Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area has created a regional initiative called Ohio’s Winding Road: Sharing Our Appalachia. The regional brand sponsors development of six sectors along Ohio’s Winding Road: outdoor recreation/environmental learning, cultural heritage, the arts, local foods, authentic amenities, and education/youth.
Please visit ohioswindingroad.org for more information, stories, and digital “Experiences” books!

Visit Us

Discover the tastes of homegrown foods specific to the region, wander our many secluded forests, or tour the spring beauty of historic downtowns by bike. Learn about Appalachia Ohio’s significant coal history or the native Hopewell and Adena cultures prominent to the region. Hike among the history on an interpretive guided tour or kayak along the rivers rich with native flora, fauna, and birds.

Join Us

Want to be a part of Ohio’s Winding Road? If you have –or want to create– a business, product, or experience that fits Ohio’s Winding Road’s goals, contact us! Are you…
  • Local to Ohio’s Winding Road region or very nearby
  • Dedicated to being as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible
  • Willing to be part of a collaborative network that works together so each person/business succeeds/receives resources they may need

If you answered yes, you would be a welcome addition to Ohio’s Winding Road Network. Visit Ohio’s Winding Road website at ohioswindingroad.org or email us at ohioswindingroad@gmail.com

Outdoor Recreation/Environmental Learning

Thousands of visitors flood Hocking Hills State Park every year, hiking, camping, kayaking and leaving their cabins without ever realizing the incredible recreational paradise just east of the Hocking Hills. Other than being sliced in half by the 1400 mile continuous loop trail, the Buckeye Trail, which has its headquarters in Shawnee, Perry County, Ohio’s Winding Road region is also home to Burr Oak State Park, where people can hike, fish, swim and boat at Burr Oak Lake. Rock climbing and bouldering spots are easy to find in the rolling hills and rocky forests. Birding and other wildlife enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either.

Runners and bikers race down trail near remains of Ohio’s canal system, just one example of how nature and history are undeniably entwined in SE Ohio
Ohio’s Winding Road Network aims to create collaborative networks of certified interpretive guides and other nature and recreation guides to allow for small-scale, local-driven programs and experiences, including guided hikes, tours, and nature programs for children and adults. Through the collaboration of the stakeholders in this sector, Ohio’s Winding Road also hopes to instill a strong commitment to conservation and environmental stewardship in residents and visitors to the region.

Cultural Heritage

Ohio’s Winding Road’s approach to historical preservation is similar to our approach to economic development generally: small scale. Ohio’s Winding Road is exploring the use of a public history approach to heritage preservation in this area. Public history allows for more comprehensive and people focused preservation. Public history allows locals to be historians of their hometowns and encourages moving beyond classroom walls to make history more relevant and interesting to the everyday passerby. The Southeast Ohio History Center, New Straitsville History Group, Historic Fort Steuben, The John T. Wilson Homestead, The Ancient Ohio Trail, the Underground Railroad Museum and many other historical organizations and dedicated individuals are shining examples of the type of preservation Ohio’s Winding Road encourages.

Ken Bowald as Peter Hayden
Ken Bowald, veteran interpretive guide instructor, portraying Peter Hayden, the founder of Haydenville. Through interpretive guiding, Bowald and students who come out of his course use those skills to bring our history alive

In addition to a public history approach to telling our stories, Ohio’s Winding Road Network encourages locals, non-profit volunteers, and faculty and students from various educational institutions in the area to become certified interpretive guides to gain the skills to tell Southeast Ohio stories in a more engaging way.

The Arts

Art is Appalachian Ohio has always been important. Quilting, painting, pottery-making, brickwork, woodworking, and re-purposing all have histories in this region and many locals keep those traditions alive. The post-industrial city of Zanesville has spearheaded revitalization around a vibrant arts community. The First Friday art walks in Zanesville’s historic district perfectly represent Ohio’s Winding Road’s goals of economic development, education and cultural enrichment.

flood wall murals
The Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals, which cover the 2,000 ft wall built in the 1930s to protect the town from flooding from the Ohio River. Photo by J. Stephen Conn

Around the region, locals are using their artistic talents to create new opportunities in their towns. Rendville Art Works, the Decorative Arts Center in Lancaster, Passion Works Studio, and many other organizations and individuals are committed to finding new, artistic ways to define this region.

Local Food

From ramp harvests to the annual PawPaw Festival, Ohio’s Winding Road Network is committed to local food. The Network organized Farm Crawls to show locals and visitors the bounty of local food producers in the region. Snowville Creamery, Dirty Girl Coffee, Mt. Airy Beef, Solid Ground Farm, Crumbs Bakery, Casa Nueva Restaurant and Cantina, and many other food producers in the region share our vision of sustainability.

wild ramps
Wild Ramps, a leek-like member of the onion family which many Southeast Ohians harvest and even replant

Businesses and individuals committed to quality products and community growth are integral to completing the picture of “Sharing Our Appalachia” with a vibrant, local food market that stimulates local economies and improves public health.


Tourism Related Businesses

If Ohio’s Winding Road Network effort is successful, the region will become a destination for people in the state of Ohio and beyond. The Network is meant to create an environment where locally owned restaurants, bed & breakfasts, cabins, camping areas and other businesses that will make a trip to Ohio’s Winding Road region memorable can work with one another and share resources to grow and expand. Through those collaborations between individuals in this and other sectors, Ohio’s Winding Road Network hopes to turn Southeast Ohio’s hill country into a destination people love to live in and to visit!

antler ridge cabin near stockport
Antler Ridge Cabin near Stockport, Ohio, available for rent for hunting and other recreation.


In each of Ohio’s Winding Road sectors there are a nearly unlimited number of businesses or experiences an individual could launch within Ohio’s Winding Road Network, as long as they shared some of our basic goals. The sector that bridges many gaps between different experiences, programs and businesses is Education. In heritage and guiding programs, tour guides will focus on the most engaging ways to teach visitors and residents about this incredible land and the people who have lived and worked on it. Art classes abound throughout the region and individuals practice and teach crafting techniques like woodworking, cloth work and upcycling. Individuals in our food sector have implemented many educational culinary experiences, including teaching gardening, cooking and more quirky types of food production like bee-keeping and mushroom foraging. Our outdoor recreation and nature enthusiasts never lose an opportunity to teach visitors and residents alike about the wonderfully diverse flora and fauna of this varied region.


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