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 draws campers, paddlers, anglers, horseback riders, and hikers to experience the region's natural splendor.
Hand powered boats and boats with electric motors only are permitted on 117-acre Belmont Lake. Seasonal boat tie-ups are available. One launch ramp provides access to the lake. Swimming from your boat is NOT allowed.
The campground has a variety of sites including electric sites, tent-only and ADA compliant sites. The campground also offers equestrian sites.
Pet camping is permitted on designated sites. A playground and mini-golf course is located at the campground.
Anglers will enjoy good catches of bass, bluegill, crappie, and trout. An accessible area allows visitors of all abilities to test their skill at fishing. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
Hunting is permitted in designated areas. Squirrel hunting is popular here. A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
Several picnic areas are located around the park. Each area provides tables, grills, water, and latrines.
A 700-foot beach 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.
Visit BeachGuard to check on water quality alerts from the Ohio Department of Health.
There are four hiking trails in the park:
- Lakeview Trail - 1.7 miles - Moderate
- Woodchuck Nature Trail - 0.3 mile - Easy
- Hawthorn Trail- Hiking - 0.6 mile - Moderate
- Hawk Trail- Hiking - 0.5 mile - Easy - accessible
- Pioneer Trail - 0.3 mile - Easy
- Blue Trail - 6.4 miles Multi-use
- One Bridle/Snowmobile Trail is a Moderate 24 miles
A special paved trail winds through the pioneer village, enters the adjoining mature woodlands, and provides access to the Antique Barn. Interpretive signs are placed along the route explaining the cultural and natural history of the park.
A bit of American history is preserved in the camp area. The Antique Barn was built in the 1800s by Solomon Bentley, an orchardman of renown. One variety of apple that he marketed was the "Bentley Sweet." The barn is now home to summer naturalist activities and historical displays.
Under proper conditions, park visitors can enjoy sledding, snowmobiling, ice skating, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and ice boating.
More to Do
- An accessible 18-hole mini golf course is located in the campground. A small fee is charged to play.
- Volleyball and basketball courts, as well as horseshoe pits, can be found at the campground and in day-use areas of the park.
- An archery range is available to the public.
- Nature center offers programs during the summer months.
History & Natural Features
This area was first inhabited by the Moundbuilders, then later by Wyandots, 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.