The park is a gem and the Natural Bridge is something you need to experience. I go every year but I won't take the little ones onto the bridge. It is easy to fall if you are not paying attention. For my friends that can hike a short distance we will also take the chair lift up or down. You can do both. It really depends on the weather and the trail as to how we tackle the trail. The chair lift is a small fee and well worth the view.
Cell phone signals are hit and miss down here so make sure you have a clean plan for connecting with folks prior to parting ways.
This camp ground was a federal site that was wonderful. It just had so much to do in the campground and near by as well. We went to look at the light house, sand dunes, lake, beach, and even rode the train into Chicago for the day.
This was a great State Park and loved the sand dune challenge as it got us out hiking. The sand dunes were beautiful. The views were stunning on top of the sand dunes. The trail is well marked and should only be done by those in good shape. It is tricky to walk on the sand.
Zaleski has a few backpacking camp sites in the forest. Be mindful that the first one is rather close and we kept going. The other camp sites are a haul. They do provide a latrine but make sure you bring your own TP. The loop is easy to navigate but the mileage is misleading so prepare to do some extra miles.
This is your standard Ohio State Park campground. It has the usual parking, water, restrooms, camp store, and activities.
East Fork is rather nice as it has the lake and long trails. Just be prepared if you go on hikes to get turned around. The park is huge so not everything is in the campground area. If you drive around to the other side and do some of the trails over there be aware that two trails use blue blazes. They could use more blazes on the trails in general but watch out for the two blue blazes in the same area as it got us turned around.
This is great when you want to get away from the city but you don't want a long drive.
The backpacking site was a great site for new backpackers. It isn't too long but doing the full loop does let you know if your gear is working or going to be an issue. They provided fire wood for the site. it is a tricky site to reserve as they only do it for a short season and in that season two weekend a month to avoid over use. The bridge was a lot of fun but I did slip on it in the rain as it was hard to get traction on the wood. I cannot wait to return to the site in the fall. Each site has it's own personality we picked the further out sites of 6 as less foot traffic by park visitors.
We enjoyed the history at this state park. I enjoyed learning about the salt making process and also Daniel Boone. They had a lovely museum for a small fee. They even have a fort on the property that we found on one of our hikes. The camp sites are ample size and do have electricity. The restrooms were good. My camp partner did hear some road noise so be sure to bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper.
The campsite was small so if you have a large tent be prepared for it to take up most of your site. The area was beautiful and had ample trees. We would have been better off splitting into two camp sites due to the size (married couple and two friends). It was a challenge to get both tents and a shelter set up on the site with the two cars as well.
I was able to also set up my hammock in the near by trees. Do explore the area as lots to do and see. The lake naturally:) but they also have a cool fire tower and cabin in the area.
This camp ground is pretty standard for Ohio State Parks. It does have a cool new sleeping option. Yurts! We enjoyed our time in the yurt. They also have trails that are easy to tackle and well marked at this park.
We were able to easily have the kids in one bed and we were in another bed. The small fridge and microwave made it easy to pull a meal together. The fan kept us cool.
Water is a short walk away and so are restrooms. You have to bring in local fire wood for your camp fires.
We rented a small cabin as we had kids with us on this trip. The cabin was lovely and fit our needs. Simple but with some amenities. I especially loved the shelter next to the cabin as that is where we would cook, arts/crafts, and I also connected my hammock to the pole. Near by restrooms and easy access to water. We were able to park about 20 feet away from the cabin so it was easy to transport everything into the cabin as it was a flat walk.
We were able to swim one day at the lake and then we bought a 1 day pool access pass the other day. This was easier to keep new "swimmers" in the toddler pool and some of us in the adult pool.
I will say that watch out for the raccoon around this cabin as they have become use to humans equal food so I had to keep a sharp eye out as they were all to willing to get into my personal space.
This was a lovely backpacking trail that is both challenging while not being too hard for new backpackers.
They provided a common cooking area between the backpacking sites. Logs to sit on and cooking surface.
Backpacking camp sites also had posts to hang your food bags from which made it easy for food access.
Latrine was very clean and well stocked. Toilet paper was available and hand gel to get your hands clean.
The Twin Valley Trail was well marked and had a variety of ravines. While you might think this is small park it actually covers around 2,000 acres. "The Twin Valley Backpacking Trail combines the existing network of trails in Germantown and Twin Creek MetroParks.These trails connect to create a longer, more integrated trail system totaling more than 25 miles " taken from their website We also used the near by river to filter some additional water for our return trip which was nice. No water or fire wood is provided as this is a back country camp site.
This is the 5 easily accessible campsites and a few are near the lake. We picked the site further away from the lake as we had little ones. We were still close enough so we could easily walk to the lake. At this camp site you can see your neighbors more and it is easier to see the camp sites.
No water so bring your own and the latrine is an old one (cement blocks).
In addition to the lake, they also had a farm on the property that was enjoyable for the kids to see the animals. You can hear some of the animals but we enjoyed this aspect.
Interesting trails here from Prairie land and to a forest with former amusement park remains. Lots to see to motivate short legs to keep hiking.
Your camping permit comes with one 2' x 2' bundle of firewood per night. Additional firewood available at checkout (+ $10.00 per 1/32nd of a cord).
This was a lovely campsite with 4 picnic tables, fire ring, and a very clean latrine. The other two group camp sites were far enough away that you couldn't hear or see them. It was a camp site that was flat enough for tents and did have trees to hang your hammock.
The nice thing about the metro parks camp sites (front country only) is that they provide a bundle of fire wood free each night and you can purchase additional bundles (See below). No water so be sure to bring your own.
Paved parking lot for the larger groups which is nice. Near by within walking distance a lake, amphitheater, and more as this was once a boy scout camp ground. Capacity is 25 individuals and ample parking.
Note: Your camping permit comes with one 2' x 2' bundle of firewood per night. Additional firewood available at checkout (+ $10.00 per 1/32nd of a cord). as this is great as it is left at the camp site in a protected spot.
We actually stayed at the lodge and it was lovely. We would hike around during the day and swim inside as it was before spring. Lots of great trails. We hope to come back and back pack one of the trails
Lots to do here and keep in mind that not all of it is right in the campground. Great place to hike to a cool bridge and waterfall. We also went to a nearby pioneer village. We even got a permit to collect fossils. Great visitor centers too.
The lodge has great food. Lots of trails and history in the area. It was a quick and easy check in to get a site. The bathroom was clean. This campground is more hilly so be thoughtful in where you put your tent. Great views. We used this for a Friday night spot and then the next day started a near by backpacking trail. I had a signal at the campground verizion. My friend did not (different carrier).