The 1,400-mile Buckeye Trail (BT) circumnavigates the state of Ohio and you can ‘follow the blue blazes’ from the shores of Lake Erie to the Ohio River. This footpath is known to Ohio hikers, but what’s less known is the fact that the BT has some 135 campsites scattered around the state, which vary from simple spots on the ground to pitch your tent to three-sided Adirondack shelters with nearby facilities. While the BT is not yet ready for easy thru-hiking with regularly spaced campsites, here are a few spots to get you dreaming about backpacking at least a section of this life-list trail.
Northeast Ohio: Brecksville Reservation Ottawa Overlook
The BT goes through five Cleveland Metroparks. Contact the Brecksville Reservation to obtain a backcountry permit ($5 processing fee; open year-round with water available only Memorial Day through September) to camp at the Ottawa Overlook backcountry site. For a quick outing, park at the Plateau Picnic Area and hike about 3 miles on the BT to the campsite. If you’re up for a big outing, park at the Boston Mill Visitor Center in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (open 24/7/365) and hike 9 miles north on the BT to Ottawa Overlook. On Day 2, you can continue north and east on the BT for 3 miles to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail at Brecksville Station and walk the towpath trail south 4.4 miles back to your vehicle. If you plan ahead, you can catch the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad from Brecksville Station to Boston Mill Station.
There are three tent sites at Ottawa Overlook; bathrooms and seasonal water are a quarter-mile away at the Ottawa Point Picnic Area (located two hours northeast of Columbus). Fires are not permitted at the backcountry site. More info: clevelandmetroparks.com