Take a Fall Foliage Road Trip to Belmont County, Ohio
Fall is the perfect time to visit Belmont County, Ohio where you will find beautiful landscapes and easy to travel roads. Our scenic byways, parks, lakes, and outdoor recreational areas offer a plethora of leaf peeping opportunities! Peak leaf season in our area is mid to late October. Here are some suggestions to help you plan your fall foliage road trip to Belmont County. Go to visitbelmontcounty.com for more great trip ideas.
1. Take the Scenic Route
Belmont County is the only county in Ohio with three scenic byways: The Drovers’ Trail along Ohio 147 and 800, Historic National Road (Route 40), and the Ohio River Scenic Byway along Ohio 7.
The Drovers' Trail Scenic Byway is located in Belmont County, following State Route 800 between Hendrysburg and Barnesville and State Route 147 from Barnesville to Bellaire. It consists of beautiful scenic vistas and features historic homes, architecture and sites located on the 37-mile stretch of road. This byway connects two other Scenic Byways (the Historic National Road and the Ohio River Scenic Byway) and has a long history in transportation. In the 19th century it was a heavily traveled route vital to both travelers and farmers transporting goods to market.
The National Road holds a special place in Belmont County Ohio’s history as well as the nation's. It was the first federally planned and funded interstate highway. Crossing six states (Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois), the road linked older eastern communities with the emerging frontier settlements of the Northwest Territory. Two-hundred and twenty miles of the National Road runs through Ohio and a stone marker on the north side of every mile told travelers how many miles they were from Cumberland, Maryland, the beginning point of the highway.
The Ohio River Scenic Byway spans 14 diverse Appalachian Counties in eastern and southern Ohio. Along its 452 mile stretch you will find an appreciation for history, resources, diversity and natural beauty. From East Liverpool to Cincinnati, the byway offers travelers a variety of scenic views ranging from charming riverboat towns to provocative industrial sites. Whether you come seeking a different perspective or to discover the rich heritage of Appalachia, the Ohio River Scenic Byway will fill you with a sense of pride, nostalgia, and place.
If traveling by motorcycle, be sure to include CR 26 in your route. Full of thrilling twists and curves, it has been featured in the national publication Roadrunner Magazine.
Belmont County is also a great place for bicycle enthusiasts. The Ohio Valley Trail Association launched three Back Road Biking loops in Belmont County. The first is an 18.95 mile loop that takes you through Barnesville, Fairview, Hendrysburg, Ollivett and Tacoma. The second 25 mile loop takes you through Egypt Valley, Bethesda, Belmont and Lafferty and connects to become a larger 46 mile loop.
Viewing our 12 Art Barns is another great way to enjoy the scenery in Belmont County. Located from Belmont to Somerton, these barns include: Overall Sam, Steadfast Steed, Lovebirds, Little Red Schoolhouse, Land of the Free, Tractor, Guitars, Ohio Bicentennial, Flying Geese, Buckeye, John Deere, and Feathered Star. A barn painted by Harley Warrick, the last of the Mail Pouch Barn Painters, is located in Barkcamp State Park.
Looking for the perfect place to take a fall selfie? The picturesque Shaeffer Campbell Covered Bridge stands east of the Ohio University Eastern Campus, I-70 Exit 213, overlooking a pond and surrounded by trees.. Built in 1875 in the multiple kingpost truss style, it was once located in Fairfield County. It was donated to Belmont County in 1975 when it was damaged after a farm tractor fell through the floor in 1973.
The majestic oak trees at Epworth Park in Bethesda surround 61 quaint Victorian-era cottages at this peaceful and beautiful location. Step back in time and enjoy the tranquility of a bygone era.
The 18,000-acre Egypt Valley Wildlife Area is popular for hunting, fishing, and other forms of recreation. Deer, turkey, waterfowl, squirrel, grouse, rabbit, and dove are the most sought after species for hunting. Many of the small ponds have been stocked with bass, catfish, and bluegills by the division and offer good fishing opportunities. Hiking, bird watching, photography, and sightseeing are also popular on the wildlife area.
