This Ohio Hike Takes You Through an Abandoned Village

Venture into the heart of Ohio’s wilderness and explore the captivating history of the Moonville Rail Trail. This trail winds along the former path of the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad, weaving through a landscape rich in tales of old mining towns, spectral encounters, and picturesque waterways.

Unearthing Moonville’s Past

In the 1850s, Moonville emerged as a bustling coal mining settlement near Zaleski in Vinton County. Named after local landowner Samuel Coe Moon, this community of around 100 residents thrived on supplying coal to the railroad. Isolated from the outside world, Moonville relied solely on the railway for essentials, welcoming occasional visitors like merchants and doctors.

However, Moonville’s remote location also bore witness to tragedy. Accidents were common, with poor visibility often leading to fatal encounters with passing trains. The eerie Moonville Tunnel, shrouded in darkness and folklore, echoed tales of ghostly apparitions haunting its depths, adding to the village’s mystique.

The Fall of Moonville

As the coal industry waned in the early 1900s, Moonville’s fortunes declined. By the mid-20th century, the once-thriving community had dwindled to a few families, clinging to survival amidst abandoned homes and overgrown landscapes. The last train rattled through in 1986, marking the end of an era as nature reclaimed Moonville’s deserted streets.

The Legacy Lives On: The Moonville Rail Trail

Today, the Moonville Rail Trail breathes new life into this forgotten landscape. Spanning 16 miles from Zaleski to Mineral, this trail invites adventurers to tread the footsteps of history. Whether on foot, bike, or horseback, visitors traverse a terrain teeming with natural beauty and cultural remnants.

Central to the trail’s allure is the Moonville Tunnel, a 253-foot passage steeped in legend and lore. Its stone walls bear witness to graffiti and whispers of spectral encounters, drawing thrill-seekers and history buffs alike. Along the route, landmarks like the King Switch Bridge and the Hope Furnace offer glimpses into Ohio’s industrial past, while the Moonville Cemetery stands as a solemn reminder of lives once lived.

Embark on an Unforgettable Journey

The Moonville Rail Trail promises an unforgettable adventure, blending history, nature, and mystery in equal measure. As you delve into the shadows of Moonville’s past, tread respectfully and come prepared. Bring a flashlight, for in the darkness, you may encounter more than just echoes of a bygone era.

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