Nestled close to the Ohio River and the Shawnee State Forest, you will find rolling hills and valleys that offer serene beauty and picturesque landscapes. Wildflowers run rampant throughout this enchanted state park, and deer, raccoons, and turkey frolic throughout the more than 1,160 acre paradise. Challenge your family members for a round of mini golf or basketball, or set out on a geocaching adventure. Cruise along one of the numerous hiking trails and or set off on a relaxing ride on the two bridle trails. Rest your head at one of the campsites offering a dump station and showers, or stay in a cabin. If neither of those are your thing there is a beautiful lodge that provides swimming pools, a game room, and breathtaking views of either the river or forest.
We took a group of Boy Scouts on a five day backpacking trek of the entire Shawnee Loop. It was a very challenging five days with a lot of up and down hills.
The entire loop is around 36 miles. There are seven campsites along the trail, and all but one has water access, which was really nice on our trek.
The first day we hiked from the trail head parking lot to Camp 1. The camp was a small, secluded grove down in a valley. This made for a nice cool off from the day's heat. The camp has a large grassy area and several smaller campsite offshoots.
The second day we hiked to camp 2 and stopped for water. Unfortunately the water supply seems to have been compromised since we found leaves in the water coming from the faucet. Luckily we have our water filtration system so we quickly filtered the water and were on our way. We then hiked to camp 3 which is very close to Camp Oyo. This was a nice, large camp right next to the creek. We had tons of space. The only bad thing about this campsite was it's proximity to the main road. We heard cars going by all night.
The next day we found a beautiful view on top of the one hill just off a logging road where we stopped for lunch. There was even a picnic table. We then went on to camp 4 which, unfortunately, had been trashed. There was garbage everywhere, likely due to this campsite being close to a road. So, as good boy scouts we cleaned up the trash so that the next group could enjoy the camp. This camp was much like camp 1. Grassy area, small creek, lots of shade in the valley.
We then went on to camp five and we quite disappointed. This is barely a camp at all. It's just a long trail to a small grassy patch. Barely enough room to set up a decent camp. I think this camp has not seen much use.
When we hiked to camp 6 the next day we found the crown jewel of the trail. Camp 6 is absolutely beautiful. The camp is in a pine grove and has a substantial creek running through the middle complete with fairly large fish! Although there was no water access in camp six we were able to refill water thanks to the stream and our filters. We were very bummed to not be camping at camp six.
We then went on to camp 7 for our final night. Camp seven is just like camp 1. It's down in a cool valley with an open patch for tents and lots of good trees for hammocks.
Overall it's a good hiking trail, and very challenging. The only thing I would like to have seen more of would be a more interesting trail. Which cant be helped, really. There aren't any interesting rock formations or caves along the trail. And the views are OK. Nothing too spectacular. My thought is that you do the Shawnee trail for the challenge of the distance, terrain, etc. It's a good training trail for longer treks. I enjoyed it greatly, but don't see myself coming back for some time.
Very friendly staff. We checked in early evening for an over night on our x country trip after visiting Serpent Mound NatIonal monument. Good Tent site with electric. Good bathhouse and quiet on Tuesday.
We were told that the site we’d been assigned was room enough for 52’. Our RV is only 34’ so that would be more than enough. we got there and it was maybe 20-24” in length, with no wiggle room because one end was the park road/driveway, the other end a hill. Luckily, they did have a half dozen or so other options for us to move to. Most sites are only 30 amp electric, no sewer or water hookup, which can be typical of state parks. There is absolutely no cell service in the Campground. the lodge at the top of the hill has a weak signal, but is better than nothing if you really need to check in with outside world.
Shawnee State Park was totally without any phone signal. Right on the border of Kentucky, in Ohio, you are in the small town almost South.
Beautiful countryside, fortunately I was on Rt 125 when I lost all clue where the park entrance was. Then I saw the Shawnee Range and kept on driving. Definitely get a map because the whole park offers a lot of out door opportunities.
Backpack trail, 23 and 40 miles loops with 7 camping areas, register and enjoy. Equestrians get 70 miles and primitive camping.
The camping area is small ( a good thing ) the restrooms are clean and basic. Showerhouse and laundry. The attendant was super helpful and knowledgeable.
The hiking was beautiful and accessible - the campsites were equipped with tables and fire pits - the firewood was plentiful - but you need a car if you're going to see everything. We drove every day, which we hadn't anticipated, but once we saw what was available, we were more than happy to drive to see it! The falls and the nature were incredible and we had an incredible weekend. You'll love it - bring a nice camera! Oh, and a car ;)
Make sure to consult a map beforehand and decide what you want to see most. Your cell service may be spotty, so it's good to have a plan on the front end just in case. And if you do in the summer or early fall, bring some bug candles or bug spray.
Oh and BE CAREFUL with your gas. There aren't a ton of gas stations around, so make sure that you don't drive around and run out of gas too far from a gas station. Be aware of where they are a plan accordingly for a great experience.