Challenging trails throughout Great Seal State Park transport visitors to scenic vistas of distant ridgetops and the Scioto Valley below. These very hills are depicted on the Great Seal of Ohio, from which the park gets its name. Whether it's hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding, there's a trail for everyone, including a fitness trail. The park also offers disc golf, a small camping area, and shelterhouses.
Great Seal State Park Campground offers Primitive sites, some with features for equestrian campers. It's located adjacent to Sugarloaf Mountain and has scenic views of the Scioto Valley below. Pets are permitted on all sites. Reservations are required and may be made online or by calling (866) 644-6727.
An 18-hole course is located in the Ireland picnic area. Bring your own equipment; rental equipment is not available. No fee is charged to play.
Hunting is permitted in designated areas.
Three scenic picnic areas are located in separate areas of the park, with tables and grills.
There are over 23 miles of trails are available to hikers. The terrain varies from steep to gently rolling. It is advised that horses and hikers be well conditioned for these trails. Mountain bikes and horses are permitted on 17 miles of multiple-use trails. The trails cross mostly wooded, hilly terrain with some steep inclines, and ravines. These trails are best suited to advanced cyclists.
Multi-use Trails (Hiking, Mountain Biking, Equestrian):
- Annie’s Mountain Bike Trail - 0.7-mile loop
- Bald Hill (black) - 1 mile
- Bunker Hill (green) - 2.8 miles
- Grouse Rock (red) - 1.2 miles
- Lick Run (purple) - 3.1 miles
- Mt. Ives Trail (orange) - 1.6 miles - This strenuous trail winds along Mt. Ives and provides several scenic vistas
- Rock Garden (green) - 0.5 mile
- Rocky Knob (green) - 1.4 miles
- Sand Hill (pink) - 0.4 mile
- Shawnee Ridge (blue) - 6.3 miles
- Sugarloaf Mountain Trail (yellow) - 0.8 mile - climbs through dense maple-dominated forests to the crest of Sugarloaf - Rises almost 500 feet in less than a quarter mile
- Disc Golf (white) - 1.3 miles, 18 baskets
- Spring Run (brown) - 1.9 miles, includes 10 training stations with instructions
Spring Run Trail may be used for cross-country skiing.
More to Do
- Basketball courts are located in day-use areas of the park
- Playground equipment is also available for youngsters
History & Natural Features
Great Seal State Park is located just north of the town of Chillicothe where the history of Ohio and the Native American culture shroud the land. In the mid to late 1700s, the Scioto River Valley was the home of the Shawnee. Three Shawnee towns, all named Chillicothe, were located just below the hills that comprise Great Seal State Park. North of here was the intersection of five major Indian trails. The Scioto River was utilized by the Shawnee as their primary means of transportation from one village to another. The great Shawnee warrior Tecumseh was born near what is now Circleville. Not far from the park is where Logan, chief of the Mingoes, gave his most eloquent speech ending his vengeance against the white settlers for murdering all his relatives.
The first settlers came to the area in the 1790s. In 1796, General Nathaniel Massie, a well-known surveyor and woodsman, organized the settlement of the Scioto Valley by laying out, on his own land, the beautiful town of Chillicothe. Chillicothe was the first capital of the new state of Ohio from 1803 to 1810. (The capital was moved to Zanesville from 1811 to 1812 and then back to Chillicothe until it was permanently moved to Columbus in 1816).
The park takes its name from the state emblem, "The Great Seal of the State of Ohio". The famous seal depicts a sheaf of wheat representing Ohio's agricultural strength and a bundle of 17 arrows symbolizing Ohio as the 17th state to enter the Union. The mountains and rising sun signify that Ohio was one of the first states west of the Alleghenies. The Scioto River flows between Mount Logan and the cultivated fields in the foreground. The design is said to have been the cooperative inspiration of Thomas Worthington, "Father of Ohio Statehood;" Edward Tiffin, the first governor; and William Creighton, first secretary of state. After an all-night meeting at Adena, the magnificent estate of Worthington, they viewed the sun rising over Mt. Logan and the hills of what is now Great Seal State Park, thus inspiring the scene of the Great Seal of the State of Ohio.
Ancient history is recorded in the sandstone hills that comprise 1,862-acre Great Seal State Park. It lies upon the Appalachian escarpment, a line of hills stretching across Ohio's midsection which outline the edge of the Appalachian plateau in the state. North and west of the line are glaciated plains while south and east rugged hills extend to the foothills of the mountains. This definition is obvious from the trails in the park where one can see Columbus on a clear day to the north and unbroken forested ridges to the south.
These sharply etched ridges harbor a fine stand of hardwoods. Due to the underlying rock strata, one unexpectedly finds chestnut oaks on the slopes and sugar maples on the crests of the hills where the opposite are more common. Spring wildflowers are abundant in the moist coves, while pawpaws and persimmons entice wildlife in autumn.