The sandstone hills of the area are part of the Appalachian Highlands. Nestled within oak and hickory wooded hills, the tranquil Jefferson Lake State Park offers visitors miles of rugged, multi-use trails, as well as a combination of family and equestrian camping area. Fishing, paddling, swimming, archery, picnicking and hunting are favorite outdoor activities here.
Non-motorized boats, and boats with electric motors up to 4 horsepower are permitted on 17-acre Jefferson Lake. One launch ramp provides access to the lake.
The camping area is suitable for both family and equestrian camping; tents and trailers can be accommodated. Pets are permitted on all sites. All sites are reservable on-line; there are no walk-in sites available.
- 5 electric sites
- 44 non-electric sites
- Latrines, water fountains, picnic tables, and horse tie lines are provided.
- Volleyball and basketball courts
Jefferson Lake offers great catches of largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill and redear sunfish. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
Hunting is permitted in designated areas. A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
Picnic tables and grills are located in scenic spots around the lake. Two shelterhouses are available on a "first come first served" basis.
A 200-foot public beach offers recreation for swimmers and sunbathers. Swimming is permitted in designated areas during daylight hours only. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are not permitted on the swimming beach. There is also a nearby swing set for young beachgoers.
Nearly 18 miles of scenic, sometimes rugged, multiple use trails meander through the park, challenging hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers during any season.
Hiking Trail Only:
- Campground Hikers Trail - 2 miles - Moderate
Bridle Trail Only:
- Campground Horse Trail - 3 miles - Moderate
Six Multi-use trails allow hours back riding, hiking and biking:
- Fernview - 2 miles - Easy
- Oak Grove Trail - 1 mile - Moderate
- Beaver Dam Trail - 2 miles - Moderate
- Lakeside Loop - 2.5 miles - Moderate
- Trillium Trail - 1.25 miles - Difficult
- Logan Trail - 4.5 miles - Difficult
Under the proper conditions, park guests can enjoy ice skating, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing.
History & Natural Features
The Jefferson Lake region was once the home of Logan, the celebrated Mingo chief whose family was massacred near here on the Ohio River at the mouth of Yellow Creek. This incident spurred Lord Dunmore's War in 1774.
In more recent times, the area has been home to the steel industry in Ohio. The underlying coal fields and Ohio River access have made it a focal point of this industry.
Jefferson Lake State Park was developed on 962 acres in the valley of the Town Fork of Yellow Creek. Land acquisition began in 1928. The lake and other facilities were constructed by the National Park Service in cooperation with the old Ohio Division of Conservation as a project of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. The dam was constructed in 1934 and the 17-acre lake was filled in 1946. In 1950, the area was turned over to the newly created Division of Parks and Recreation.
The sandstone hills of Jefferson County are part of the Appalachian Highlands which envelope the southeastern part of Ohio. In the sandstone bedrock can be found layers of coal which were formed by decaying swamp vegetation millions of years ago during the Pennsylvanian geologic period.
Covering the hills and valleys of the area is a second growth oak and hickory forest. Growing side-by-side with towering white oaks and shagbark hickories are stately beeches and maples, tulip trees, walnuts, elms and ashes. In spring, the park’s forest floor displays a wealth of wildflowers including wild geranium, hepatica and bloodroot. Wild turkey and ruffed grouse are dispersed in these hills and forests as well.
The forest is composed of much more than trees, although they constitute its most conspicuous feature. The observant visitor may find a wealth of wildflowers such as wild geranium, hepatica and bloodroot. The leafy canopy rings with a harmonious chorus of bird songs. Wild turkey and ruffed grouse are dispersed in these hills and forests as well. These are just a few of the natural wonders found at Jefferson Lake.