Originally constructed as a canal feeder in the 1830s, Guilford Lake offers visitors serene lake views, first-rate fishing, and numerous picnic areas to gather with friends and family. Launch ramps, dock rentals, and paddleboat rentals are available to boaters. A small campground is located on a former pine plantation on the north side of the lake; it offers a swim beach and playground. The park attracts migrating waterfowl in fall and spring, and a variety of songbirds in summer.
Guilford Lake State Park Campground offers lake views and shady Electric sites. The campground also offers a separate beach for campers. Pets are permitted on all sites. Reservations are required.
Hand-powered vessels and boats with motors up to 10 horsepower are permitted on the 396-acre lake. Three launch ramps and seasonal dock rentals are available.
Kayak and paddle boat rentals are available at the campground. Power boat rentals are available from a privately-owned marina on the south side of the lake.
An annual lottery is conducted for state park dock rentals. Contact the park office for more details, (330) 222-1712.
Good catches of bass, bluegill, crappie, and channel catfish can be taken at Guilford Lake.
- An accessible fishing pier is available on the south side of the lake.
- Ohio fishing regulations apply.
- A valid Ohio fishing license is required (16 and older).
Waterfowl hunting is permitted; blinds are available first-come, first-served at the park office during the designated season. Hunting is permitted in the nearby Zepernick Lake State Wildlife Area, east of the park on State Route 172.
The park offers several picnic areas with tables and grills are located at various points around the lake.
A 600-foot public swimming beach is located on the northwest side of the lake. Facilities include a showerhouse with restrooms and changing booths. Swimming is permitted in designated areas, only. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are NOT permitted on swimming beaches.
A designated boat swim area is located on the east side of Guilford Lake.
- BeachGuard — Water quality advisories, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from Ohio Dept. of Health
A 1/2-mile hiking trail skirts the scenic lakeshore accessible off of Teegarden Road.
Under proper conditions, park visitors can enjoy ice skating and ice fishing.
More to Do
Nature programs are available during the summer months.
History & Natural Features
Guilford Lake was constructed as a canal feeder reservoir for the Sandy and Beaver Canal in 1834. An ambitious project undertaken by a private company, the canal was to be 73 miles long and would require two tunnels, 30 dams, 90 locks, three reservoirs, and one 400-foot aqueduct before it was completed. The park is named after E.H. Gill who was chief engineer of the canal company for several years. He established a road through swampy areas of the present park which became known as Gill’s Ford.
When the canal era ended, adjacent landowners breached the embankment in two places and proceeded to use the lake bottom for farmland. In 1927, the land was purchased by the state with the intent of rebuilding the reservoir. The new dam was completed in 1932 by the Division of Conservation. In 1949, Guilford Lake and Ohio’s other canal feeder lakes were the first areas to be dedicated as state parks in 1949.
Guilford Lake is situated in the glaciated plateau region of Ohio. This portion of the Appalachian foothills was overridden by the glaciers that invaded Ohio more than 12,000 years ago. Eventually, the glacial advances were blocked by the harder and higher sandstone ridges of southeastern Ohio. The bedrock materials of this area were formed 300 million years ago from deposits laid down in streams and swamps.
Natural lakes are a feature of the glaciated landscape, although most in Ohio are very small and have now aged into bogs or marshes. These bodies of water were formed by huge chunks of ice which broke off from the retreating glacier and melted in depressions forming kettle lakes.
The area surrounding Guilford Lake, before being impounded as a reservoir, was extremely swampy indicating it may have been a remnant of a natural glacial lake. The park attracts migrating waterfowl in the fall and spring and also provides good habitat for a variety of songbirds such as the red-winged blackbird, song sparrow, and eastern meadowlark. Other wildlife common to the area are red fox, raccoon, skunk, 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: (330) 222-1712; 9am to 4pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Manager: Karl Mattern