As one of Ohio's resort parks, Burr Oak State Park blends modern convenience with Ohio's wilderness spirit. Miles of forested ridges and hollows can be found here. The park offers a rustic full-service lodge with family suites and a cozy campground with easy access to the lake. A substantial trail system ranges from moderate to difficult with portions intersecting the statewide Buckeye Trail.
Burr Oak Lodge and Conference Center is a rustic and cozy lodge in the park. It offers Guest Rooms and vacation Cabins. The lodge also offers full-service amenities such as a restaurant with combined lounge and a gift shop, lobby with large fireplace, outdoor gathering areas, and views of the beautiful waters of the lake. Guests have access to a boat launch, tennis court, basketball court, miniature golf, playground, exercise room, and indoor swimming pool.
Burr Oak State Park Campground offers Electric and Non-electric sites. Some sites are Tent-only due to size or location. There are Camper Cabins, an Equestrian Camp and a Group Camp. Primitive sites are located at some dock areas around the lake.
A static archery range is near the campground. Two targets are NASP (10 and 15 meters). Four others are 20, 30, 40, and 50 yards. Bring your own equipment. Field points only; no broadheads. Bow hanger and quivers are provided.
The 664-acre Burr Oak Lake allows boating with motors of 10HP or less. Boats with motors exceeding 10HP are permitted to operate at idle speed or at a speed that does not create a wake.
- Jet drive boats are not permitted
- Seasonal dock rentals are managed by the park office
Four launch ramps provide access to the lake:
- Dock 1
- Single lane
- Marina – 740-767-3585, fuel
- Flushable Restrooms
- Rental Boats (private concessionaire)
- Dock 3
- Single lane – gravel surface
- Pit latrine restroom nearby
- Primitive camping nearby
- Dock 4
- Single lane
- Flushable restrooms
- Rental boats (private concessionaire)
- Lodge Ramp
- Single lane – gravel surface
- Lodge nearby
An 18-hole course is found near the Nature Center. No fee to play; equipment rental is not available.
The lake is well known for its catches of largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and channel catfish. Shoreline fishing is permitted, however, fishing from rented seasonal docks is prohibits-- signs are posted. Dock #4 offers a paved area for accessible fishing
Hunting is permitted in designated areas of the park, adjacent wildlife areas, and the adjacent Wayne National Forest.
One picnic areas is located near the beach and offer tables and grills.
One shelter can be reserved online or by calling (866) 644-6727.
Located near the lodge recreation area and playground, this half-mile trail presents a children’s story in segments as it winds through a deciduous forest overlooking the lake. The trail ends at the southern end of the lodge, just across the parking lot from the beginning of the trail. A free Little Library is located near the entrance. Visitors may choose to take a book home or leave a book for others.
- Storybook Trail - 0.5 mile - easy
- Find more Ohio State Park Storybook Trails
- Find more Storybook Trails in Ohio
A 500-foot public swimming beach on the north side of the lake offers enjoyment for swimmers and sunbathers. Restrooms and outdoor showers are available. The beach also has sand volleyball courts, and a picnic area is nearby. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are not permitted on swimming beaches. The beach is carry in/carry out. No trash cans are provided.
- BeachGuard - water quality alerts, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from the Ohio Dept. of Health
- Buckeye Loop - 1.7 miles - moderate. Parking and Trailhead are located at the nature center
- Campground Trail - 1 mile - moderate
- Chipmunk - 0.4 mile - moderate
- Lakeview Trail (includes South Shore Trail) - 22 miles - moderate/difficult. Follow the yellow blazes to circle the entire lake.
- Ravine Trail - 1.5 miles (one-way) - moderate
The backpacking trail is a combination of all or part of the Ravine, Lakeview, and Camp trails, and winds around the lakeshore, offering primitive campsites and drinking water at several locations along the route. Nearly 13 miles of the 18-mile backpack trail is part of the Buckeye Trail. Parking and the trailhead are located at the Nature Center.
- Red/Camp/Red Trail - 5.2 miles - moderate
- Blue Trail - 1.8 miles - moderate
Under the proper conditions, park visitors can enjoy sledding and ice fishing.
History & Natural Features
Situated in the valley of Sunday Creek, the Burr Oak area was inhabited by Native Americans and, later, by settlers who found an abundance of game animals and the resources necessary for survival in the Ohio wilderness.
Coal was discovered in the early 1800s and was mined here for many years. As mining operations expanded, mining towns grew and prospered. Few of these mining towns were as notorious as the village of Santoy.
Many colorful tales were told of life in Santoy. In the true spirit of frontier life, a gunfight was once held over a $20 debt. The street was cleared as the two participants met for a showdown. The ensuing battle left both men lying in the street--one dead and the other critically wounded. The "Old West" came to life in Ohio when the coal company payroll was robbed by bandits who made a horse-mounted getaway through the town.
A fire in 1924 destroyed Santoy’s coal tipple, an important structure used to transport coal, and several businesses. The loss was so devastating that just three years later the second mine shaft shut down. In November 1931, the 19 remaining voters decided to abandon the town. Today, Santoy is a ghost town. Only the church stands as a reminder of days gone by.
In 1950 Burr Oak Lake was created by the construction of the Tom Jenkins Dam a multi-purpose flood control project built by the Corps of Engineers. Two years later, Burr Oak was dedicated as a state park.
Miles of forested ridges and hollows comprise these foothills of the Appalachians. The woodlands support a variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, box turtles, and wild turkey. The lake’s shore is inhabited by bald eagles, great blue herons, and various waterfowl.
Featuring numerous hardwoods, the forest is dominated by stately oaks and hickories. In autumn, the Burr Oak region displays spectacular fall colors as leaves turn to deep reds, brilliant yellows, and burnt oranges. The colors of woodland wildflowers are equally as impressive in the spring when violets, Dutchman’s breeches, trillium, bloodroot, and hepatica are in bloom.