Renée C.


Lewis Center, OH

Joined July 2017

Beautiful Trails & Amazing Waterfalls

There are a limited number of electric campsites so I would recommend booking early if that is a requirement. Otherwise, there are plenty of non-electric sites available.

John Bryan has some absolutely beautiful trails within the park and a short drive away. The town of Yellow Springs is absolutely adorable and worth checking out while you are there. There is also a nice bike trail through the town. The Clifton Mill is also nearby and is worth the stop.  The Cedar Cliff trail near to the park and the Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve is a must.

Great place to backpack in Ohio IG

Wonderful overnight backpack trip for our family. We did the South Loop at Zaleski - 10.9 miles. The hike was great. Lots of ups & downs, a pond & beautiful rock outcroppings. Not supposed to filter the water in the creeks. Thankfully there is pretty tasty water at camp. Cannot camp off of marked areas. 3 camp areas total, camp 1 & 2 are available on the South Loop. Latrine available (bring toilet paper). Campsites fill up quickly & areas will be shared. Not all have fire rings. Camp 2 is very popular since it is the halfway point(ish) on the trail. Camp 1 is only a couple miles into the loop. Great place to stop for lunch. Highly recommend. Our 8 year old did great & we saw lots of families camping. Trails had lots of poison ivy & ticks present. We look forward to coming back & doing the remainder of the trail. 

Blazes: The main trail is blazed orange and camp side trails/day hike cutoff is blazed white.

Water is available at 3 backpack camping areas (Points D, I & P)

Parking is available. It is recommended to use the backpacking parking area but we hear that fills up quickly. That is located at the Hope Schoolhouse (27800 Wheelabout Road, McArthur, OH 45651). If you want to skip that first portion of the trail or if parking it not available you can park at the Hope Furnace which is mainly used for day hiking.  Both parking lots seemed to fill up fast. The Hope Furnace parking was full by 8:30/9 am on the Saturday we arrived.

I would recommend printing maps & seeing additional information about the area & trails here:

Family campground

Great sized campground. Some shady sites backed up to the woods. A few camping loops. The camp store is always really nice. There is a lot of area around there for hunting and hiking. The beach area of the lake is pretty muddy and murky. We don't tend to swim there. FIshing is usually the better option if you want to enjoy the lake. It is an overall nice campground. Average showers & bathrooms. There is a neat lookout area to view the stars at night. Disc golf course runs right near the campground.

Lots of trails!

There are tons of trails to check out all throughout the park. Kayaking on the northern side of the lake would be recommended. It gets too busy with larger boats in the main area of the lake. Check out the mountain biking trails & horse trails. Lots of great fishing. Be careful around the old homesteads and dumping sites.

Picnic & play area

Great day-use area. Fishing, picnic area, shelters & playgrounds. Great view of the lake! This is not a camping area.

Great Family Campground

There is a lot of campsites & very family-friendly. They’ve been upgrading the bathrooms. Open throughout the winter. There are a lot of trails nearby and the lake. A lot of trash around our campsite the first time we went. It seemed a lot cleaner the next time. Great fishing pond on the campground as well. Beach for swimming. Plenty of areas to kayak/canoe. A lot of public hunting areas near there as well. During the winter only a select amount of sites are available. This place fills up fast during the summer months.

State Forest Camping

Beautiful, secluded group camping. Shelter and pit bathrooms. Wide open space for lots of campers. Nice access to trails. Beach area is clean & small little lake. Nature center & lots of activities near the camp store. Trails are not marked well. Thankfully we were not doing a backpacking trip. Beware if you are. We have heard some frustrating on the trail markings. Part of the Buckeye Trail runs through the park. They also have a thriving Timber Rattlesnake population. Watch your steps.

Busy campground

Super loud campground. The closest area to camp to the National Park. Nice shaded tent sites but you’ll have to haul your stuff uphill & then it’s not too private. The trails seem pretty unmaintained there. Most people seemed to just hang out at their campsites & not go too far. Camp resort building & boardwalk were pretty neat to check out. There are some really pretty trails not too far from the park itself.

Huge park

Lots of places to camp & explore. Trails near the water are incredible. Amazing family campground. The kids had a blast there and we will be back!

Small but pretty

Not a lot of sights but very pretty. Some gorgeous trails around the lake. Tiny camp store. The first night someone came in & took our spot we reserved. Thankfully they left early the next morning. The trails were semi-busy until you got back in there. A lot of people were fishing in the dam area for the trout release.

Family Friendly

A great family getaway. Lots of camp sights, convenient playgrounds, putt-putt, nature center, trails, and climbing area. The bathrooms were standard & bring shower shoes. The shower wasn't the cleanest & didn't drain too well. Otherwise fantastic. Just a little bit down the road there is another area of the park that you can rock climb, picnic, canoe/kayak access, fish, etc. A beautiful area away from the campground.

Absolutely stunning

Incredible views and worth the trip.


Absolutely beautiful campground. Not a lot of sites but very spacious. Private showers, no WiFi, firewood on site, lots of shade, trails and walking distance to the river. Highly recommended. Close access to Shenandoah National Park.

Excellent River Camping

Beautiful campsites on the water and near it. Playgrounds, cabins, camper cabins, tent sites & camper sites. Some camper sites have electric & water. First come first serve in the winter. One heated bathroom with a shower is open in the winter. Absolutely beautiful & great trails. There is nice several mile through trail that goes from the dam area following the river to the primitive camping area and then to the camper/rv camping area. Beautiful area to see in the winter & not as busy. You will mainly see people fishing for trout. During the summer I hear it gets pretty busy with people tubing on the river.

March trip

Lots of down trees throughout the park. Right now they’re available for anyone to come take & use. Some trash around the RV site. Otherwise a pretty quiet spot.

First to Review



Absolutely love it here. So mainly beautiful trails and springs. Great camping areas too.

Free Camping!

Print your permit& you can camp for free!

*No electric*

First come, first serve- 293 campsites at a few separate camping areas 

Hiking, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, hunting& fishing. 

58,800-acres with 350 lakes& ponds. 

The Buckeye Trail runs through this park. Absolutely beautiful area to explore. This is an excellent place to get back to primitive camping& enjoy public land access. This area is a gem& should be enjoyed.

Mackinac Island

Absolutely gorgeous to go see. Do not try and walk around the island, rent a bike or kayak to see the island. Lots of trails to hike and places to see. Most people don't walk around the second half of the island so it isn't as busy.

Beautiful Beach

We had a great time checking this beach out early in the year. What a beautiful place.