Located in northeast Ohio, the 838-acre Findley State Park was once a state forest and is heavily wooded with stately pines and various hardwoods. Popular with hikers and mountain bikers, the park’s trail system includes a connection to the statewide Buckeye Trail. The trails are lovely in all seasons, but particularly inviting during autumn and spring. The park’s forests, meadows, and quiet waters offer a peaceful backdrop for camping, boating, and hiking.
Hand-powered vessels and boats with electric motors are permitted on the 93-acre lake. Two launch ramps, each with kayak launch ramps, provide access to the lake.
- Main Boat Ramp: Located on the west side of the lake along Park Road #4. The concrete ramp accommodates larger boats; the floating kayak and canoe launch is ADA accessible. A water hydrant and latrine are located adjacent to the parking lot.
- Campground Boat Ramp: Located on the east side of the lake in the campground along Park Road #10. A concrete ramp accommodate larger boats and there is a floating kayak launch.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, kayaks and canoes can be rented Mondays and Friday-Sunday from the beach concession. For more information, call (440) 647-2870.
Findley Lake State Park Campground is large and wooded. It offers Full Hookup, Electric, and Non-electric sites; all are pet friendly. Reservations are required; online or by calling (866) 644-6727.
The park's two 18-hole disc golf courses are free to play and ranked in the top 10 in the nation. Bring your own equipment.
Anglers can fish for largemouth bass, bluegill, and crappie.
Hiking/Mountain Biking Trails
Approximately 16 miles of trails traverse the park. Hiking and Mountain Biking are allowed on all park trails as long as conditions permit. Bicycle helmets are highly recommended for riders. A self-serve bike repair station is located in the Nature Center (in the campground).
- Black Locust Trail - 0.5 Miles - Easy
- Creekbank Trail - 1/2 Mile - Easy
- Hickory Grove Trail - 1.1 Miles - Easy
- Lake Trail - 1/2 Mile - Easy
- Larch Trail - 1.1 Miles - Easy
- Spillway Trail - 0.8 Miles - Easy
- Wyandot Trail - 1 Mile - Easy
- Thorn Mountain Bike Trail - 11 Miles — Loop — Novice to Expert; clockwise for riders; helmets recommended
The Thorn Mountain Bike Trail attracts both expert riders for its technical climbs and novice bikers for its relatively flat middle section between the dam and campground area. Level terrain through heavily wooded areas as well as steep short climbs, fast winding sections, bank turns and north shore obstacles (novice riders can by-pass these areas). It can be accessed from many locations throughout the park; the official start is at the north end of the park at the dam parking lot. The riding direction is clockwise only.
The Buckeye Trail passes through the park for 1.6 miles, ranging from easy to difficult. It joins with the Thorn Mountain Bike Trail at one point.
Hunting for migratory waterfowl is permitted in designated areas of the park. Furbearer trapping is permitted in the park. Lotteries are offered for deer hunting as well as beaver and otter trapping.
Picnic tables and grills are located in several scenic areas around the park.
Two shelters can be reserved online or by calling (866) 644-6727. If not reserved, they are available first-come, first served.
Campground Shelter: This facility sits just inside the campground with ample parking, adjacent to the park's nature center and amphitheater.
- Open-air structure accommodates 100 guests
- Fire pit and two cooking grills outside the structure
- Water and restrooms as well as a playground are available nearby.
- Guests can purchase ice, firewood, charcoal, ice cream and snacks at the Camp Store.
Picnic Point Shelter: Located on Picnic Point Peninsula on the day-use (west) side of the park. This is a great place to fish with easy access for all to enjoy the lake and the view. A short nature hike along the Larch Trail will lead you to the beach and boat rental.
- Open-air structure accommodates 75 guests
- Large fire pit and cooking grills outside the structure
- Water and flush toilets
The park features a 435-foot beach. Swimming is permitted in designated areas from dawn to dusk. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are NOT permitted on swimming beaches.
- Concession stand open Memorial Day to Labor Day, offering kayak/canoe rentals
- BeachGuard — Water quality advisories, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from Ohio Dept. of Health
In the proper conditions, park visitors can enjoy ice skating, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing.
History & Natural Features
Long before the first settlers arrived in this area, the Erie Native Americans inhabited the area now known as Lorain County. The Eries were eventually displaced by a confederation of Iroquois tribes in the early 1600s using firearms obtained from the Dutch.
In 1795, the Treaty of Greenville set aside the lands north of the treaty line as a reserve for Native Americans. Much of this restricted land had previously been granted to Connecticut in a treaty known as the Connecticut Western Reserve. The Reserve, ran along Lake Erie from the Pennsylvania border to present-day Erie County and included more than 3.5 million acres. The Connecticut Land Company, after purchasing some of the land, disputed the Indian claims and petitioned the government for the right to establish settlements on Indian lands. In 1800, Connecticut and the Congress agreed to attach the lands in dispute to the Ohio Territory as a county.
In 1807, a major settlement was established at the mouth of the Black River, which later became the city of Lorain. That same year, the Connecticut Land Company sold 4,000 acres of land of what was to become Wellington Township to four men from Berkshire County, Massachusetts. In the winter of 1818 the four men were joined by William T. Welling of Montgomery County, New York. Following an Indian trail, they cut their way through to the area that became known as Wellington.
Almost 75 percent of the buildings in Wellington's downtown district are included on the National Register of Historic Places with architecture reflecting New England influences. Many industries flourished during the mid-1800s, most notably brickyards, wagon, and carriage shops. Later, it shared the reputation of being one of the greatest cheese producing locations in the Union. Lorain County generated annually the equivalent of one pound of cheese for each man, woman, and child in the state. Wellington was also the home of Archibald M. Willard, painter of the classic "Spirit of 76." A copy of the work and many Willard originals hang in the town library.
Judge Guy B. Findley donated agricultural land he purchased in the 1930s to the State of Ohio in the 1940s to be maintained as a perpetual state forest. Findley Forest was planted by the Division of Forestry with extensive assistance from the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1950, the forest was transferred to the Division of Parks and Recreation to be maintained as a state park. An earthen dam, started in 1954 and completed in 1956, created the lake.
The bedrock materials underlying Findley State Park, principally Bedford Shale and Berea Sandstone, were formed over 300 million years ago. In most places in Ohio, the Berea Sandstone is only 10 to 40 feet thick. In South Amherst, north of the park, this sandstone reaches its maximum thickness of more than 200 feet. The sandstone quarries at South Amherst are the largest and deepest in the world.
This part of the state is known as Ohio's dairyland. Crops and cows are a common sight. In the midst of this rich agricultural area is the forest oasis found within Findley State Park. This forest is a regrowth secondary forest on abandoned farmland. It contains red maple, white ash, wild black cherry, oaks, white and red pine, and beech.
The forest floor supports a variety of woodland wildflowers including spring beauties, Dutchman's breeches, hepatica, bloodroot, marsh marigold, trillium, and woodland asters. White-tailed deer, red fox, beaver, and raccoon are just a few of the animals that make this park their home. A variety of reptiles and amphibians can be found along the lakeshore. One area of the park is set aside as a sanctuary for the Duke's skipper butterfly, an extremely rare insect.