The limestone and shale bedrock of the Hueston Woods region provides evidence of the ancient shallow sea that once covered Ohio. Fossilized remnants of ancient marine animals are so abundant that the park attracts collectors year-round. Fossil hunting is just the beginning of the outdoor adventures found at this lodge park.
Overnight guests can choose from deluxe lodge rooms, cozy cabins, or scenic campsites.
The outdoor options are endless and include golfing, fishing, boating, hiking, horseback riding, and picnicking. Other highlights include an outstanding nature center and a charming covered bridge.
Hueston Woods Lodge & Conference Center overlooks Acton Lake and is a spacious, comfortable Resort Lodge retreat offering all the amenities. The lodge also manages a variety of Cabins in the park.
Hueston Woods State Park Campground offers Full Hookup, Electric and Non-electric campsites and a Yurt in the family campground west of Acton Lake. An Equestrian Camp east of the lake near the bridle trails has both Electric and Non-electric sites. Three Group Camp sites are located on the north side of the lake. Reservations are required for all camping.
An archery range is located near the dam at the southern end of the lake. It offers a variety of targets as well as a 3D range at no charge. Bring your own equipment; no rentals are available. First come, first served. Rules are posted on site. Picnic areas and restroom nearby.
The park is designated as an important birding area by the National Audubon Society. All of the park's trails provide excellent bird watching, however, several structures offer enhanced birding options.
- A bird blind has been installed by the Miami Valley Audubon Society next to the launch ramp.
- An osprey nesting plantform, also installed by the Miami Valley Audubon Society, is located by the launch ramp.
- The Hedgerow Project is a 14-acre managed wildlife habitat featuring native grasses, wildflowers, an observation blind, and vernal pools, along Hedgerow Road. Foot traffic is welcome on the 0.33-mile path through the area. This project was created and is maintained for the public’s enjoyment by the Shady Hollow Longbeards, Preble County’s chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
The 625-acre Acton Lake is open to boats of any motor size, but speed is restricted to “no wake.”
- Three-lane launch ramp provides access to the lake.
- A marina on the west side of the lake has a kayak launch ramp. Boat rentals (kayak and canoe rentals on a first come, first serve basis) and fuel are available during the boating season, (513) 523-8859.
- Seasonal docks are available for rent by calling the park office at (513) 523-6347.
- Courtesy docks are located across the lake at the Lodge.
Bridle Trails/Riding Arena
Eighteen miles of bridle trails are available to riders with their own mounts. There are a variety of loops and distances. The longest loop offers an overlook at the southern end of the lake.
A Riding Arena suitable for horse shows or practice is located in the equestrian camping area. It can be reserved by contacting the park office at (513) 523-6347.
The park features a 36-hole disc golf course near the Lodge. No charge; first come, first served. Bring your own equipment; no rentals are available.
The park offers a fenced 3-acre dog park. A dog swim area is located nearby.
The best fishing at Acton Lake includes largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, saugeye, and bluegill.
- Accessible fishing pier on the west shore, south of the Marina, south of the beach
- Ohio fishing regulations apply.
- A valid Ohio fishing license is required (16 and older).
Ordovician fossils can be found and collected in the park's creeks, which offer access to the fossil-rich limestone and shale bedrock.
Hueston Woods State Park Golf Course is an 18-hole, 7,005-yard, par 72 golf course located off Brown Road. Driving ranges are open from March until November.
Hueston Woods features more than 12 miles of trails.
- Sycamore Trail - 0.7 mile loop - Easy
- Cedar Falls Trail - 0.8 mile loop - Moderate
- Cabin Trail - 1.3 miles loop - Moderate
- Mud Lick Trail - 2.2 miles loop - Moderate
- Indian Mound Trail - 1.2 miles - Moderate
- Equisetum Trail – 1.0 miles loop - Moderate
- Gallion Run Trail - 0.7 mile - Moderate
- Hedge Apple Trail - 0.8 mile loop – Moderate
The adjacent Hueston Woods State Nature Preserve offers additional trails, but no off trail hiking and pets are prohibited on nature preserve trails.
