Situated along the historic Maumee State Scenic River, Mary Jane Thurston State Park's 105 acres offer a variety of day-use and overnight activities. The Maumee River provides some of the best stream fishing in Ohio. Boaters have access to the river while history buffs can explore the remnants of the old canal.
The park's cozy family campground offers electric sites where family, friends, and pets can camp under the stars. Primitive sites for tents (carry in equipment) are available for those who prefer a rugged camping experience. Paddling, hiking, and picnicking are other fun activities available here.
The park's archery range is located on the east side of the day-use area. Range includes both static and 3-D targets. Targets are 10, 20, 30, and 40 yards. You must provide your own equipment; field tips only — no broadheads.
Perfect for paddling, motor boats, and sail boats, the park offers one launch ramp with access to the Maumee River.
- Launch ramp located at the marina near the park office
- Kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards are available for rent at the park office
- For dock and marina information call the park office (419) 832-7662
- Seasonal rental April 1 through Oct 31
- Accessibility depends on the weather, call the park office for river condition, (419) 832-7662
Mary Jane Thurston State Park Campground offers Electric sites and Tent-only sites (non-electric; parking is not at the tent site). Pet camping is available at all sites. Reservations may be made up to six months in advance online or by calling (866) 644-6727.
Perfect for group gatherings, the park's Day Lodge, which is accessible and accommodates up to 50 people, may be reserved year-round. The lodge features electric, tables, chairs, heat/AC, wood fireplace, two grills and two picnic tables, covered porch.
Restrooms are closed in the winter, portable toilet is available for use. Located adjacent to picnic area, sand volleyball and basketball court.
Walleye, white bass, smallmouth and largemouth bass, channel and flathead catfish, bullhead, and crappie offer good sport on the Maumee River.
Designated shoreline is open to trapping and waterfowl hunting. Part of the property is open to archery hunting only, in accordance with state laws.
Two picnic areas with picnic tables, grills, restrooms and water are located along the river shore.
Located at the end of the marina parking lot, this Storybook Trail presents a children’s story in segments along a short path. As you walk the mowed path along the marina and through the woods you can hear native frogs, see turtles basking in the sun, bald eagles fishing and fish jumping from the water. The storybook presented along the trail changes throughout the year. At the beginning of the trail is a Free Little Library where you can choose to take a book home or leave one for others.
- Storybook Trail - 0.45 mile - Easy, mowed path
- Find more Ohio State Park Storybook Trails
- Find more Storybook Trails in Ohio
- Blue Trail - 1.2 miles - Easy
- Orange Trail - 0.5 mile - Easy
- Tow Path - 0.3 mile in the park - Easy, continues into the village of Grand Rapids
- Yellow Trail - 0.5 mile - Easy
- Storybook Trail - 0.45 mile - Easy, mowed path
Under the proper winter conditions, park guests can enjoy a sled hill in the campground. Trails are passable in winter.
More to Do
- Swings, basketball, and sand volleyball court
- Sauder's Village Living History Museum and Farm
- The Toledo Zoo
- Toledo Mud Hens AAA Baseball
- Toledo Metroparks
History & Natural Features
This area was a rich hunting ground for many Native American tribes. As settlers moved west, hostilities arose. President George Washington appointed General Anthony Wayne to lead forces into the area. After building Fort Defiance in 1794 at the junction of the Maumee and Auglaize rivers, Wayne advanced down the Maumee Valley. At the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Wayne’s troops defeated the Native American warriors commanded by Blue Jacket. This battle put an end to 20 years of conflict between the tribes and settlers.
In the mid-19th century, the canal building era greatly influenced on the region. The Miami and Erie Canal, which traveled north from Cincinnati, merged with the Wabash and Erie Canal south of Defiance in 1845, linking Cincinnati to Lake Erie. The canal influenced development and trade along its route.
In order to better use the slackwater at the head of the Maumee River near the community of Gilead, the state build a second dam in 1845. Previously, a smaller dam had been built across part of the river to power a mill. The citizens were outraged about the new dam, which limited water power to the mill, and one night they destroyed the dam. As a compromise, the Gilead Side Cut Canal was built, connecting Gilead with the Miami and Erie Canal, and a replacement dam was constructed. In 1855, the canal port of Gilead was incorporated as Grand Rapids.
In 1928, Mary Jane Thurston, a Grand Rapids schoolteacher bequeathed 14 acres of land to be used as a park. After several transfers and leases, Mary Jane Thurston State Park was dedicated in 1968.
During the Ice Age, the northwestern region of the state was covered by a massive sheet of ice. As the ice melted, the area from Fort Wayne, Indiana to western New York was covered by a large lake named Lake Maumee by geologists. As the ice retreated, new eastern outlets opened and eventually present-day Lake Erie was formed.
As the water drained from the state, swamps formed in the lowlands. What was once the Great Black Swamp, 120 miles long and 30 to 40 miles wide, included the Maumee Valley. The heavily wooded swamp was a barrier to westward settlement. By 1900, through the use of a major system of dikes and ditches, the area was drained. The dark soils of the old swamp became fertile agricultural lands for new settlers.
Ridges of sand or old beaches can be found from Liberty Center, Ohio northeast to Detroit. Known in Ohio as the Oak Openings, these sandy beaches were formed when present-day Lake Erie was larger. Originally, the Oak Openings were surrounded by dense swamp forests. Today, the Oak Openings area includes impressive dunes, bogs, prairies, swamp forests and a variety of unique vegetation.
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: (419) 832-7662; 9am to 4pm Monday-Friday
Manager: Katie Reimund