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Twelve miles of park hiking trails lead to scenic overlooks and breathtaking vistas.

The Caldwell Lake Trail explores much more than just the Caldwell Lake area of Scioto Trail State Park. Trailblazers encounter sweeping views from the state forest fire tower, descend a sledding hill, experience the Debord vista, view a small creek titled North Fork, and more.

Begin this hike from the parking lot found north of Caldwell Lake. Head west on the well marked trail. Immediately it ascends into the forest on a ridge between Stoney Creek and North Fork. The trail offers nice views for nearly 2 miles reaching Forest Road 3. In another 0.75-mile, a trail junction leads to Steward Lake. (This can be a short cut looping back to Caldwell Lake and the parking lot if so desired, however, it yields a steep segment.) Proceed past the fire tower spur to the Debord Vista Trail. This 0.5-mile horseshoe hike is well worth the effort. The main trail reaches Forest Road 3 in about a half mile after exiting Debord Vista Trail. At Forest Road 3 turn left (south) and climb the road for a half mile reaching the forest headquarters and the fire tower. The tower climb is another side trip well worth the effort. Panoramic views of the Appalachian Plateau are memorable. Pick up the trail once again from behind the maintenance building north of the headquarters. The undulating trail parallels Forest Road 1 reaching Sled Hill then a parking area for Nature Trail. From Sled Hill the trail levels out on its way to North Fork. When you've reached North Fork head north to hike the western edge of Caldwell Lake which deposits you back at the parking lot.

Directions: From Chillicothe, OH, Travel south on U.S. Route 23 about 10 - 12 miles turn left (east) onto State Route 372. Travel it a half mile to the park. Pick up a trail map at the park office. Trailhead is located just west of the parking lot at the north end of Caldwell Lake.

Elevation: 800 feet

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Scioto Trail State Park, Ohio

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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