- West Shore Trail - 1.5 miles - Moderate
- Sugar Bush Trail - 0.8 mile loop - Moderate
- Blue Heron Trail - 0.6 mile loop - Moderate
- Big Woods Trail - 1.1 miles - Moderate
Please note: Nature Preserve trails do not allow pets or off-trail walking
Multi-Use Trail — The American Discovery Trail passes through the park, west of Acton Lake. It is a non-motorized trail.
Hueston Woods State Park allows in-season hunting from October 15 through February 28. The park is closed to hunting otherwise.
Hueston Woods has more than 20 miles of mountain bike trails with varying degrees of difficulty. No motorized bikes are permitted. Races are held periodically throughout the season. Check the Hueston Woods Mountain Bike Trails Facebook page for daily updates and closures.
Nature Center — Open 10am-4:30pm daily
The park’s Nature Center is located near the Park Office. Open daily from 10am-4:30pm year-round, its interactive displays include the park’s history, geology, and Ohio’s native plants and animals.
The Nature Center is also home to a variety of live animals including fish, reptiles, birds of prey, and mammals. All the animals at the nature center are native Ohio species that are kept at the nature center only because they are unable to survive on their own in the wild.
Naturalists offer year-round public programming on a variety of topics. (513) 524-4250.
Many picnic areas with tables and grills are located throughout the park. All picnic areas and a shelterhouse are first come, first served.
Park visitors can sunbathe and swim along the 1,500-foot public swimming beach. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are not permitted on swimming beaches.
- BeachGuard — check water quality, Memorial Day through Labor Day (Ohio Dept. of Health)
In the proper conditions, park guests can enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, and ice boating.
More to Do
- Volleyball and basketball courts
- Hueston Woods State Nature Preserve
History & Natural Features
Millions of years ago, a shallow sea covered Ohio depositing fossil-rich limestone and dolomite bedrock. Fertile soils, left behind by glaciers thousands of years ago, created a productive land that attracted early Native Americans, including the Miami people and settlers.
In 1797, Matthew Hueston, after serving with General "Mad" Anthony Wayne in the Indian wars, bought land for a farm in Butler and Preble counties. He left a remnant of the woods standing for his descendants.
When the last of the Huestons died in the 1930s, Morris Taylor, a conservationist, purchased the woods and held it in trust, while Cloyd Acton, a Preble County legislator, influenced the state legislature to buy the land in 1941. Hueston Woods was designated a state forest, and in 1945, money was appropriated to buy additional land.
In 1952, the Oxford Honor Camp was located here, housing honor-status inmates for 12 years. In the summer of 1956, an earthen dam was completed across Four Mile Creek, creating Acton Lake. The following year, Hueston Woods became a state park. The old-growth forest was added to the National Registry of National Landmarks in 1967, and became a state nature preserve in 1973.
Millions of years ago, a shallow sea covered Ohio, depositing fossil-rich limestone and dolomite bedrock. Fertile soils, left behind by glaciers thousands of years ago, created a productive land that attracted early Native Americans and settlers. An Adena Indian Mound can be viewed in the campground and the Doty Homestead Pioneer Farm and Museum, which is open to the public, is located near the golf course.
The rich soils of the area are part of the glacial till plains of western Ohio. Early settlers cleared the dense woodlands for farming. While most of Ohio’s forests have been disturbed by clearing and other human activities, a unique stand of old timber remains at Hueston Woods. More than 200 acres of these trees are protected in Hueston Woods State Nature Preserve providing visitors with a glimpse of Ohio’s primeval forest. Stately beech and sugar maple tower above the abundance of ferns, wildflowers, and other woodland species. In 1967, the 200-acre forest was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.
Park Office: (513) 523-6347
Ken Elliott, Manager
Nature Center: (513) 524-4250; open 10am-4:30pm daily
Kathryn Conner & Shawn Conner, Naturalists