the dyrt
Leon H.
Athens, OH
Joined August 2018
Backpacker, Hiker, photographer and RV family camper.
Most Scenic camping area in Ohio

This is one of the best state parks and in my opinion the most scenic. There are lots of caves, trails, camping options and activities in the area. Be careful, however, every year someone is injured or dies going off trail, often falling from a cliff. We have camped here in tents many times over the years. The state park campground is above par compared to others in the Ohio system. The naturalists are great and run many programs even in the off seasons. Fall is the best season, the foliage is awesome. Popular with Boy and Girl Scout groups. Campground has an outdoor pool.

Backpacking haven

This is part of the Wayne National Forest and a section of the Buckeye Trail. It is a great area for backpacking as camping is free and allowed anywhere along the trail, see the web site for limitations. "Small, open fires are permitted except during extremely high fire danger. Fire rings should be used when available. Make sure all campfires are extinguished before vacating the campsite."~Wayne National web site. Water can be difficult, there are streams but you should pack in any that you need. I took my daughters on a backpacking trip here in August 2016. It is a great area, but there were lots of dead trees/widowmakers, so be careful where you pitch your tent. Pets are allowed but must be on a 6 foot leash. Many other hiking, camping and other outdoor activities are close by.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/wayne/recarea/?recid=6228

Boating and camping gem

We have camped in a tent here several times. Popular for Scouting campouts and popular with local boaters. Hiking trails are good, the lodge has been renovated, however, I have not stayed there since the reno. Fairly remote, cell service is dicey but if that is what you are going for, you will be pleased. Beautiful scenery. Fall is a good time to visit. Not much nearby in the way of supplies.

Red headed step child of the Ohio State Parks system

This out of the way, hard to find and get to park was once great. It is still a good place to camp, but there is little in the way of maintenance or upkeep going on other than what the volunteer groups are doing. The trails are generally good, some are great, hiking and mountain biking groups are keeping them in good shape. The geese are out of control, the beach is often filthy with goose crap. Fishing is hit and miss. I doubt you will see a Ranger or State Park employee, that can be a good thing or a bad thing, you decide. LOTS of Geocaching opportunities. Athens has a great deal of places to eat, nightlife, shows and any supplies you may need. The trails link into the city trails so it is possible to hike from town to the camp, but it is complex and quite a haul. Pets are allowed, but not on the swimming beach. The Group campsite it larger and has it's own pit latrine, parking and picnic tables. We have used it for Scout groups. A swingset is across the road in the main campground. There is one electrical outlet, near the entrance of the campground at the bulletin board. There is also a large wooden screen near the entrance where you can use your own projector to watch movies at night. Be advised, the cabins are tiny wood shacks.

Close to OU, new inflatable water park

This campground is managed by Hocking College and is about 10 minutes from Athens and Ohio University. There are many nice campsites, but there are also a lot that are steep, small and/or nothing but dirt. The lake is great for fishing, boating, swimming and they have a new water park featuring inflatable swing, slide and other features. The lifeguards are great and proactive about issues. Best deal going, after 5pm it's just $5 per swimmer. Our kids like it a lot. It is right off of a 4 lane highway, but noise is minimal. Athens has lots of places to eat, and many festivals occur at Lake Snowden, including the Paw Paw Festival. Get here early to find a good site. We have camped here in tents, a pop up and our travel trailer. Popular with local horse riders. Playground has a kid sized wooden train and a large tower/swing set. The shower house in the upper camping area is functional, but dated and usually messy, although they do clean it often.

Lots of things to do!

We camped here in our camper in early July 2017. There are a lot of things to do in the area. We visited the Ohio Caverns. The tour is worth the money, the "gem" mining was fun for our younger kids. There are two swimming beaches, the public one and one in the campground. The campground one is smaller a short hike to get to it. Both are ok, but nothing impressive. The campground is clean and overall a good value. It was a busy weekend but not as loud as I figured it would be. Yellow Springs is a great, funky town. Many great places to eat. Dark Star Used Bookstore is a must see every time we visit.

Peaceful campground

Our family camped here in May of 2017. It is a nice camp, the facilities are clean and the staff was very pleasant and helpful. Nothing close for supplies beyond the standard camp store stuff, bring anything you may need or you will need to drive a while. The hiking loop is really good for kids, not too difficult, interesting sights.

RV Camping and much more

We have camped here in tents, pop up camper, cabins, backpacking the nearby Zaleski State Forest and most recently, in our travel trailer. It is our favorite State Park that we have camped at. The campground has been recently updated, new pavement on the road and in the campsites. The nature center runs a lot of programs, including hand feeding hummingbirds, Christmas trail of lights, movies, hikes and more. The dining lodge is excellent food, the Sunday Brunch is great and they have a wood fired pizza oven. The lake has kayak, canoe, peddle boat and other rentals. The swimming area is large for a state park and has a small playset. Trails to suit all ages and experience levels. Moonville tunnel and rail trail is nearby. The front shower house is closed for remodeling, however, there are very nice flush toilets near the camp office and a shower house at the back section of the campground.

Cabin camping fun

My daughter and I stayed here last year in late September. We rented a cabin (#4) for a weekend. While not luxurious, the cabin was clean, beds comfortable, AC worked great, functional kitchen and bigger bathroom than I expected. The lake is smaller, but nice beach area and pedal boats are fun. We hiked the Greenbriar and CCC Trails. They are not too challenging but beautiful. Parts of the CCC trail were overgrown with briars and narrow. The campground looks nice, we plan on bringing our camper next time. Not much nearby, but Waverly has some good eats. Seems popular with horse riders.

Backpacking for all ages

I have backpacked the trails here since the 1980s. More recently, I have taken my kids for several treks on the lower loop. Get there early and get to the campsites first, there are decidedly better sites in each camp. The water is good and I have never seen them dry. You will see lots of wildlife, we have seen salamanders, deer, snakes, a wild turkey even wandered into our camp in May 2018. Back in 1988, I saw two rattlesnakes together beside the trail on the northern loop. Moonville Tunnel is close and is a great bookend before or after your hike. I actually like to hike the lower loop backwards, starting on a Thursday. Treat yourself to a post hike meal at the Lake Hope Dining Lodge, Sunday brunch is awesome. Don't worry about stinking from the trail, the outside seating is dog and smelly hiker friendly.