The Zoar Valley Trail
Explore Two Centures of History Along the Tuscarawas River
The Camp Tuscazoar Foundation has assumed operations of the historic Zoar
Valley Trail. This scenic 20-mile trail provides hikers with a variety of
historical sites and changes in terrain from rolling hills to level paths.
The trail is anchored at the southern end by the village of Schoenbrunn in
New Philadelphia and on the north by Fort Laurens in Bolivar. The trail
passes Zoar, with an overnight stop at Camp Tuscazoar.
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may start your hike from either end. However, it is generally thought better
to start at Schoenbrunn, covering the hard surface and hilly part of the
trail in the first day. Camp Tuscazoar is the halfway point on the trail and
provides both lodges and primitive camping. Several camp sites are only a
short walk from the trail and can be reserved for your group by using our
camping reservations page
Please make your reservations several weeks in advance to guarantee a site. The
last portion of the trail travels along an abandoned railroad bed and the
Ohio-Erie Canal towpath, with a short stretch on hard surface from one to
A Trail Rich in Ohio History
was founded in 1772 as a Moravian mission for the area's Delaware Indians.
The village has been reconstructed and now appears much as it did more than
200 years ago. In this Christian settlement, Ohio’s first civil code was
drawn up and the first Ohio schoolhouse was built. A museum and trading post
are located near the village for your convenience.
Trumpet in the Land
first outdoor drama, sweeps you back in history to witness the founding of
At the corner of routes 306 and 312 sits an old cemetery. Local folklore
claims that a warlock lies buried here and his is the only grave encircled
by a low stone wall. According to legend, his head was cut off and placed at
his feet; when the head moves back up to the top of his body, he will rise
from the grave.
Dover Dam was constructed in 1936 as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal
W.P.A program, and was one of a series of dams built by the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers for the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. The dam
protects thousands of acres of crop land from flooding. Dover Dam's
construction forced the relocation of the railroad; hence, two railroad beds
can be seen north of the dam.
Dover Dam sits near southern boundary of Camp Tuscazoar, which was
established as a Boy Scout camp in 1920. Today, the camp is maintained by
the Camp Tuscazoar Foundation for the benefit of area youth. The camp
consists of nearly 500 acres of heavy woods and deep ravines. The high
points at either end of the camp overlooking the Tuscarawas River were
Native American lookouts. The Zoarites mined iron ore here and used timber
from the hills to produce charcoal for their smelting operations and for
lumber. At the north end of the camp just below Pioneer Point, you will find
an Indian head, arrow and locomotive on the sandstone rock face along the
trail. These were created many years ago by Tuscazoar scouts.
of Camp Tuscazoar, where the trail turns to County Road 83, stands the
Zoarville Station Bridge. Also known as the Fink Truss Bridge, this bridge
is the only one of its kind. Designed by Albert Fink, the bridge was
originally part of the three-span bridge over the Tuscarawas River in Dover.
This span was moved to its present site over One Leg Creek, now called
Conotton Creek, when the bridge was replaced in 1905. Acquired by the Camp
Tuscazoar Foundation in 1996, this interesting architectural treasure has
become the newest camp landmark. Restoration efforts began shortly after the
bridge was acquired; it was re-assembled and re-opened in 2007 and is listed
National Register of Historic Places
small village was founded by German separatists in 1817 after they had, with
the aid of Quakers, purchased 5,500 acres of land along the Tuscarawas
River. To pay off the purchase, the Zoarites contracted with the State of
Ohio to dig the portion of the Ohio-Erie Canal that passed through their
land. The society disbanded in 1898, with each member receiving land, house
and possessions. The village is only a short distance from the trail and
makes a wonderful rest spot to have lunch and take a walking tour of the
town. Near the village, beyond the old county bridge, you will find the
remains of a state fish hatchery which was abandoned after repeated problems
prevented a large-scale propagation of smallmouth bass.
Nestled between the historic Village of Zoar and the Tuscarawas River lies
an 82 acre wetland owned by the Earth Action Partnership. Their goal is to
interpret the wetland as an Arboretum by planting, identifying and
maintaining a large variety of trees, plants and flowers for public
education and enjoyment. They offer tree trimming, planting, and
identification workshops. A picnic shelter sits on the foundation of the
original 1830's Zoar Brewery. The shelter and patio offers a spectacular
view of the wetland.
The old Route 82 Bridge at Zoar was erected in 1883 by the Wrought Iron
Bridge Company of Canton, which was later absorbed by the Pennsylvania-based
American Bridge Company. It is a three-span Pratt through-truss with
separate spans of 86 feet and an overall length of 265 feet. This bridge was
faithfully restored in 2004 for use on the Zoar Valley Trail as a pedestrian
bridge. Photo 9/2007 rj.
Between Route 800 and Fort Laurens, the Zoar Valley Trail follows the
towpath of the Ohio-Erie Canal. This canal was completed in 1832 and
operated until the 1913 flood destroyed major portions of it. Above Zoar are
several canal locks that were used to raise and lower the canal boats as
they traveled the canal. Try to imagine the labor it took to dig the canal
by hand after looking at the depth of the locks.
Col. Henry Bouquet's 13th Encampment sat here on a bluff overlooking the
trail. Nearby, the white prisoners who had been captured by the Indians
began to be released. According to Col. Bouquet's orderly
book, on October 17, 1764 "two
Beaver) . . . delivered 18 white prisoners and 83 small sticks,
expressing the number of other prisoners which they had in their possession,
and promised to bring in as soon as possible."
camped here for one week, from Monday, October 15 through Monday, October
Laurens was the westernmost Revolutionary War fort. A contingent of soldiers
under the command of General
built the fort during the winter of 1778. With the withdrawal
of General McIntosh and the bulk of his troops, the fort was then garrisoned
by 176 men and 5 women under the command of Colonel John Gibson. Located on
the grounds are the Tomb of the Unknown Patriot and a museum.
to track the
water depth at Dover Dam. Generally, a water level higher than 875 ft.
at the dam will likely cause some flooding of the trail between Bolivar and
Dover Dam. Also, a visual check of the the trail where it passes below the
railroad trestle south of Zoar will be a good indicator. The Zoarville
Station Bridge deck begins to flood when the water level at Dover Dam
reached 884.8 ft.General Information
patch is available for those who complete the
Zoar Valley Trail.
For additional information, or to
make arrangements to hike the trail, email
To reserve a campsite for your group, visit our
camping reservations page