Located in the Appalachian foothills near the banks of the Ohio River, 1,095-acre Shawnee State Park is nestled in the 63,000-acre Shawnee State Forest.
The Archery Range offers static targets at 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. Field tips only; no broadheads. Bring your own equipment.
Roosevelt and Turkey Creek lakes total 68 acres and each has a launch ramp. Hand-powered and electric-only motorized boats are allowed.
Rowboats, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and pedal boats are available for rental April through October from the camp store, (740) 848-5461.
A marina facility off U.S. Route 52 offers access to the Ohio River as well as 72 seasonal docks (including one ADA courtesy slip for loading and unloading) and 8 transient docks.
Black Bear Disc Golf Course is located near Turkey Lake. Park in the Beach parking lot.
Two well-stocked lakes provide good catches of largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie and trout. A trout derby is held annually (4th Saturday in April) at Turkey Creek Lake.
Hunting is NOT permitted in the state park but is allowed in the adjacent state forest.
Several picnic areas with tables and grills are located in many secluded and scenic areas of the park. All areas are Carry-in, Carry-out; no trash cans are available.
Three shelterhouses and a Marina Room are available for reservation online or by calling (866) 644-6727.
Public beaches are situated on both Roosevelt Lake and Turkey Creek Lake. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach; the beaches are unguarded. Pets are NOT allowed on swimming beaches.
- BeachGuard — Water quality advisories, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from Ohio Dept. of Health
Many hiking trails traverse the park and the surrounding state forest:
- Lampblack Trail - 1 mile
- Lake Trail - .8 mile
- Lodge/Beach Trail - .5 mile
- Knighton Nature Trail - 2.3 miles
- Turkey Creek Nature Center Trail - .5 mile
- Park Loop Trail - 5 miles
- Lookout Trail - 1.5 miles
- Campground Loop Trail - .5 mile
- Shawnee Forest Day Hike Trail West Loop - 4.6 miles - Follow blue blazes
- Shawnee Forest Day Hike Trail East Loop - 7.2 miles - Follow blue blazes
Shawnee Backpack Trail - 40+ miles - Follow orange blazes. This trail winds through wilderness area and includes portions of the Buckeye Trail and North Country Trail. Take the 40-mile main loop, or a shorter trek around the 23-mile North Loop, or 17-mile South Loop. Back country camping is offered in 7 designated areas. Register at the trailhead in the parking area. Drinking water and latrines are provided at camping areas.
A mountain biking trail system has recently been completed. Park at the lodge and ride towards the playground/cabin entrance. Trail head is across the grassy knoll and is marked with signage. Find more details at www.trailfork.com
- High Meadow - easy - .6 mile
- High Meadow Gap Pass - intermediate - .3 mile
- Cabin Fever - intermediate -.6 mile, loop
- Horseshoe - intermediate -.4 mile
- Lampblack - intermediate - 1 mile, loop
- Down & Out - .6 mile
The park also features bridle trails in the adjacent Shawnee State Forest:
- Lampblack Bridle Trail
- Mackletree Bridle Trail
An additional 75 miles of bridle trails with 58 primitive equestrian camp sites are located within the adjacent Shawnee State Forest.
In winter, park guests can enjoy sledding near the park office on the lodge road under the proper conditions.
More to Do
- Miniature golf, located at the camp store, is open to all park visitors
- Volleyball and basketball court
- Horseshoe pits
- Tennis courts and shuffleboard at the lodge
- Geocaches and Earth Caches are located in the park
Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center offers breathtaking views of the forest and Turkey Creek Lake. There are 50 Guest Rooms and 25 Vacation Cabins managed by the lodge as well as a restaurant conference facilities.
Shawnee State Park Campground offers Electric and Non-electric campsites suitable for tents or trailers and Camper Cabins.
History & Natural Features
The 63,000 acres of Shawnee State Forest and Shawnee State Park encompass a part of the former hunting grounds of the Shawnee Indians. Historians note that the Shawnee name means "those who have silver," as the tribe conducted considerable trade in this precious metal. A major Shawnee village, known as Lower Town, was located near the confluence of the Ohio and Scioto rivers. The Scioto River provided access to the heart of the Shawnee country in central and southern Ohio.
The Ohio River was the gateway to frontier settlement in the Ohio region as well as for Indiana and Illinois. This expansive waterway, the Spaylawitheepi in Indian tongue, was the site of many confrontations between incoming pioneers and the Native Americans. The Shawnees monitored the influx of the white settlers from the line of ridges that overlooked the mighty Ohio River.
During the 1700s, the Shawnee Indians were gradually displaced as the settlers continued to build their cabins and clear land in this new and fertile country. The face of the region changed a great deal in the years to come, but through effective timber management practices by the state's Division of Forestry, Shawnee State Forest has regained much of its original appearance. Similarly, resource conservation programs coupled with wise land use practices at Shawnee State Park have assured that this 1,168-acre recreational facility will continue to maintain its natural beauty.
Lands were acquired for the park in 1922 and it was first operated as Theodore Roosevelt State Game Preserve. In the 1930s, six Civilian Conservation Corps camps were located in the area. It was at this time that many of the roads and lakes of the area were constructed. In 1949, with the creation of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Division of Parks and Recreation, the area became a state park and forest. The name was changed to Portsmouth State Park in the early 1970s, but has since been changed back to Shawnee State Park.
Several hundred million years ago, a general upheaval of eastern North America made changes in the terrain that are evident in Ohio today. South and east of Ohio, the layers of bedrock folded and buckled, giving rise to the Appalachian Mountains. The forested hills of Shawnee are a part of the Appalachian Plateau. Here, the bedrock layers were uplifted but no real distortion occurred; for this reason, Shawnee never had true "mountains." In fact, all of Ohio's hill country is a feature of stream erosion on this prehistoric raised plain and is often referred to as the foothills of the Appalachians.
The hills of Shawnee have also been dubbed "Ohio's Little Smokies." Looking toward the Ohio River, one can certainly see how the region acquired such a nickname. From the highest points in the forest, ridge after ridge appears to roll away toward the horizon in a gentle blue haze. This distinctive color comes from moisture in the air which is generated by the thousands of acres of forest.
The hardwood forest is host to a variety of flora and fauna. Wildflowers are abundant including several rare types of orchids such as the tiny whorled pogonia and the showy orchis. Forest wildlife includes white-tailed deer, wild turkey, raccoon, various songbirds and rare sightings of bobcat and black bear.