What to do in Dean State Forest

Located in the unglaciated hill country of extreme south central Ohio, Dean, one of Ohio's first state forests, was established in June of 1916.

The early history of the region centered around Dutch and Irish farmers who emigrated from Pennsylvania. From the early 1800s to about 1900, most of the timber in the area was cut for charcoal to supply blast furnaces for the smelting of locally mined iron ore. The area had also been burned over many times by fires started along the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad which ran through the forest. Thus, when the land was purchased in 1916 for Dean State Forest, it was largely denuded of trees and was used as an early reforestation experimental area to determine the best species and planting methods. Several of the planting, such as the white pine, red pine and tulip tree along State Route 373 in Texas Hollow, are visible results of those experiments and efforts.

In the early 1930s, a Civilian Conservation Camp was located on the forest. Supervised by the Division of Forestry, camp personnel constructed and improved access roads and did much timber stand improvement work. Today, Dean contains an unbroken block of 2,745 acres of forest land.

A wide variety of recreational opportunities exist at Dean State Forest. One popular activity is hunting. Deer, wild turkey, grouse, squirrel and rabbits are hunted in season at Dean. Several small ponds are located on the forest, and used by anglers. Mushroom and ginseng hunting are becoming increasingly popular activities. Approximately 10 miles of bridle trails run throughout the forest and offer users a scenic ride through the woods. Hiking is also permitted on the bridle trails. A trail connecting Dean's bridle trail system with the trail system operated by Wayne National Forest opens up new opportunities to the user.

ATV riding is prohibited.

Camping is permitted only in areas provided and designated for such use. Fires are not permitted except in grills or fire rings provided or in portable stoves.

Dean State Forest is open to visitors between the hours of 6 AM and 11 PM. daily. Outdoor pursuits at the state forest include horseback riding, hunting, hiking, camping, fishing, and berry picking. Travel extend into Wayne National Forest offering a longer excursion.

Lying within Wayne National Forest in Lawrence County, Dean State Forest Headquarters is located off State Route 373, near the junction of State Route 93.

This state has four distinct seasons and a brilliant fall foliage display in it southern woods during mid October. Winter lasts from December through February with average temperatures near 25 degrees F. Low temperatures dip to single digits, but do not often drop below zero. Northern regions of the state receive average snowfall amounts of 55 inches, while the central and southern regions of the state receive lesser amounts with averages near 30 inches. This difference is caused by lake-affect moisture patterns.

Spring temperatures begin to warm the landscapes of Ohio by mid March and are in full swing by April. Temperatures range from 40 through 70 degrees F through the spring months. This season often brings the most rainfall, before the drying heat of summer. Summer can be extremely hot and humid in the interior of Ohio. Temperatures reach above 90 degrees F frequently through July and August. Cooler fall temperatures don't reach the region until mid to late September. This is a pleasant time to visit as the air is crisp with low humidity levels. Ohio's annual precipitation usually reaches slightly above 50 inches.

149 Dean Forest Road
Pedro, OH 45659-9740

Phone: 614-532-7228

Email: Bob.Boyles@dnr.state.oh.us
  • Dean State Forest Travel Q&A