in Macksburg. CABL does not use formal bus stops. Instead, their routes are "flag" areas. This is where you see the transit vehicle approaching and you hail it to signal your intent to board. When seeking to disembark on this line, riding with GPS device is recommended.
It may be possible for a clockwise/ westbound (CW/ W) hiker to come in from the Road Fork Section and synchronize their schedule to disperse camp in the forest on a Wednesday and meet the Marietta/ Macksburg bound Thursday bus at Archer's Fork Rd/ C14 & OH-07. Then ride that route towards its terminator in Macksburg, disembark and start hiking counter clockwise/ east (CCW/ E) that day. With the campsite on the on-road being in a fixed location, the trip should take 4+ hiking days. If the bus won't arrive at Archer's Fork Rd/ C14 & OH-07 for another 3 days, the hiker will need to stretch it out with zero days.
Regional transit (Greyhound affiliated) stops in the City of Marietta. On another website, I cover public transit for the American Discovery, North Country and Buckeye Trails in the State of Ohio. You can view all of the transit data currently available by visiting the website for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource.
Google Syntax Examples for Expressing Road Names on the Whipple Section
(Refer to the Whipple Section map as to how they'll actually be displayed in-person)
Washington County - C9, C14
Independence Township - Township Rd 414
Lawrence Township - Twp Hwy 19
Fearing Township - T331
Salem Township - Township Road 316
Aurelius Township - T74
Noble County - Co Rd 75
Jackson Township - Town Hwy 10
Morgan County - Co Rd 32
Center Township - Twp Hwy 232