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 5-mile 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. There are courtesy docks available from April 1 through October 31. Dock rental is available. Call 740-467-2690.
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 small campground offers both electric and non-electric sites with flush restrooms and vault-latrine restrooms. This pet-friendly campground offers new restrooms, ball courts, and a camp store.
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. 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. 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 (self-guided tour of 14 points of interest)
- Squawroot Trail - .6 Mile, Hiking
- Pine Trail - .9 Mile, Hiking and Multi-use
- 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.
An ancient circular earthworks on the site of what is now the city of Circleville (hence the name) gave evidence to their presence. Later on, the villages of Chief Cornstalk of the Shawnee nation were located on these plains. These same villages were the object of attention of Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, who in 1774 marched his army within striking distance. Dunmore's intention was to destroy the villages and end the uprising that had resulted in the Battle of Point Pleasant days earlier. A peace settlement was agreed upon before any more fighting occurred.
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 (ODNR), Division of Parks and Recreation. In 1962, the park was renamed A.W. Marion State Park in honor of the first ODNR director 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 really small 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.