Lake Hope State Park
With its rugged terrain and placid lake, it’s hard to believe that this heavily wooded, 2,983-acre park—situated entirely within Zaleski State Forest—was the site of iron-ore smelting operations that helped supply the Union Army with armament and ammunition. Today, an old chimney and a bit of foundation along the Hope Furnace Trail are the only reminders of this industrial past. There are six other moderate hiking trails, as well as eight moderate to difficult biking trails, a 21-mile backpacking route, a 23-mile single-track bike route, and 33 miles of bridle trails.
The abundance of warblers, woodpeckers, and finches makes this park popular with birdwatchers. And, between July 1 and August 31, you can head over to the nature center for a chance to hand-feed the hummingbirds. Activities on Lake Hope itself include fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, or catfish and boating (electric motors only), canoeing, and kayaking (Touch the Earth Adventures offers great kayaking excursions). There’s also a sandy, 600-foot swimming beach with restrooms and a concession stand. Though dogs aren’t allowed to swim here, they are welcome in the park as long as they’re on a leash.
There are also 187 campsites, 46 with electrical hookups, as well as 66 heated, air-conditioned, and furnished cottages with kitchens. Camping amenities include shower and laundry facilities, pit latrines, and picnic tables. If you’re traveling with a large group, look into booking a stay in the park’s eight-bedroom, five-bathroom Laurel Lodge. If you’re hungry, be sure to stop by the Lake Hope Dining Lodge (740/596-0601, lakehopelodge.com), where the menu features soups, salads, and sandwiches—the latter often made with hickory-smoked meats straight from the lodge’s own wood-fired pit. The lodge serves lunch and dinner daily and brunch on Sunday.
27331 State Rte. 278
- McArthur, Ohio 45651
- 39.32638500, -82.34699500
- Visit Website
- (740) 596-4938