This Ohio Hike Takes You Through an Abandoned Village

Looking for a blend of scenic beauty and spine-tingling tales? Look no further than the Moonville Rail Trail in southeastern Ohio. Tracing the former path of the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad, this trail ventures through the eerie remnants of Moonville, a once-vibrant mining community now shrouded in ghostly legends.

The Story Behind Moonville

Established in the 1850s to support nearby coal and iron ore mines, Moonville flourished under the stewardship of Samuel Coe Moon, a local magnate. Yet, beneath its bustling facade, Moonville harbored a darker side. Isolated amid dense forests, the town bore witness to accidents, crimes, and disease, with its treacherous railroad tunnel becoming a focal point of tragedy and ghostly lore.

The Moonville Rail Trail Experience

Stretching 16 miles from Zaleski to Mineral, the Moonville Rail Trail beckons hikers, cyclists, and equestrians alike. Its diverse landscape, encompassing woodlands, meadows, streams, and hills, provides a rich tapestry for exploration. Along the way, vestiges of the railroad’s heyday — bridges, trestles, and signage — intertwine with sightings of local wildlife.

Central to the trail’s allure stands the Moonville Tunnel, a 253-foot-long sandstone passage suffused with an eerie ambiance, particularly after nightfall. Venturing cautiously, visitors may encounter bats, snakes, or spectral apparitions said to haunt its depths, echoing tales of tragic demises.

For the intrepid, the nearby ghost town of Moonville offers further exploration. Amidst dilapidated structures lie echoes of its past, including a general store, schoolhouse, and saloon, each whispering tales of bygone days tinged with mystery and melancholy.

Tips for Explorers

For those eager to embark on this adventure, consider the following:

  • Optimal Timing: While accessible year-round, autumn offers a picturesque backdrop as foliage changes hues.
  • Navigation: Given the trail’s unmarked terrain, equip yourself with maps or GPS devices.
  • Preparedness: Wear sturdy footwear, carry ample water and snacks, and remain vigilant of wildlife and hazards.
  • Respectful Exploration: Exercise reverence for private property, adhering to trail rules and refraining from littering or vandalism.
  • Paranormal Preparedness: Should you seek ghostly encounters, bring along appropriate equipment, but exercise caution and respect.

The Moonville Rail Trail promises an unforgettable journey, weaving together natural beauty with a tapestry of history and folklore. Whether seeking tranquility or thrills, venture forth into southeastern Ohio’s enigmatic landscape and uncover its secrets.

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