Camping Ohio  by Bob Frye

Camping Ohio Guide Book

by Bob Frye (Falcon Guides)
Camping Ohio  by Bob Frye
No other campground guidebook focuses solely on the Prairie State. Ohio offers a surprising array of quiet, out-of-the-way parks replete with lakes, rivers, rugged hills, and even rocky cliffs. Camping Ohio opens the door to these places

© 2013 Bob Frye/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Camping Ohio" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 133.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 133.

This is a relatively tiny park, encompassing just 309 acres, but that makes it perfect if your idea of camping is to go where things are quiet, relaxed, and peaceful. You can experience that here. There are opportunities to boat and fish on A.W. Marion’s 145-acre Hargus Lake, but only unpowered craft and those with electric motors are permitted, so you don’t have to worry about being buzzed by jet-powered motorboats. You can swim, too, but only in designated areas from your boat; there is no beach.
East Ringgold, OH - Campgrounds
This is a 3,387-acre US Army Corps of Engineers lake run as a state park, and it has the requisite Army Corps visitor center, so you’ll want to check that out. But there’s a lot to do outside. Alum Creek is home to the largest inland beach in the state park system—a 3,000 foot expanse—though campers have exclusive access to their own beach and boat launch, too. You can boat and hunt here, but in both cases, the park can be split into halves. North of Cheshire Road offers the best hunting for squirrels and deer, as well as quieter boating with tree-lined shores, sheltered inlets, and shale cliffs that result from water cutting through bedrock. South of Cheshire Road you can find good hunting for rabbits and upland birds, as well as unlimited horsepower boating.
Delaware County, OH - Campgrounds
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Atwood Lake Park is a big one at more than 3,000 acres. The lake itself adds another 1,500-plus acres and is the main attraction. It’s a favorite with boaters— it’s considered one of Ohio’s premier sailing sites—and fishermen who pursue largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappies, bluegills, yellow perch, northern pike, and saugeyes. Two marinas cater to all those people. You can have your boat serviced, rent one by the hour or for the day, gas up, or even get a meal. There are a few small hiking trails here, too, along with a swimming beach. In general, this park—like all those run by the Watershed Conservancy—is similar to some private operations in that it’s long on services.
Atwood Lake, OH - Campgrounds
Barkcamp is sure to appeal to horse lovers. It’s not only got an equestrian campground, but it’s home to an extensive bridle-trail system. You can circle this entire park on horseback and take lots of side trips in between. If you really want to get into the mindset of an earlier time, check out the 1800s-era antique barn built by apple farmer Solomon Bentley or wander the paved trail through the pioneer village. Signs along the way explain what you are looking at and how they relate to the area’s history. Continue exploring the past at the nearby Belmont County Museum, an opulent twenty-six- room Victorian mansion. Get details at www .barnesvilleohio .com/belmontcountymuseum. You can also boat and fish here—117-acre Belmont Lake is open to canoes, kayaks, and boats with electric motors only—or swim. The park has an archery range and, in the fall, is especially popular with squirrel hunters.
Morristown, OH - Campgrounds
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There’s a lot to recommend this park in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, with hiking and biking trails, an archery range, pioneer village, old canal locks, and more spread across its more than 2,700 acres of forest wilderness. But three things really stand out. One is the paddling on the Little Beaver Creek, a national- and state-recognized Wild and Scenic River. It features water fast enough to be fun and some outstanding scenery while cutting through a gorge with high cliffs. Another is the Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center. It’s home to full body and head mounts of various mammals, wings, skulls, a live honey bee display, and more.
West Point, OH - Campgrounds
There’s probably no fish that tastes better than the walleye, and there are few inland waters better at producing them than Berlin Lake. It’s known for its excellent fishing. Walleyes reproduce well enough here that the fishery does not need to be sustained through stocking, so you know it’s good. Access to the lake is pretty nice, as well.
Berlin Lake, OH - Campgrounds
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Big Creek Park exists because of a failed dream. In 1926 Samuel Livingston Mather bought almost 1,000 acres with hopes of creating a high-class resort. The onset of the Great Depression crushed that. But, almost thirty years later, half of his original purchase was donated to the state to preserve open space. That donation was the start of Big Creek Park. It’s grown so that today visitors can explore 642 acres of beech-maple woods, see brilliant wildflowers in spring and take in the views of scenic Big Creek, which bisects the park. A network of 6.4 miles of trails wind through the property. Some are for hiking, a couple are paved so as to be accessible to people with disabilities.
Chardon, OH - Campgrounds
Very near the hills of West Virginia, Blue Rock is much different, topographically, than the parks you’ll find in the western half of the state. This is a land of rugged hills and rich green forests. This park is but one small part of that. It looks bigger than it is, surrounded by the nearly 4,600-acre Blue Rock State Forest, but that just means there are lots of opportunities for fun. Within the park’s borders you can canoe, swim, and fish on 15-acre Cutler Lake, practice your map and compass skills on an orienteering course, or explore any one of seven trails, all of which are individually shorter than half a mile.
Blue Rock, OH - Campgrounds
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This is another park run in cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineers, which means there’s a big lake, in this case 2,120-acre C.J. Brown Reservoir. There’s the requisite marina, launch ramps, beach, and fishing piers, so water lovers will find all they need. There’s more to the park, though. It’s home to a disc golf course that’s gotten a lot of attention, as well as some nice trails, a model airplane field, a designated scuba area and, in the lake’s northernmost end, some wetlands that host a variety of birds and other wildlife.
New Moorefield, OH - Campgrounds
