The trails are located on the property of the Wilds (http://www.thewilds.org), a 10,000 acre wildlife conservation center. With 1,900 set aside just for trails.
There are many different facets of a trail represented in The Wilds 14 miles. Rock gardens, a few logs here and there, many off camber roots, and some whoop de doo style ascents and descents. You'll find short, steep uphills and downhills here, and challenges.
Don't head out without a map they are downloadable at the joinomba.org/aoa website. Tails are marked with white poles with #'s that indicate where you are on the map.
The trailhead is located on State Route 146. It is across from the intersection of 146 and Zion Ridge Road (in the field to the north). It is around 6 miles west of Cumberland on the right, and 18 miles east of Zanesville on the left.
Summary: I am an avid rider of all of Ohio's rails-to-trails, State Parks, and Metro Parks and occasionally like to take my Trek Remedy 9.9 into the woods when the trails are dry. The Wilds was on my list of trails to ride so, since the weather was great today (07/09/2011) I headed from Columbus over east of Zanesville, and rode the trail. Having read the previous reviewers' comments I was really surprised by the overgrown condition of this trail. With a GPS in my Camelback and a freshly printed trail map in my pocket, I knew that I could navigate my way around. Without the map, I would have been lost for days. I started eastward out of the parking lot into Bumpy Hollow and up to High Wall. In the woods, the trail is easy to follow but there are alot of grassy and overgrown areas where you'll wonder if you're on the trail at all. Then, after a short distance, you'll spot some singletrack and feel better. The view down the cliff from High Wall is impressive, but I wouldn't suggest riding along the cliff as there isn't mich room for error. From there I rode the Green Trail over to the Field Loop and found that the Field Loop was a great and long single track ride through a very nice meadow. From there I rode down the Playa Trail, along the lake, and bailed out on Haul Road down to SR 146. While I was surprised by how overgrown the trail was compared to the others that I've ridden, I found that the lakes made it all worthwhile. American Electric Power surface mined this area for coal deposits and later reclaimed the land amazingly well. The lakes are only accessible to mountain bikers (and hikers) and are clean and beautiful. I just stood next to the pond on the south end of the Playa Trail and watched the fish jumping and swimming. Standing there makes you wonder if we're really allowed to be here. I plan to return in the Fall to ride the remainder of the trail and to photograph the ponds. Overall, (1) go on a sunny day, (2) bring a map, (3) prepare for ticks, and (4) enjoy being on pristine land.
Recommended Route: As above.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Lake Hope
Summary: rode this trail today (8/10/09) and they were awesome, well maintained and marked. Very easy to follow and a nice loop has orange markers. Great cliff views of a couple of small lakes. Very impressed. Thanks to the guys that are keeping trails like these up. More people should be taking advantage of these trails. I have rode lake hope and this one is right up there.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Lake Hope, drive about an hour south and hit up Mountwood Park outside of parkersburg.
Summary: This trail has some nice sections but we got lost and never really found the loop so we just ended up doing the same sections and shooting video. There is a nice little drop off that I kept hitting and eventually took the perfect spill and broke my arm...
(I haven't been here since fall of 06)
Recommended Route: Couldn't tell ya... we jsut went out and back, needs some better markers.
Other recommended trails in the same area: AEP aka Spiderville
Summary: This trail is very, very good. After having ridden it for almost a year now, I'd have to say it is one of the better trails in Southeastern Ohio. There are some good climbs, and some rocky areas. There are also a few jumps spread out throughout the course. For you out-of-towners, get the Wilds map at the AOA website. The trail can get cluttered with trees after a heavy storm, but if you go with a riding buddy, you can usually move the big trees. The West Nile area is more technical, but expect to walk in some areas due to much needed bridge repair...but don't let this worry you, there are many more miles to be enjoyed here.
Recommended Route: As far as the trailhead being hard to find, I'll put that to rest right now. Go East on SR146. Just East of MP (milepost) 31, you will get to the top of a hill. You will see a sign on the right side which says "The Wilds" Here, you will turn left into a rather shabby looking parking lot. Park your car, get your bike, and pedal East, the trail follows SR146 for a short bit. You will cross a bridge which will then take you into the trail. Once you get to the trail, you'll ride an old haul-road, which basically looks like a wide singletrack. This haul-road goes all the way through the property. The trail will turn to the left off of this haul-road...this might be where the other people have gotten lost (me too). Hope this helps.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Dillon
Conesville (Coshocton County...this trail has a LOT of potential, but I don't see it posted here to be reviewed)
Summary: Kept hearing all the hype, and was very disapponted in what I found. First, it is impossible to find the trailhead! No signs, poor parking, etc...if this is supposed to be a public trail, then make it so. Second, the trail is as confusing to ride as it is to find! Never found the technical stuff, or the climbs. I did find lots of spiders and spider webs...thousands! Does anybody ride this trail? Or maintain it? No flow what-so-ever to the ride. Wonder if the Wilds realizes that its name is being used on this travesty? On a lighter note, it does beat riding in the backyard. I have ridden Dillon, not too far away, and it is a fine example of what is possible.
Recommended Route: Turn around and go home.
Other recommended trails in the same area: So far, Dillon is about it. The AEP trail is ok, better than the Wilds, but a lot of spiders.