This rural park offers rolling woodlands and the quiet waters of Hargus Lake. Once part of the state's prairie peninsula, the park's 310 acres showcase a variety of native landscapes and wildlife. A great way to see the park is to hike the Hargus Lake Trail, which traverses the entire lake shoreline.
The park's 145-acre Hargus Lake allows the use of hand-powered vessels and boats with electric motors. One boat launch ramp provides access to the lake.
Boat rentals are available seasonally at the marina. For hours and more information, call (740) 474-9201.
Boaters may swim from their boats in designated "Boat Swim" areas.
A.W. Marion State Park Campground offers both electric and non-electric campsites. This small, pet-friendly campground has flush restrooms, ball courts, and a camp store as well as vault latrines.
Dog Swim Area
A designated non-fenced area allows off-leash access to the lake for supervised dogs.
Anglers enjoy some of central Ohio’s finest fishing at Hargus Lake. The lake has been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and channel catfish.
- Ohio Fishing Regulations
- A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
In the fall, the mature woodlands offer excellent squirrel hunting in designated areas in season between October 15 and March 1.
- Ohio Hunting Regulations
- A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
- Several picnic areas and grill sites are located in scenic areas throughout the park
- Two mini-shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis
- A marina and campground store offer limited picnic supplies
- Fires are permitted only in the grills provided
There is no swimming beach available, but boaters may swim from their boats in designated areas.
Hargus Lake Trail offers both hiking and multi-use trails. All trails are open year-round.
- Hargus Lake Perimeter Loop - 3.9 Miles, Hiking
- Bear Corn Trail - 0.6 Mile, Hiking
- Multi-use Trail - 7.3 Miles, Mountain Biking is permitted on this trail (overlaps sections of some hiking trails)
Under the proper conditions, the park offers sledding, ice skating, and ice fishing.
More to Do
Playground equipment is available in the park and in the campground.
History & Natural Features
Due to the fertile soils of the Pickaway Plains, which are said to contain the richest land in Ohio, early inhabitants were attracted to the area long before A.W. Marion was established as a park. The Adena Native Americans were among the first to settle the area 2,000 years ago.
Ancient cultures such as the Adena and Hopewell built earthen mounds throughout this area. The Hopewell are notable for the creation of ceremonial earthworks, some of which span hundreds of acres, and which were built with incredible mathematical precision and celestial alignments, a testament to their sophisticated understanding of astronomy. The ancestors of today’s modern Tribal Nations also had extensive trade networks, ceremonial complexes, and cultural influence that extended across much of North America, though their center was here in Ohio. In the 1700s, Tribes such as the Shawnee and Lenape lived in much of Ohio, including the Paint Creek Valley. The beginning of European encroachment onto Native lands led to the conflicts that many Americans are familiar with. Ohio’s historic Tribal Nations now all live elsewhere in the U.S., particularly in Oklahoma.
In 1948, construction began on the dam for Hargus Creek Lake. By 1950, the area became part of the newly created Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Recreation. In 1962, the park was renamed A.W. Marion State Park in honor of the first ODNR Director, Alonzo W. “Chick” Marion, who was a Pickaway County native.
Located in Pickaway County, the region can attribute its natural wonders to glaciation that occurred more than 12,000 years ago. As glaciers advanced over more than two-thirds of Ohio, vast amounts of rock and soil (or till) were deposited over the landscape. This till had a direct effect on the natural vegetation that occurs at A.W. Marion as the soils are very fertile.
The landscape features woodlands, plains, and prairies. The prairies, a product of an ancient dry climate, are smaller versions of the more extensive grasslands found in the western United States. The eastern portion of these grasslands extends into Ohio and is part of the prairie-forest border or tension zone. Within this zone, the grasslands increased in size during droughts, only to be re-invaded by forests during wet periods. Before settlement began, scrub oak barrens, dense thickets formed by this shrub, were common in the region but have since been cleared for raising crops.
The nearby floodplains of the Scioto River are adorned with a variety of wildflowers. Wildlife indigenous to the area includes fox squirrel, ring-necked pheasant, a variety of songbirds, red fox, and white-tailed deer.
Contact & Hours
Park Hours: 6am to 11pm daily. Visitors are permitted to actively engage in legitimate recreational activities outside these hours. If you have questions, call the park office.
Park Office: (740) 527-4008; 8am to 4pm, Monday-Friday. Winter Hours Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 8am to 4pm.
Manager: Mark Hoffhines