RV campers will fall in love with the rolling hills and rugged terrain surrounding Ohio’s Great Seal State Park. The park, located in Chillicothe, Ohio, celebrates the deeply rooted history and the beautiful mountain vistas of the Ohio Scioto Valley. The park is named after the official Ohio State seal because several of its more prominent features, including the majestic mountains, are depicted on the Great Seal of the state of Ohio.
The area surrounding the park is a junction where several of the state’s many different geographical regions meet. It lies on Ohio’s midsection of the sandstone hills that surround the base of the Appalachian Plateau. Glaciated plains stretch outwards to the north and west while to the south and east lie the foothills of the mountains. On a clear day, hikers on the trails of Great Seal State Park can see the clearly defined landscapes from nearly every direction.
At 1,862 acres wide, Great Seal State Park has no shortage of activities. In particular, campers and other park visitors will not want to miss seeing the beauty of Ohio’s natural landscape on any one of the park's 12 hiking trails. Hardwood, chestnut oaks, and sugar maple trees shade many sections of the trails and in the springtime, wildflowers fill the meadows and fields with bright color, drawing in a variety of wildlife and tourists alike. In the fall, the thick foliage prepares for winter, exchanging the bright greens for stunning shades of oranges and reds. No matter the time of year, visitors are sure to be amazed at the vast natural beauty that Great Seal State Park has to offer.
Great Seal State Park’s location makes it easy for visitors coming from many different places, both in and out of Ohio, to access the park. Great Seal State Park is located 45 miles south of Columbus. Visitors should have no trouble navigating the state highways and local roads as they travel to the park. Once inside of the park, all major roads are paved, resulting in a smooth, scenic ride through the park land. The tree line is set several feet back from the road, so drivers should have no trouble with low-hanging branches blocking the way. Most of the roads have gentle turns that make it easy for larger rigs to travel. However, be aware that the roads in the park are often narrow in places and visitors must share the road with any oncoming traffic that they might encounter. Overall, drivers should have no trouble moving their rig through the park as long as they drive slowly, cautiously, and watch out for other park visitors.
Camping at the Great Seal State Park Campground is a primitive camping experience within the safe parameters of a park. The park only has one campground which offers guests a total of 15 sites to choose from. All of these sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so guests will want to make sure to arrive early in the day to claim a spot. Be aware that sites 1-10 are specifically designed to accommodate equestrian camping and as such, include tie lines behind the campsite. None of the campsites have any type of hookups, but generators are allowed and there is a drinking site where campers can obtain water.
Other campground amenities include vault toilets, a playground and a horse shelter house near the camping area. Each campsite comes equipped with a fire ring and a picnic table. Pets are welcome in the campground. All campers should check the campground quiet hours upon arrival and be sure to silence their generators during these times. When planning a trip, be aware that this campground is seasonal and is closed during several months of the year when winter weather is at its worst.
Visitors who love their camping experiences to include hiking and mountain biking won’t be disappointed with the 23 miles of hiking and multi-use trails in Great Seal State Park. Most of the trails are quite challenging, crossing wooded and hilly terrain. A few routes include steep inclines and ravines, so prepare ahead of time to ensure all hikers are ready for the challenge. Visitors should also be aware that two of the trails are specifically reserved for hiking and walking only. Mountain bikes and horses are permitted on the other 17 miles of trails. See a park map for detailed trail and mileage information.
This fun, dual-purpose sport draws in plenty of park visitors throughout the year. Guests can bring their discs and spend time on the 18-basket course perfecting their throws and tosses. Newcomers to the sport may want to try playing half a round at first as they are learning and getting the hang of things. Campers and guests can play for free as long as they have their own equipment. Access to the disc golf area can be found near the Ireland Picnic Area.
Aside from the spectacular outdoor eating areas, the park encourages its guests to stay outside by providing plenty of recreational areas for guests of all ages. The park has two playgrounds that are located close to restrooms. Guests can also play sand volleyball, basketball, or play horseshoes. Because many of these areas are located next to trails, guests can easily play for a bit, go for a walk, and then come back and play again.
During the winter when snow covers the ground, the Spring Run Trail turns into a multi-use trail perfect for cross-country skiing. The Spring Run Trail is a two-mile trail that offers ten training stations along the pathway. Skiers can ski to each training station, and remove their skis to get more of a body weight or cardiovascular workout along the way. Visitors who want to create a longer workout can repeat the trail as many times as desired. Check with the park for information about winter operating hours.
Hunters can enjoy multi-season hunting in and around Great Seal State Park. The park is open to bow hunting in November and stays open through the end of the bow hunting season. More remote areas of the park allow trapping and hunting during open season. The most common animals hunted within the park are game birds, game quadrupeds, and fur-bearing animals. All hunters must purchase and possess a valid license and be aware of park and state regulations and safety measures before heading out for the season.
Come spend the day outside in one of the park's numerous scenic picnic areas. Many of the picnic areas sit trailside or next to beautiful vistas. Additionally, the park offers two sheltered picnic areas that are available by reservation only. Guests will want to reserve their space ahead of time to ensure they have a cool, shaded place to eat during the day. The Ireland Shelter and the Vista Shelter are paved and have a fireplace, grill, and picnic tables. They are located close to restrooms, a playground, and the disc golf course. Be aware that there is no electricity at either of the shelters.