Rugged hills and rich green forests provide the backdrop to Blue Rock State Park in southeast Ohio. Escape to nature's solitude, and enjoy the diverse flora and fauna of this scenic 322-acre state park. The park's picturesque shelters offer the perfect setting for wedding or other special occasions.
An archery range with 10, 20, 30 and 40-yard targets is located near the camp store. It is free and open to the public. Bring your own equipment.
One launch ramp provides access to the 15-acre lake. The ramp has an accessible sidewalk with lighting. Hand-powered boats and boats with electric motors are permitted on the lake. Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and stand-up paddleboards can be rented at the Camp Store.
Blue Rock State Park Campground is perfect for families. Sites are Non-electric and latrine restrooms. The seasonal Camp Store has showers for campers and also offers supplies and souvenirs. The campground has a playground. Pets are permitted on all sites.
Bass, trout, catfish, and bluegill provide sport for the fisherman in Cutler Lake.
Bow hunting is permitted in designated areas of the park during deer bow season.
Several picnic areas with tables and grills are located throughout the park.
Three shelterhouses are available for reservation online or by calling (866) 644-6727. The Northwest shelterhouse has a very picturesque covered bridge, ideal for outdoor weddings.
A 250-foot public beach is located on the north end of the lake. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Restrooms and showers are located at the Camp Store as well as nacks and sundries. Pets are not permitted on swimming beaches.
- BeachGuard — water quality reports, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from the Ohio Dept. of Health
The park features five hiking trails:
- Beechnut - 1 mile - moderate
- Hollow Rock Trail - 0.8 mile - moderate
- Ground Cedar Trail - 0.4 mile - moderate
- Ruffed Grouse Trail - 0.6 mile - moderate
- Deer Trail - 0.2 mile - difficult
Three miles of bridle trails are in the park and link to 26 more miles of bridle trails in Blue Rock State Forest. Riders must provide their own mount.
A land navigation course where visitors can practice map and compass skills is located between the Hollow Rock and Ruffed Grouse trails. The design and course markings were a local Eagle Scout project.
Under the proper winter conditions, park visitors can enjoy sledding and ice fishing.
History & Natural Features
Years before this beautiful region was known to European settlers, the great Shawnee Nation built Old Town, the village of Chief White Eyes, near present-day Duncan Falls on the Muskingum River. For years, White Eyes was on friendly terms with the settlers including the adventurous trapper named Duncan who was permitted by the chief to hunt, trap, and trade with them. Duncan became enraged when he found game was being stolen from his traps by a band of Native Americans from across the river. Duncan began to shoot all Native Americans who meddled with his traps until he himself was shot while crossing the river at a low spot. His body was found on a gravelly ripple now called Dead Man's Ripple, and the falls at that spot are called Duncan's Falls because it was there that Duncan fell.
Rich coal deposits were discovered in the area. By utilizing the Muskingum River for transporting the coal, a prosperous mining industry soon developed.
In 1856, this area was shaken by one of the most remarkable mine disasters in history. The collapse of the mine happened about 11 a.m. on Friday, April 25, 1856. It was soon discovered that four persons were either imprisoned or crushed to death inside the mine. A dangerous rescue attempt began at once combining the greatest speed with the utmost caution possible. The rescue continued night and day with varying success. An immense crowd of people from the surrounding countryside and towns gathered at the mouth of the mine to offer help, encouragement and prayers for the imprisoned men. At 11 p.m., on Friday, May 9, after having been entombed for 14 days, the men were reached and brought to safety--alive!
To the north of Blue Rock lies the city of Zanesville, Ohio's state capital from 1810 to 1812, and a leader in the manufacture of clay products. Several potteries still exist. In 1796, Congress gave Ebenezer Zane authority to construct a road from Wheeling to Maysville, Kentucky. The point where the road, known as Zane's Trace, crossed the Muskingum River became the site of Zanesville--named for Ebenezer Zane.
In 1936, the state of Ohio purchased the lands comprising Blue Rock State Forest. Construction of Cutler Lake was completed in 1938. Blue Rock officially became a state park with the formation of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in 1949.
The origin of Ohio's bedrock materials can be traced back millions of years when the state was inundated by a shallow inland sea. Materials deposited by this sea formed the bedrock types now found in Ohio--namely limestone, shale, and sandstone. The silt and clay from these waters formed the sedimentary shale found within the Blue Rock State Park region. This blue-colored shale gave the park its name.
Before settlement of the area began, most of Ohio was in forest cover. By 1900, only 12% of the original forest remained. In the Blue Rock region, the rough terrain, poor soils, and the economic woes caused by the Great Depression forced farmers to abandon their lands allowing them to revert back to forest.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources now maintains 4,573 acres of the Blue Rock State Forest surrounding the park. The forest is dominated by oaks and hickories. In the lush undergrowth, woodland wildflowers such as trilliums, cardinal flower, and rare orchids can be found amongst a variety of ferns, mosses, and lichens. Deer, grouse, squirrel, and wild turkey are just a few of the woodland game which make the forest their home.
Hours & Contact Info
Park Office: (740) 453-4377
Dave Finley, Manager
Email the Manager