This is an out-of-the-way campground located near Burr Oak State Park. In fact, the 1-mile-long Lake View Trail leads from the campground to the lake, so you can stay here and hit the park without ever resorting to your vehicle. It’s a nice alternative if you’re willing to rough it a bit. This campground offers little in the way of creature comforts. But you have primitive bathrooms and water, so if you’re largely self-sufficient or willing to make do or both, this is a nice place to be. Otherwise, this campground is popular with deer hunters in the fall, as it remains open long enough to take in the firearms deer season. Hikers like it, too. It’s located along the North Country and Buckeye Trails, which run together here.
Corning, OH - Campgrounds
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Burr Oak is a pretty big park at just shy of 2,600 acres. It seems as if the folks who run it have tried to squeeze every possible outdoor activity there is into it. There’s a 664- acre lake where you can boat—renting one, if need be—without having to worry about others racing by you, given a 10-horsepower limit. The skinny, twisting nature of the lake lends itself to exploring coves and crannies anyway. There are seven trails, ranging from an easy half-mile trail in the campground to a challenging 3.4 miler. There is a bridge trail and even a 7-mile Wildcat Hollow Backpacking Trail, with a couple of shelter sites with water spaced out along the way. It’s a neat trail for breaking into backpacking. You can hike, without having to go too far, and experience this kind of camping, perhaps as one overnight piece of a weeklong stay. You can also hunt, swim, picnic, and play games. It’s truly a one-stop shop of a park.
Hunterdon, OH - Campgrounds
This is the park district’s only camping area. It’s primitive for sure, but that doesn’t keep it from being a favorite of anglers. Its location on the Maumee River makes it a premier spot for those looking to take advantage of the spring walleye migration. This is a pretty good time to look for Maumee River walleyes, too. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the walleye fishery is in excellent shape, thanks to strong year classes of young fish hatched in 2003, 2007, and 2008. Male walleyes in the 21-inch range and females in the mid- 20-inch class should predominate, with smaller fish and some as large as 28 inches mixed in. The minimum size for a fish to be a legal keeper is 15 inches; creel limits vary by season, so check the regulations book that comes with your fishing license.
Perrysburg, OH - Campgrounds
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Caesar Creek is one of the top spots for outdoor recreation in southwestern Ohio, and with good reason. It has 3,741 acres of woods and fields around a 2,830-acre lake. That waterway offers some of the best crappie fishing in the state, as well as opportunities to catch smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass, saugeyes, muskies, and more. You can get at them from a boat or 42 miles of shoreline featuring coves, stumps, and standing trees. There’s also a special pond open only to kids sixteen and younger.
New Burlington, OH - Campgrounds
Two things really stand out about Carriage Hill MetroPark. One is its historic farm. The Daniel Arnold Family originally settled this area in 1830. The farm that remains is meant to replicate the life they would have known. There’s an original log house, blacksmith and engine shops, an icehouse, poultry house, log barn, sawmill, and more. Farm animals like those the Arnolds would have raised and volunteers dressed in period clothes doing farm chores like baking bread complete the scene. A visitor center has exhibits, an interactive children’s center and gift shop, while the Carriage Hill Gallery has rotating agricultural photographic and art displays. Carriage Hill’s other unique feature is its horseback riding center. This stable caters to people of all experience levels.
Huber Heights, OH - Campgrounds
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Charles Mill Lake, built in 1935, takes in 1,350 acres and offers 34 miles of shoreline. It’s surrounded by 2,000 acres of woods and fields. That means there are plenty of nature-based things to keep you busy. There’s fishing for channel and flathead catfish, largemouth bass, white bass, hybrid striped bass—called wipers who offer powerful, bulldog-like fights when hooked—crappies, bluegills, and saugeyes. There is some hiking as well, and opportunities to hunt deer, turkeys, and small game.
Mifflin, OH - Campgrounds
This is one of the smaller parks in the Geauga County system at just 139 acres, most of it woods, with some wetlands, streams, and uplands mixed in. It’s also the park with the greatest camping tradition. The name itself, Chickagami, is a Native American term meaning “camp by the lake.” The Boy Scouts have been camping here since 1941.
Parkman, OH - Campgrounds
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This tiny park—it’s between 2 and 4 acres—is so small that it shows up on almost no maps. Nearby Walton Park does, and people looking for this one often mistake it for the other, assuming that they are in fact one place sharing two names. But that’s not the case. This is the southernmost of Greene County’s parks with camping, and the stopping point for people who float the river from camp to camp. Don’t overlook it as a place worth a visit in its own right, though. You won’t have a ton of privacy. Anyone launching a boat here will almost of necessity be in your backyard, so to speak. But for a weekend tent camping getaway, it’s nice.
Spring Valley, OH - Campgrounds
Coshocton Lake Park seems equal parts historic site, amusement park, and nature reserve. The historical part of the equation is the horse-drawn canal boat rides offered in a restored 1.5-mile section of the Ohio-Erie Canal. The Monticello III operates afternoons Tuesday–Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. There’s a fee to ride, but it’s a neat experience. The amusement park comes in two forms: an 18-hole golf course that will appeal to adults and an aquatic center for young and old. It’s an impressive facility for a county park, with twisting water slides, fountains and a playground inside the pool. Entry requires paying a daily or seasonal fee.
Tuscarawas River, OH - Campgrounds
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Cowan Lake is not the biggest in the state park system, but it can be one of the prettiest. At certain times of the year, when American lotus water lilies are in bloom, floating on the surface with their dark green leaves and bright yellow flowers, the lake is a beautiful place to paddle. These kinds of flowers are otherwise rare in such densities in this part of the world. But here you’ll know them when you see them: Their leaves can reach 2 feet in diameter.
Cuba, OH - Campgrounds
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a big one, taking in 33,000 acres along both sides of the Cuyahoga River. As you’d expect, there are a lot of things to do. One of the more interesting ways to see this park and to tie in a night or more at its campground is to use the Towpath Trail.
Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, OH - Campgrounds
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