Archers Fork Trail

#1 of 13 trails in Wayne National Forest
Archers Fork Trail is a 9.3 mile loop trail located near New Matamoras, Ohio that features a cave and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking & mountain biking and is accessible from April until October.

9.3 miles Loop
hiking mountain biking cave forest
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Joseph Nungesser

1 Completed1 Reviews

I arrived in the evening to set up camp, just above Great Cave. The next day I hiked the entire trail. It lived up to all the hype of the good reviews I've read. As for the bad reviews, I had absolutely no problem in staying on the trail as it was clearly marked. In a few places, the trail spoke for itself until a marker came into view a few yards up. It was great in giving terrain variances and of all the campsites I saw, they were all good.I have a few picked out for my next trek down here. Unfortunately, the graffiti was there, trash was, also. I tried taking some out. The trail maintenance, well, that comes with the territory. I did not mind it. Trees falling, brush growing...all natural occurrences. All in all, I give it a five star!

David Wadsworth

1 Completed1 Reviews

** As of 5/8/2015, there are a few fallen trees and some log/rock mini-step bridges in the northern parts of the trail that are in disarray. If you are biking this trail, watch out!

This was a good hiking trail, although there needs to be some trail maintenance performed (some trash, graffiti on rocks, fallen trees, unsafe mini-rock-bridges). All in all, this was a pretty difficult trail, especially being my first weekend backpack trip with some overweight gear. This would have gotten 4 stars if the trail was a bit more maintained. Unfortunately, due to the nearby roads, this could not get a 5 star rating. Might not be able to see the cars, but you can most definitely hear them. For the record, I only heard 3 vehicles the entire day and a 1/2 I was there.

If you plan on hiking the trail, make sure you have at least 2 full days dedicated to the trail. I had to cut my trip short since I had to work the following day (no follow-up/rest day). If you get to the trailhead late as I did, it was 11:30pm when I got to the trailhead), there is a camping spot to the SE of the "Great Cave" on top of the hill that is not marked on the map. Other than that, make sure to bring some type of water purification with you for obvious reasons, and do NOT rely on GPS (at least, a phone/tablet as gps). I never did get a GPS signal while deep in the trail; so make sure your map navigation is at least workable.

I would like to tackle this again once I lighten my load a bit.

Ed Garbash

12 Completed2 Reviews

I'll agree with Jamie below the St Patrick cemetery is just out of New Matamoras. this is the place to start easy to find . Right off the get go you can enjoy the cave and natural bridge I tried GPS and it came up as 14miles it took us about 7 hours we made a nice lunch on a large rock over looking a huge valley. Many of the camp sites were washed out along the creek. We saw one atv other than that it was very peaceful. There were a few folks out the were planning to camp. There many yellow diamonds and half the trek follows the north country trail and it is really well marked with blue paint and diamonds. This was completed on a Saturday with little difficulty the hills have a a serpentine making it easier to climb and descend.

Christina M

1 Completed1 Reviews

I'm going to start off by saying I've never been backpacking before. I've been hiking quite a bit but never had to carry a backpack. With that being said I have to say this trail was pretty challenging for me. My friend and I were planning on doing the loop but we were on a time limit so we had to backtrack the way we came in. The trip didn't start off to well. Reading other reviews we knew to look for a cemetery, however we didn't know that Archers Fork Loop shared an entrance with North Country Trail. We passed a sign that was clearly marked for NCT, not knowing that's were we needed to go we drove passed it. About an hour later we arrived back at that sign and figured we would pull in to see if there was anything that told us where Archers Fork was located. To our surprise it was there. We started our hike around 4 towards the Great Cave and Natural Bridge. By the time we got to the bridge it was raining...not prepared for that. We trekked through the rain until about 6:45 then we set up our tent. It was pouring rain by then and we were soaked with no way to start a fire. We headed back the way we came in the morning. The trails were marked very well, however we followed blue blazes better than the yellow. Yellow blazes were spaced farther apart than the blue. We smelled the natural gas every now and then but it wasn't bad. We never heard any ATV's. Overall it was exciting to be doing something new but be prepared if you're not in shape(like me). I think we did about 8 miles all together. Hopefully we can go back so we can do the entire loop. I've never wrote a review before so hopefully this makes sense.

