Barkcamp State Park is a 1000-acre park surrounded by rolling sandstone hills and valleys, woodlands, wide open meadows, and a pretty lake with a 700-foot beach. Tucked within the center of the coal-mining region in Belmont, Ohio, the park is a haven for year-round family-style camping.
The campground is rather basic with paved sites that cater for large rigs and a separate section for campers with pets and horses. Campers can enjoy a range of outdoor recreation here – from swimming or fishing in the waters of the 117-acre Belmont Lake, to hiking and hunting in nature. For a leisurely afternoon, pack a picnic and enjoy the scenic surroundings, filled with woodland wildflowers and wild geraniums, to dogwood and redbud blossoms in spring.
There’s plenty of wildlife to be found in the park. Keep an eye out for frolicking squirrels, raccoons, skunks, wild turkey, and white-tailed deer. For those looking to let off a little steam, there are volleyball and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, an archery range, and an 18-hole miniature golf course.
Barkcamp State Park is located off Interstate 70 (exit 2018). The campground is well signposted from the highway. Once within the park, check in at the camp store and prepare to drive a loop to turn around. While the interior roads and the campsites are paved, navigating the park can be challenging for those in big rigs. As the site numbers aren’t listed, it can be a little tricky to find your site. If you need a larger campsite for your RV, stick to the second pet area where the roads are wider and the pads are longer.
Barkcamp State Park is a basic campground on Belmont Lake. A total of 150 campsites are available with electric hookups only for tents and RV campers (full hookups are being built). Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit, and a log of firewood is provided. Water filling stations and a dump station are nearby. Campers can make use of the restrooms but should be aware that there are no flush toilets on-site, only pit toilets. There is a group camp as well as special designated sites for people with pets and horses.
Facilities at the campground include a boat launch area, hiking and bridle trails, picnic areas, and picnic shelters. Campers can enjoy use of basketball and volleyball courts, a mini golf course, horseshoe courts, and a 700-foot beach. There is also the Antique Barn where naturalist programs are held in the summer. Other services include a book exchange in peak season. Domestic pets are welcome at designated sites.
The 117-acre Lake Belmont is the star of the show at Barkcamp State Park. Campers and day visitors alike can enjoy swimming in the lake waters and sun tanning on the 700-foot beach. Picnic areas are available near the swimming area so you can bring along a picnic to enjoy overlooking the lake.
A boat launch area available in Barkcamp State Park makes it easy to launch your boat and enjoy a variety of fun waterside activities. Take note that only boats with electric motors are allowed on the lake – motorized equipment is not allowed – in order to maintain peace and quiet for other campers. Seasonal boat tie ups are available and kayaks can also be rented.
A variety of naturalist programs are available during the summer months at Barkcamp State Park. The Antique Barn was built in the 1800s by Solomon Bentley, a famous local orchardman, who grew apples he called the “Bentley Sweet”. The barn is now used for summer naturalist programs and historical exhibitions. On a similar note, family movies are also screened in the park during the summer months – weather permitting.
The trails that lead through Barkcamp State Park are a favorite for hiking and horse riding. Take the paved trail that meanders through the pioneer village towards the Antique Barn. You’ll pass through mature woodlands with beautiful plants and flowers in season (particularly in spring). Interpretive signs are placed at intervals along the route to describe the local fauna, flora, and culture of the park.
Picnics can be enjoyed at Barkcamp State Park all year round. Various picnic areas are available throughout the park and there are three shelter houses that can be reserved ahead of time. You don’t have to be staying in the park to picnic here – day visitors are welcome too.
Barkcamp State Park is home to a variety of outdoor sporting facilities, including an 18-hole miniature golf course. If you’re visiting out of season, call the park office to make sure that someone will be there to rent you the equipment. There are also basketball and volleyball courts if you’d prefer to bring your own.