In pioneer times, the beech-maple forest belt in Ohio was extensive and stretched from Mansfield to Pittsburg. The West Branch area contains numerous bogs filled with buttonbush, alder, skunk cabbage, and swamp white oak. The stand of beech-maple woodlands harbor a variety of plant and animal life. Visitors can traverse the park's woods and meadows by foot, bike, or horseback via miles of scenic trails, including a link to the statewide Buckeye Trail. For visitors who prefer to spend time on the water, the large lake offers launch ramps, dock rentals, a marina, and two boat swimming areas. Other facilities include a full-service campground 18-hole disc golf course, and a dog park.
The 2,650-acre lake is designated for unlimited horsepower. A no-wake zone extends 300 feet from all shorelines. The entire area west of Rock Spring Road causeway is also a no-wake zone.
Boat rentals, gasoline and supplies are available at the marina.Five launch ramps provide access to the lake, one within the campground. Dock are rented seasonally. Dock 9 is wheelchair accessible. A life jacket loaner board is found at the west boat ramp.
There are two boat swimming areas. They are located in Silver Creek Bay, southwest of the beach, and Jay Lake, across from the campground boat ramp.
Call 866-OHIOPARKS or reserve online
- Sites include full hook-up, 50-amp electric, full hook-up, and non-eletric sites
- Pets are permitted at all sites.
- Heated showers, flush toilets, laundry facilities, and a trailer dump station
- Small beach and boat launch in campground. Some lakeside sites offer carry-in boating access.
- Campground office loans games and sporting equipment to registered campers.
An 18-hole disc golf course is available near the beach and a 9-hole course can be found in the campground area. Discs and bags can be rented at the camp office with a $20 refundable deposit. There are concrete pads at each tee.
Dog Park with Pond
A dog park with a swimming pond is located on Rock Spring Road just south of State Route 5.
Year-round fishing at West Branch offers large and smallmouth bass, walleye, crappie, bluegill, catfish, and trophy-class muskellunge. Fishing access is available at three paved and two gravel launch areas as well as numerous shoreline access points. A wheelchair-accessible fishing pier is located by the marina. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
The park is open for hunting, in season, with small game, waterfowl, and deer being most common. The northeastern section of the park, bound on the west by Rock Spring Road and on the south by the lakeshore, is closed to hunting. This no-hunting area includes the park office, camp area, horse camp, picnic areas, beach, marina, dam, and East Boat Ramp. A 400-foot no hunting/safety zone extends from all other developed facilities. Hunting is limited to shotguns and primitive implements for most game. Target shooting is prohibited. A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
The park offers non-electric picnic areas are situated in scenic locations around the lake, and reservable shelterhouses are available.
The park features a 700-foot sand beach. A beach house has restrooms with changing booths, a snack vending area, and outside showers. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are NOT allowed on swimming beaches.
- 14 miles of hiking trails. A portion of the state's Buckeye Trail passes through the park and is linked to the campground by a 2-mile spur trail.
- 20 miles of bridle trails traverse woodlands and meadows. Riders must provide their own horses.
- Seasonal mountain biking is permitted on snowmobile trails and designated single track trail. After leaving the parking area and riding up to Cable Line Road, there are six loops that provide approximately 12 miles of single track and double track.
Under the proper winter conditions, park guests can enjoy cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and ice boating. In addition, extensive snowmobile trails start at the west boat ramp.
More to Do
- Volleyball court
History & Natural Features
West Branch State Park is located on the west branch of the Mahoning River in Portage County. The river was named for the Delaware Tribe word mahonink meaning "at the salt lick." In early days, a salt works was located southeast of present-day Warren along the river. The salt, which attracted a variety of wildlife, was harvested by Indians and early settlers.
At the west end of the park is a crossroads known as Campbellsport, named for Captain John Campbell who mustered militia for the War of 1812 at the site and then marched them on Cleveland. Captain Campbell originally came to the area in 1805 as a surveyor and land agent for proprietor Samuel Hinckley. Captain Campbell also served as Portage County sheriff from 1810 to 1813. He constructed what is said to be the oldest brick land-office building in Ohio (circa 1810). Prior to the flooding of the reservoir, this building was moved to a site at the Portage County Historical Society where it has been preserved and restored.
In 1965, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed construction of the Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir. The reservoir was developed for flood control, water supply, recreation and fish and wildlife management. West Branch State Park was formally opened surrounding the reservoir in 1966.
West Branch State Park in Portage County is situated on the glaciated plateau of northeastern Ohio. Although the land was uplifted as part of the Appalachian Mountain building process, the glaciers were able to override the gentle hills of the plateau. Huge ice blocks broke free from the glaciers and kettle lakes formed as the blocks melted. Eventually, these lakes filled with sediment leaving boggy wetlands with unique assemblages of plants. The West Branch area contains numerous bogs filled with buttonbush, alder, skunk cabbage and swamp white oak.
Another natural feature of the park is the stand of beech-maple forest. In pioneer times, the beech-maple belt in Ohio was very extensive and stretched across the plateau from Mansfield to Pennsylvania. These woodlands harbor a variety of plant and animal life. Woodland wildflowers such as Dutchman's breeches, bloodroot and trillium are found here. Red fox, skunk, opossum and raccoon find the park's habitat suitable. Songbirds occupy the leafy canopy of the woodlands while waterfowl and shorebirds dabble in the reservoir.