RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
Drinking Water
About Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area

Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area, named for the old Vesuvius iron furnace, is the Wayne National Forest's premier developed recreation site. The 143-acre lake and 1,200-acre complex provides the perfect spot for a getaway.


Lake Vesuvius is a popular location for swimming and fishing. Anglers may catch bass, catfish, crappie and bluegill. A boat ramp is located on-site. A swimming beach is located at Big Bend.

A large playing field and multiple hiking trails are available within the recreation area. The accessible 1/3-mile boardwalk along the southwest edge of the lake provides an opportunity for a leisurely stroll through the area, and the slightly longer 1/2-mile Longbow Archery Trail, accesses at least 25 field targets for shooting practice. The area boasts more than 25 miles of hiking trails and more than 45 miles of horseback riding trails.


The recreation area offers two developed family campgrounds, a group camp and group picnic shelters. The group campsite can accommodate up to 50 people for tent camping. It is equipped with tables and campfire rings with grills. Accessible vault toilets, showers and drinking water are provided.

Group shelters can accommodate up to 150 people. Picnic tables, campfire rings and grills are provided, as well as accessible flush toilets and drinking water. One shelter provides electricity, while the other does not. Each has access to an amphitheater.

Natural Features

The lake sits on Storms Creek, which was dammed in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The rugged hills and rock outcroppings offer a scenic backdrop for this beautiful recreation area. The historic Vesuvius iron furnace is located at the base of the dam.

Nearby Attractions

The closest town is Ironton, Ohio, less than 10 miles from the campground.

ADA Access: N

$35.00 - $52.00
USDA Forest Service
Drive In
Walk In
Hike In
Boat In
ADA Accessible
Drinking Water
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Sanitary Dump
Trash Available
Water Hookups
Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area is located in Ohio
38.5997 N
-82.6331 W
Get Directions
From U.S. Highway 52 at Ironton, take State Route 93 north for less than 10 miles to Lake Vesuvius Road (County Road 29). Turn east toward Lake Vesuvius and travel 1 mile to the recreation area.
5 Reviews of Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area
Awesome Backpacking

Great location to earn some backpacking miles. Feels quite remote, but along the trails there are shelters, bathrooms, trash reciprocals, and other useful hookups. When camping and hiking here, you feel space and distance from other campers, with the perks of established facilities.

Perfect Family Destination

This Recreation Area offers hiking trails, picnic opportunities, along with shelter house rentals for those family get togethers. The damn provides an excellent place for photos, while the lake is excellent for fishing and birdwatching. Year-round Campground with Electric, tent sites are also available. Perfect quiet area for a family day trip or spending a few days.


great place to camp and kayak. must camp 150ft from the trail. no cell service.beautiful park

Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area, Wayne National Forest, Ironton District, Iron Ridge Campground (Pedro, OH)

The Iron Ridge Campground sites are relatively close together; however, the Iron Ridge campground boasts a handful of sites that sit below the road, and, thus, offer more privacy. I didn't camp at Oak Hill, but I have explored it a few times. Even during the week, that campground was packed with campers. If you're a tent person using Vesuvius as a home base for trail hiking, stick with Iron Ridge. The fishing isn't bad at Vesuvius, but the shore access can be crowded, which has resulted in a limited number of keeper fish. The Lakeshore Trail is well-marked and generally nice, but, at times, a bit unkempt in the summer. The lake views are somewhat limited by brush and trail/lakeside growth, but there are still plenty of opportunities to get a good view of the lake. We also hiked the Whiskey Run Trail, which was short and hilly, but conveniently located right off the campground. The Whiskey Run also offers just enough lake access to let your dogs swim or to put a pole in the water. It also passes an impressive rock shelter. The very short (but rewarding) Rockhouse Trail is a right on top of the major lake action (near the boat ramps and beach area). The benefit is a nice rock house at the end, as well as interpretive signage that sheds light on Ohio's iron industry and history.

First to Review
Small wooded sites

This is a relatively simple little site with fishing, swimming, and a boardwalk. We were there in early November for the leaves and it wasn’t too crowded then. There aren’t many campsites so summer could be an issue without reservations. The camp sites were nicely spread out within the forest.