Jamie Nentwick

7 Completed2 Reviews

COORDINATES ARE INCORRECT: STARTS AT SAINT PATRICKS CEMETARY, NEW MATAMORAS, OHIO I hiked this yesterday. It is a beautiful trail. It has lots to see. I started to the right going towards the cave. A cave, natural rock bridge, numerous rock faces with interesting rock stacks and lots of down timber are the attractions. I crossed over a few streams as well as a few roads. The trail is so well marked I didn't need a map at all. Trail is marked with yellow triangles. You will end up following blue triangles in the mix. There is a marker like every 20 feet. Hands down one of the most marked trails I have ever been on. When you come up on the north country trail and the trail that goes to scenic river on the right, you take the yellow triangle to the left, do not continue down the road. The campsites are plentiful, with a few sites that were nice and large for a group. If you bring water purifying tablets you should not have a problem finding water. There is one campsite where right down from it there is a swimming hole deep enough to swim in. All and all I am quite happy. This trail is rated difficult, and it is. Lots of ups and downs. To comment on the previous review...I don't know how he walked on lots of service roads because i only had to walk maybe 150 feet of service roads. I went on a Monday and heard no atv's at all. I smelled natural gas here and there but it was not enough to mess up the hike by any means. You do see a few roads but there is no traffic up in those back roads. Photos to come.

J. Maverick

1 Completed1 Reviews

Don't plan on trying to camp and backpack here. You'll be hearing ATV's and trucks off roading throughout the trail the majority of the time. Also, a good portion of the trail is you just walking along some roads used for the natural gas trucks. Not very enjoyable. There are only a few decent places to setup a tent, especially if you want to be off the trail and away from any roads. The smell of natural gas is also very abundant throughout. If you are looking to get away into the outdoors, this isn't the place.

FiddleGirl 67

4 Completed4 Reviews

My husband and I backpacked Archers Loop over Labor Day weekend 2013. The given coordinates are NOT for the hiking trail. Those coordinates put us over an Hour's drive out of the way. We purchased a Trail Packet from and even THAT was full of incorrect information. I would think they would have the obligation to ensure the info is correct. It's a safety issue! Use your GPS and put in 'St Patrick's Cemetery Road' as your destination. You will see the trail sign at the corner of the cemetery. The trail blazes have been *updated* and are very easy to follow. Blazes are bright yellow-orange. I think that the 4 hour time given is for the mountain bikers since there is NO way a hiker or backpacker could navigate the 10 miles of hills and valleys in that amount of time. I agree with the others that an overnight is best. There are some decent camping spots. The trail covers a wide range of terrain, from flat and straight paths to a grueling 'hill' marked with a Danger sign. You will hike on packed dirt, rocks, grass, a country road, across a river or two, a field, through tall flowers, through a swampy area.... A little something for everyone. Take the time to explore the caves and see the natural bridge and spectacular rock outcroppings! Have fun!

Josh Manson

3 Completed2 Reviews

Totally agree with Bradley's comments. Trail is poorly blazed and the trailhead is incredibly nondescript. The cemetery is your marker. Park alongside the cemetery entrance and walk down the hill on the oil road to find the trailhead.

The loop is best done in two segments. There are numerous camping spots especially between miles 4 and 6. Bradley is definitely right about the maps as well. A topo map is essential along with the ability to read it. The trail is not fully established in some areas because the trail is not heavily used. It's seems to be a sort of hidden gem of a trail. I really enjoyed the hike. Went ultralight for this one and was glad I did. The 30lb pack isn't necessary for this trail. It's an easy daypack type of hike. Only the essentials and the terrain won't be too bad. A great minimalist trail.

Will Hess

3 Completed1 Reviews

This was a fun trail, we started the loop towards to cave route at night and still found our way on trail pretty well because of the blazes every 1/10 of a mile. I think the four hour completion is a little off, maybe if you are full on sprinting without any breaks. The only confusing part was the trail combining with north country trail and the frequent encounter with oil rig roads. If you want to enjoy the view and take it in I would recommend splitting it into two days. There is an awesome camp site on top of a ridge about 2 miles or a little under 2 if you start on the cave side of the loop. If your interested in climbing bring some gear and hit up the ridges close to this campsite. I feel like its easy to stray of the trail if you don't know what a blaze looks like. If you start on the natural bridge side there is a nice campsite 5 miles in after a grueling hill marked with a danger sign. Not totally positive but I'm pretty sure the brown stakes along the trail are .25 mile markers.

Joshua Hayes

1 Completed1 Reviews

This is a tough trail. It is poorly marked. I liked that it is very remote. All trails says this is a four hour loop, maybe if you're running. Also, get maps of the area. Not only is the trail poorly marked, but so are the county roads leading up to the trail.