Bird lovers flock to the Captina Creek Birding Trail for the diversity of its wildlife. Biological studies of the creek and its tributaries have revealed it as one of the best quality streams in Ohio. It contains 56 fish species and is one of the highest scoring watersheds in Ohio for macroinvertebrate diversity. Stops include the marina at Powhatan Point, the Captina Creek mainstream at Alledonia, Raven Rocks, the south fork of the creek at Rainbow’s End, and Dysart Woods.
2. Hike Our Trails - Throw on your favorite hoodie and lace up your hiking boots. The fall colors in Belmont County make for magical hikes. Breathe in the clean, crisp air, hear the crunch of leaves under your feet, and feast your eyes on the rainbow of nature’s paintbrush across the tree-topped hillsides of Belmont County.
Raven Rocks, located near Beallsville, is a nature lover's paradise with a little-known waterfall and hiking area. Privately owned and operated, it is a true hidden gem in Belmont County. Raven Rocks was named by the early pioneers for the many ravens that nested in the overhanging ledges of the unusual and astonishing rock formation. Indians of the Ohio and Captina Creek Valley left evidence of repeated visits here for over a period of 200 years.
The county's newest trail is located at Rock River Refuge. This 2.5 mile trail features beautiful sandstone cliff faces, mature forest, and ravines and gorges. It is located approximately two miles south of Temperanceville, in southwest Belmont County. Traveling south from Temperanceville on State Route 379, turn right on McLaughlin Road (also known as Burkhart Road). You will see the trailhead signs and parking area on your left approximately .6 miles from there.
Dysart Woods, a 50-acre tract of old-growth oak forest, is the largest known remnant of the original forest of southeastern Ohio. Located near Belmont, Dysart Woods has a 1.7 mile loop trail that features a great forest setting and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and trail running.
A portion of the Buckeye Trail is located at Piedmont Lake, where you can also boat, fish, and camp amid the steep hills and wooded valleys surrounding the serene and picturesque 2,270-acre lake.
Barkcamp State Park –With 1,232 acres of rolling hills and woodlands, Barkcamp State Park is the premiere place in Belmont County to enjoy the beauty of fall. Its scenic hills and quiet lake offers tranquil camping, fishing, hiking, and paddling experiences. Barkcamp State Park offers five different hiking trails varying in length and difficulty from easy to moderate, as well as an eight mile multi-use trail.
Park Zion Retreat & RV Park in Flushing recently expanded the scenic nature trail surrounding the lake and now connecting directly to the RV park. It is dog friendly and open to the public from dawn to dusk. They offer luxury and rustic cabin rental, an RV Park, playground and other seasonal activities.
Click here for more information about hiking in Belmont County.
Belmont County’s communities each have their own beautiful parks with paved and/or gravel walking trails and picnic areas to enjoy a great fall weather day outdoors. Or take a leisurely stroll on the paved National Road Biikeway in St. Clairsville that includes a bridge with a stunning view of a cattle farm with a Mail Pouch barn, as well as fall foliage.
3. Enjoy the tastes of fall
While in Belmont County, be sure to pick up a pumpkin, gourds, corn stalks, and some apple cider at Ebbert Farm Market. This third generation family farm is located between Route 40 and I-70 near St. Clairsville, between Exits 218 and 220.
Located at 74105 Edwards Rd., St. Clairsville, County Line U-Pick offers pick your own pumpkins/gourds and pumpkin bread.
Stop for a scoop (or two) of pumpkin ice cream at Kirke’s Homemade Ice Cream in St. Clairsville. Kirke's Homemade Ice Cream has been in business since 1992 and offers 40 unique flavors of homemade ice cream. They also sell it by the pint and half gallon.
Sip on a pumpkin spice latte or other fall caffeinated beverage at Flatiron Coffee inside Three Labs Salvage in St. Clarisville or Beeology Coffee & Bakery Co. in Barnesville. Imbibe a specialty fall cocktail at one of our bars and pubs. Feast on fall comfort food at one of our locally-owned restaurants. Leave room for dessert and pick up a sweet pumpkin or apple treat from one of our many bakeries.
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