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U.S. Forest Service

Eastern Region Viewing Area


hikers on a wildflower plant walk. Plant walk. Photo by Kari Kirschbaum.

Polemonium reptans. Polemonium reptans. Photo by Chad Kirschbaum.

Trail Bridge on the Rock House Trail. Trail Bridge on the Rockhouse Trail. Photo by Kari Kirschbaum.

Trillium grandiflora. Trillium grandiflora. Photo by Chad Kirschbaum.

Lake Vesuvius Rock House Trail

Forest: Wayne National Forest

District: Ironton Ranger District

Description: The diverse plant communities of the Wayne National Forest are home to many beautiful wildflower species. The forests of southern Ohio are unusually diverse because they are found within a climatic and geologic transition zone and contain diverse topography and landforms. An excellent place to view wildflowers in the spring, is the Rockhouse Trail in the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area.

This trail follows a cliff line and offers a 0.75 mile paved trail, lined with over a 100 species of native plants. There are interpretive stations along the trail that inform hikers about the iron industry which was prevalent in this area over a century ago. This tour will illustrate the resiliency of the forest even after much of the forest was cleared for charcoal. The trail culminates with a spectacular rock outcrop (the rock house).

The longer, Vesuvius Lake Trail, offers more wildflowers, including beautiful displays of mountain laurel and azalea.

Other activities to enjoy in the area include camping, canoeing, and boat rentals. Annual Wildflower Walks are held in April and May, and are announced in local papers and flyers.

The best time to enjoy the trail is in April and May.

Directions: From State Highway 93 take County Rd 29 east to the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Wayne National Forest, Ironton Ranger District (740) 534-6500.

Closest Town: Pedro, Ohio.