Dense woodlands, expansive meadows, and a shimmering 1,300-acre reservoir blend to create Delaware State Park, which is located in central Ohio, north of Columbus. Once home to the Delaware Indians, this 1,686-acre recreational area offers camping, swimming, boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing for outdoor enthusiasts.
Boating with unlimited horsepower is permitted on this 1,300-acre reservoir. Three boat ramps are conveniently located around the lake.
An accessible kayak-canoe launch is available at Southwest launch area.
A fully-equipped marina offers daily boat rentals, overnight dock rentals, fuel, fishing, and boating supplies. Call 740-363-6102 for more information.
Dock rentals are offered seasonally. Boat camping is permitted at the main marina and southwest docks.
Lifejacket loaner boards are available at the main marina and southwest docks.
Delaware's heavily wooded campground offers more than 200 electric sites including four with ADA features. Pets are permitted on all sites.
Reserve online or by calling (866) 644-6727.
Dog Park and Dog Swim Area
A fenced dog park area near the campgrounds offers a place for your pets to frolic without a leash and an additional fenced dog park and swim area is available near the public beach.
The park has a 36-hole disc golf course plus one practice hole. Equipment rental is available and there is no fee to play.
Delaware Reservoir offers excellent catches of crappie, muskie, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. A small pond near the marina offers fishing specifically for children 15 years old and younger.
A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
Waterfowl hunting is popular at Delaware. Duck blinds are issued by a lottery drawing. Bow hunting and trapping is allowed in designated areas of the park. Only waterfowl hunting is allowed on Sundays.
Hunting for all legal game, seven days a week, is permitted in the adjacent wildlife area. Maps indicating hunting areas are available at the park office or download a copy below. A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
The adjacent wildlife area also hosts a public rifle and archery range.
Eight picnic areas are located in quiet, scenic spots overlooking the lake. Tables and grills
An 800-foot public beach is popular with park visitors. Facilities include picnic pavilion, playground and modern restrooms. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach.
Pets are not permitted on the beach. (See dog park and swim area, above)
Two boat/swim areas are designated on the lake.
Visit BeachGuard to check on water quality alerts from the Ohio Department of Health.
Five hiking trails connect the lakeshore with each of the four camping areas, transecting meadows, woodlands, and wetlands plus one trail along the dam:
- Big Foot Trail - 1.5 Miles - Easy
- Fisherman Trail - 1/4 Mile - Easy
- Lakeview Trail - 1.6 Miles - Easy
- Briar Patch Trail - 1.5 Miles - Easy
- Mink Run Trail - 1 Mile - Easy
- Dam Trail - 1 Mile - Easy
Birdwatching is popular here as many species of songbirds nest in the area. A bluebird management trail attracts this beautiful cavity-nesting bird.
Under the proper conditions, park visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing on all of the hiking trails, sledding, and ice fishing.
More to Do
History & Natural Features
The town, county, and park of this area are all named for the Delaware tribe. These people were referred to by other Native Americans as Na-Be-Naugh-a or "people from the east." They moved westward from their ancestral home in the Delaware Valley to escape pressure exerted upon them by the fierce Iroquois nation. The tribe assumed the name of Delaware, derived from the designation of their eastern valley. The word originates from the name of Lord Delaware, once the governor of Virginia.
In Ohio, the Delaware joined with other tribes including the Wyandot and Shawnee to block the western expansion of the settlers. A reminder of this long struggle is reflected in the ruins of Fort Morrow, which is located on private property north of State Route 229.
In the early 1800s, a route near present U.S. 23 was well worn by folks destined for Lake Erie. A brick tavern, constructed in 1810, served as a resting place for the travelers. The structure was built on a small hill overlooking the valley now holding the reservoir. In response to the coming war with the British and Indians, a Captain Taylor directed the building of a palisade around the tavern. The new Fort Morrow served to protect the establishment as well as to function as a sanctuary for local settlers in case of Indian attack. Although several scares brought families to its protective cover, no actual attacks were recorded.
Delaware Lake was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the construction of a flood control dam in 1951. The flood control reservoir was dedicated as a state park later that year.
Delaware State Park rests in the midst of the fertile agricultural till plains of Delaware County. In contrast to the surrounding farmlands, the park offers a variety of natural features. The area overlies the Olentangy and Ohio Shales, with Delaware Limestone underlying the area of Delaware Dam.
Before settlement of the area, a rich beech-maple forest covered the landscape. That original forest has long since been cut, but a healthy second growth forest is preserved in the park. The woodlands and meadows harbor a diverse array of plant and animal life. Interested observers can find large-flowered trillium, wild blue phlox, Queen Anne's lace, and New England asters.
The fields and woodlots are home to the fox squirrel, woodchuck, rabbit, and white-tailed deer. The adjacent wildlife area is populated with ring-necked pheasant, while the lake and wetlands are a mecca for waterfowl.