The sandstone hills of the Appalachian Plateau envelope this region of Ohio. Barkcamp State Park is one of the few places where visitors can glimpse what Ohio's forests looked like prior to settlement. The park's picturesque hills and quiet lake draw campers, paddlers, anglers, horseback riders, and hikers to experience the region's natural splendor.
The walk-through archery range just beyond the park office has ten 3D targets. Bring your own equipment. Field points only; broadhead tips are not allowed.
Hand-powered vessels and boats with electric motors are permitted on 117-acre Belmont Lake. Seasonal boat tie-ups are available. One launch ramp is on the west side of the lake near the park entrance, and a hand-launch area is across the lake near the beach. Swimming from your boat is NOT allowed.
Barkcamp State Park Campground has a variety of sites including Full Hookup, Electric, and Tent-only sites. Some are ADA compliant and some accommodate Equestrian Camping. Sherman Cabins are available. One Group Camp is available.
Anglers will enjoy good catches of bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, saugeye and trout.
- An accessible fishing area is located near the boat launch.
- Ohio Fishing Regulations
- A valid Ohio fishing license is required (16 and older).
Hunting is permitted in designated areas. Squirrel hunting is popular here.
Several picnic areas are located around the park. Each area provides tables, grills, water, and latrines.
Three shelterhouses can be reserved online or by calling (866) 644-6727.
A 700-foot beach on the east side of the lake provides enjoyment for swimmers and sunbathers. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are NOT permitted on swimming beaches.
- BeachGuard — water quality alerts, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from the Ohio Dept. of Health
- Lakeview Trail — 1.7 miles — Moderate
- Woodchuck Nature Trail — 0.3 mile — Easy
- Hawthorn Trail — 0.6 mile — Moderate
- Hawk Trail — 0.5 mile — Easy
- Pioneer Trail — 0.3 mile — Easy. Accessible (hard surface) interpretive trail, winds through the Pioneer Village, enters the adjoining mature woodlands, and provides access to the Antique Barn.
Multi-use Trail (hikers, bikers, horseback riders, joggers, snowmobiles in season)
- Blue Trail - 8 miles
Over 24 miles of bridle trail traverse the park, on both sides of the lake and through all corners of the park. There are many short loop options near the longer trails; a number of trailheads accommodate trailer parking. An equestrian day-use area is located on the east side of the lake. The Equestrian Campground has a horse wash.
Under proper conditions, park visitors can enjoy snowmobiling, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing.
More to Do
- An accessible 18-hole mini golf course is located in the campground for a small fee. Camp Store and Park Office have equipment.
- Volleyball court at the beach
- Basketball courts in the campground
- Nature Center (in the Antique Barn, in the campground) offers programs during the summer months.
History & Natural Features
This area was first inhabited by the Moundbuilders, then later by Wyandot, Delaware, and Shawnee tribes. Belmont County was one of the earliest areas settled in Ohio, and the scene of several bloody conflicts between settlers and Native Americans. Prior to the Treaty of Greenville of 1795, the nearby Ohio River was the accepted boundary between Native Americans to the north and settlers to the south of the river. Conflicts arose as land-hungry settlers began encroaching on Native Americans lands. The celebrated Indian fighter, Lewis Wetzel, was often in the region. Wetzel instigated many of the conflicts as Native Americans were the object of his mortal hate. A large boulder near the park's Antique Barn bears an inscription carved by Wetzel.
The Society of Friends (Quakers) established the first church in the area. Benjamin Lundy, a Quaker who lived in St. Clairsville, became known as the "Father of Abolitionism." He formed an anti-slavery society here in 1815 called the Union Humane Society. At one point, there were 120 miles of the Underground Railroad in Belmont County. Lundy helped produce the abolitionist paper, The Philanthropist, nearby Mt. Pleasant.
As years passed, coal was discovered and became the foundation of the area's economy. Belmont County is now the state's leading producer of coal with an estimated 5,668 million tons of coal available below the earth's surface.
Land acquisition began for the state park in 1955, and a dam was completed in 1963 which resulted in the 117-acre Belmont Lake. The park derives its unusual name from Barkcamp Creek, the former site of a logging camp where logs were stripped of their bark in preparation for delivery to the mill.
The sandstone hills of the area are part of the Appalachian Plateau, which envelops the southeastern part of Ohio. Layers of coal lie hidden within the sandstone bedrock, formed by decaying swamp vegetation millions of years ago during the Pennsylvanian geologic period. Belmont County leads Ohio in coal production; an estimated 5,668 million tons of coal lie below the earth’s surface.
The hills and valleys of the area are blanketed with an impressive second-growth forest, one of the few areas showcasing what Ohio’s original forests may have looked like. The woods support various plants, such as wild geranium, hepatica, bloodroot, and other spring blooms. Animals thrive here, including a variety of songbirds, squirrel, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey.