Located outside of the city of Athens and within easy driving distance of Ohio University, Strouds Run State Park surrounds Dow Lake and draws a mix of trail and lake users. Miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding provide scenic views from rugged trails. The lake offers boating, paddling, swimming and a shaded campground.
Boats with a 10-hp limit are permitted on 161-acre Dow Lake. There is a launch ramp located at the northeastern edge of the lake with 3 tie-up stakes and a seasonal kayak rack with rentable storage (through state park). For boat rental information, call (740) 594-2628.
There are Primitive campsites, two Camper Cabins, and a Group Camp. Call 740-594-2628 for more information.
Latrines, waste drains, picnic tables and fire rings are provided 10 sites are available for campers with pets.
Largemouth bass and crappie are taken from Dow Lake.
Hunting is permitted in designated areas. Wild turkey, gray squirrel and white-tailed deer are abundant.
Three picnic areas are found in the park. Most picnic areas have restrooms available; no restrooms are located south of the dam.
A 700-foot sand beach on the east side of the lake is open during the summer months from sunrise to sunset. Changing booths, drinking water and restrooms are available. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are NOT permitted on swimming beaches.
- BeachGuard — Water quality advisories, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from Ohio Dept. of Health
- Blackhaw Accessible Trail - 0.5 mile - limestone (no bicycles)
Multi-use (hiking and mountain biking)
- Beaver Pond Trail - 1 mile
- Broken Rock Trail - 2 miles (moderate difficulty)
- Chestnut Trail Lakeview Trail - 7 miles (moderate difficulty)
- Vista Point Trail - 1.5 miles (moderate difficulty)
- White Pine Trail
Mountain Biking (also allow hiking)
These trails wind through the state park and adjacent City of Athens' Sells Park.
- Athens Trail - 3.5 miles
- Basswood Connector - 0.3 mile
- Cucumbertree Trail - 0.4 mile
- Finger Rock Trail - 1.2 miles
- Hickory Trail - 2.9 miles
- Pawpaw Connector - 0.3 mile
- Redbud Connector - 0.2 mile
- Rockhouse Trail - 2.7 miles
- Scatter Ridge Connector - 0.9 mile
- Sourwood Connector - 0.2 mile
- Sundown Trail - 6.6 miles
- Thunderbunny Trail - 2.9 miles
- Trace Trail - 1.2 miles
- White Ash Trail - 0.6 mile
- White Ash Connector - 0.2 mile
Bridle (also allow hiking)
- Amoretto Trail
- Boogie Trail
- Cliff Trail
- Creek Trail
- Haley Trail
- Hank Trail
- Hermit Hut Trail
- Indian Mound Trail
- Lake Hill Trail
- Pete Smith Trail
Under the proper winter conditions, park guests can enjoy sledding and cross-country skiing.
More to Do
- Basketball and volleyball court
- Playground equipment
History & Natural Features
Several mounds and ancient fortifications were found in this area by early settlers telling us that the Adena Indians once lived here. In more recent history, this was home to the powerful Shawnee Nation until the Treaty of Greenville forced them to abandon their lands in southern Ohio.
The first settlers arrived in the Athens County region in 1796. Two townships of land in the area had been apportioned by the Ohio Company in 1795 for the benefit of a university. Settlers were encouraged to settle on these college lands so as to make them attractive, productive and to form a fund for the institution.
This venture led to the founding of the town of Athens and Ohio University, the first college in the Northwest Territory. Settlers came by way of flatboats from Marietta down the Ohio and up the Hocking River to an attractive bluff where the town of Athens is now located.
With the discovery of rich coal fields in the area, Athens County soon developed into one of the leading coal producers in the state. The Hocking Canal and railroads provided easy means for shipping coal to distant markets. Clay tile, brick and salt were other industries that brought prosperity to the area.
The park derives its name from the Strouds family who settled in the area in the early 1800s. The land was purchased by the state for forest conservation purposes from 1948 to 1953. The dam creating Dow Lake was completed in 1960. The lake bears the name of C.L. Dow of Ohio University who was instrumental in initiating the project.
Strouds Run State Park is located in the scenic forested hills of Athens County, in the midst of the unglaciated Appalachian Plateau. Although untouched by the vast ice sheets that moved across portions of the state over 12,000 years ago, Strouds Run displays the effects of the glaciers -- in the deep ravines and high hills -- where the valleys served as outlets for torrents of glacial meltwaters. The erosive power of these waters carved the valleys and hillsides, creating the familiar topography Ohioans know today. Large deposits of glacial outwash, primarily sand and gravel, were deposited along these streams and strongly affected the type of biological communities present today.
Sandstone, the principal bedrock outcropping in the region, is very resistant to erosion and forms the uplands and steep sides of the valleys. Twisting roads and forest trails pass through these deep ravines and lead to dense stands of beech, hickory, oak, maple and tuliptree. Seasonal displays are offered by flowering dogwood, redbud and spring wildflowers -- with fall presenting a pageant of colorful foliage. These woods are home to white-tailed deer, fox, raccoon, opossum, squirrel, wild turkey and a variety of songbirds. Woodthrush, white-breasted nuthatch, scarlet tanager, pileated woodpecker and the rufous-sided towhee inhabit the forest canopy. These rugged hills and woodlands are truly reminiscent of the wilderness that characterized the Ohio country in the days of early settlers.