Most of Ohio's state park lakes are manmade; the 13-acre lake at Pike Lake State Park is no different. It was dug by hand by the Ohio Civilian Conservation Corp of the 1930s. In addition to paddling and fishing afforded by the park's quiet lake, the park also offers a variety of seasonal cabins, family campground, and a group lodge. A nature center, hiking trails, shelter houses and swim beach round out the park's amenities.
Non-powered watercraft and boats with electric motors only (up to 4-1/2 horsepower) are permitted on the lake. Canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats are available for rent.
Pike Lake State Park Campground has Cabins, Electric campsites, a primitive Group Camp, and a Group Lodge that can be reserved. Reservations are required and can be made online or by calling (866) 644-6727. During the winter camping season, facilities may be limited.
The park features an 18-hole course. Rental equipment is available and no fee is charged to play.
The small 13-acre lake in the park offers good catches of largemouth bass, channel catfish, bullheads, bluegill and crappie.
Hunting is NOT permitted in the state park, but is permitted in the adjacent Pike State Forest.
Several picnic areas are located in scenic locations around the park. Grills and tables are provided.
One shelterhouse can be reserved online or by calling (866) 644-6727.
A beautiful sand beach offers a beach house with restrooms, changing areas, and outdoor showers. Swimming is permitted in designated areas; please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are not permitted on swimming beaches.
- BeachGuard — water quality reports, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from Ohio Dept. of Health
Five hiking trails are found in the park:
- Lake Rim Trail — 0.4 mile
- Mitchell Ridge Trail — 1.2 miles (connects with Buckeye Trail)
- Wildcat Hollow Nature Trail — 1.2 miles
- Greenbrier Nature Trail — 0.5 mile, self-guided
- CCC Nature Trail — 0.5 mile — Moderate
A network of bridle trails are located in the adjacent state forest; horse rentals are not available from the park or forest.
A portion of the Buckeye Trail passes through the park and adjacent state forest.
- Winter hiking
- Sledding with proper winter conditions
More to Do
Playgrounds and basketball courts are available in various day-use areas of the park
History & Natural Features
Pike County is located in an area that has many earthworks constructed by Ohio's prehistoric people. These "first citizens" of Ohio lived in the Scioto River Valley and its tributaries, appearing here sometime around 800 B.C. Known as the moundbuilders, these first human inhabitants eventually gave rise to the woodland Native American cultures--the first white settlers encountered. One tribe, the Shawnee, made this area their home and hunting grounds. They were fiercely protective of their land.
Nearby Chillicothe, the first capital of Ohio, spurred early settlement in the area. Some of the early, historic buildings still stand. Just south of the park is "Eagers Inn" built in 1797. The inn was constructed on a route that ran from Limestone, Kentucky to Chillicothe, Ohio. Limestone (now called Maysville) was an important crossing on the Ohio River. Many settlers from Kentucky followed this passage on their way to the frontier.
During the Civil War, only one advance was ever made by the Confederate Army into Ohio. General John H. Morgan crossed the Ohio River into Indiana, then rode with his cavalry into Ohio north of Cincinnati. "Morgan's Raiders" traversed the southern portion of the state, passing near present-day Pike Lake State Park. Eventually, he and many of his men were captured in southwestern Columbiana County near Salineville. Less than five months later, General John Morgan and six of his men escaped from the Ohio Penitentiary and returned to the Confederacy.
Also during this historic period, the family who farmed this valley found a wounded soldier collapsed in their field. The unconscious union soldier never revived. His name, unit or hometown were never known. Today, a solitary headstone below the dam at the base of a large oak tree marks the grave of this casualty.
The present park first began to take shape during the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) days of the 1930s. One of the Ohio camps was established near the future site of Pike Lake at Morgantown. Corpsmembers dug the lake by hand, built two or three fire towers in the area, constructed the roads to make them accessible and planted hundreds of pine trees. Pike Lake was originally a state forest park, but with the formation of the Division of Parks and Recreation in 1949, it became an official state park that same year.
Pike Lake region is located in an unglaciated portion of the Appalachian plateau. As the Appalachian Mountains were uplifted, this plateau was created west of the new mountain range. The plateau marks the boundary between the hilly eastern section of Ohio and the flatter western portions. Just thirty miles west of Pike Lake, the terrain changes dramatically from forested hills to rolling farmland.
The landscape of Pike Lake is characterized by dense forests of oak, hickory, tulip, ash and other hardwoods. Several outcroppings of the sandstone bedrock have been exposed in the park.
The dense forest and remote location of Pike Lake create excellent habitat for Ohio's forest game animals. White-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, gray squirrel, rabbit and the elusive wild turkey are abundant. Other mammals in the park include skunk, opossum, raccoon and red fox. Reptiles include the box turtle, black snake, five-lined skink and the endangered timber rattlesnake.
The forest is known for its variety of ferns, mosses, lichens and fungi. The wildflowers are diverse, creating spectacular displays spring through autumn.
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) 493-2212; 8am to 5pm Monday-Friday
Nature Center: 4pm to 10pm Tuesday-Friday, Saturday 12pm to 9pm
Manager: Matt Lewis