Lake Hope State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Lake Hope State Park is one of Ohio’s state parks that is well-renowned for its spectacular scenery, wonderful wildlife, and mostly, the lavish Hope Lake that sits at the park’s center. The entire park lies within Zaleski Forest of Zaleski village, surrounded by the valley of Big Sandy Run. Before becoming a state park in 1937, the same location held the mining village of Hope, devastated by a flood long ago. The remnants of the historically significant village are still visible inside the park and along its outskirts, and you can see it all when you bring your RV. The park’s scenery is composed of Zaleski’s rugged vast forests and deep, narrow gorges and ridges, making it a wonderful RV getaway.

The park offers about 3,000 acres full of natural extravaganza, topped with opportunities for history lovers in the shape of Hope Furnace, used to smelt iron ore in the bygone days. Other options of recreation and refreshment at the park include hiking, horseback riding, backpack riding, mountain biking, splashing and fishing at Lake Hope, exciting winter sports, hunting, and picnicking. The park is open year-round, with the busiest season being Memorial Day to Labor Day. If you want to connect with nature on a whole new level, try RV camping in one of the park’s 43 electric or 141 non-electric sites and feel closest to the park’s surreal nature. There’s no better place to bring your RV than Lake Hope State Park.

RV Rentals in Lake Hope State Park

Transportation in Lake Hope State Park

Driving

Lake Hope State Park is located in Ohio’s Vinton County tucked inside Zaleski Forest. The village of Zaleski is the closest to the park. The easiest, shortest, and simplest route to the park is from Zaleski by taking OH-278 N just for only about seven minutes. The village of McArthur is another town close to the park located in the same county. These 2,983 acres are tucked into Zaleski forest, so make sure to grab a map before you head out to explore the park, as there is a chance you might lose yourself in the wilderness. The 120-acre Hope Lake is centrally located in the park, and a launch ramp is also built on the lake. Boat rentals can be found near the dam. A 600-foot swimming beach is also built close to the dam. There are numerous parking lots available inside the park including parking at the park entrance, near the beach, camping units, and the lodge. Keep in mind that the sites are not suitable for big rigs or motorhomes. Maximum RV length is set at 50 feet. The good news is that there are no strict rules to follow while driving inside the park.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Lake Hope State Park

Campsites in Lake Hope State Park

Reservations camping

Equestrian Camping

Lake Hope State Park has served the needs of equestrian camping lovers by setting up a non-electric equestrian campground in the surrounding Zaleski Forest. The equestrian campground is built near the park’s bridle trail that goes all the way into the surrounding forested region. So, bring along your horses and camp to your heart’s delight. No horses are provided by the park. A picnic table, fire ring, and tie-ups are provided though. Drinking water and latrines can be found within walking distance. A few electric equestrian campsites are located in the RV campground as well.

Group Camping

Group campers can rejoice as the park offers three group camping sites. The group sites are an ideal location for large groups of up to 50 people to enjoy the excitement and fun of camping altogether. The group campsites are available for online reservations or you can just call at the park office to book one for your next RV camping vacation. These group sites are also very pet-friendly.

First-come first-served

The Campground at Lake Hope State Park

Lake Hope State Park offers 46 electric sites featuring both 30- and 50-amp electric sites and 141 non-electric sites. The campground provides many camping comforts like heated showers, pit latrines, dumping stations, and a laundry facility. The campgrounds are pet-friendly, so feel free to bring along your pets. Registered campers also enjoy complimentary picnic tables, barbecue grills, and fire rings at each site. The campsites are large enough for up to six people, and they can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet long. The campsites are also finely paved and well-maintained, and there is a playground for kids located nearby. Reservations can be made by going online or contacting the park, but any vacant sites are given away on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are also a few non-reservable sites set aside for walk-in campers only.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Lake Hope State Park

In-Season

Picnicking and Sightseeing

While at Lake Hope State Park, it’s impossible not to lose yourself in the park’s matchless beauty and calmness. The park brings you a few steps closer to nature with its rugged gorges, dense forests, unusual wildflowers, and uncommon wildlife when you bring your RV. Besides plenty of natural exhibits, the park also features a few pieces from a century-old past. The Hope Furnace reminds visitors of a bygone era. A few remnants of the long-destroyed Hope Village are also found in the park’s surroundings like the nearby Moonville Rail Trail and a haunted school in the state forest. A few picnic tables are also scattered around the park alongside two picnic shelters. The shelters can also be reserved so you can guarantee your spot.

Attending Events and Festivals

Lake Hope State Park is well known for hosting many family-friendly events and festivals throughout the year, especially during the peak season. Visitors from near and far rush to the park to get a taste of these festivities. The Lake Hope Arts and Crafts Show is one fine example of these fun events. Arranged annually in May, this Arts and Crafts Show features over 100 regional artisans and their stunning craftsmanship. The park’s Nature Center also arranges an outdoor movie show every Saturday during the summer. More than watching a movie under the stars and experiencing local craftsmanship, the park offers you to take pleasure in Zaleski Candleworks, Quilt Barn Tour, Uncle Buck’s Riding Stable and Dance Barn, and much more.

Swimming, Fishing, and Boating

The park’s namesake, Lake “Hope,” is a destination for great amusement and refreshment. The lake allows boating, canoeing, and kayaking in the waters. Only electric motors are allowed. Boats, canoes, and kayaks are also available for rent at the park. The lake also provides a launch ramp to launch your boats into the water. Besides motor boating, you can choose to do many other things at the lake like swimming, sunbathing, and fishing. There is a beach area built near the dam that provides a beach house with a sundeck, a few restrooms, and a concession building. You can splash in the water or just lay on the beach grounds to soak in the sun. When it comes to fishing, you can expect to find a wide variety of species in good supplies like bluegill, catfish, crappie, and largemouth bass. For some fun in the sun head your RV over to Lake Hope as soon as you get to the park!

Off-Season

Wildlife Viewing and Birding

Lake Hope State Park is a natural habitat for many species of wildlife including deer and wild turkeys. Beavers, reputed as nature’s dam builders, are the most commonly sighted animals at the park. They can easily be found near the shores of Hope Lake. Vinton County is also home to over 50 documented bird species, many of which also nestle in the park’s forests. In fact, the park also arranges a Hummingbird Feeding Program annually for the bird lovers out there. There are so many wildlife opportunities available, no matter when you choose to bring your RV.

Hiking and Biking

Lake Hope State Park is abounding with many terrains and trails to go hiking, biking, backpacking, and horseback riding. There are seven hiking trails of moderate difficulty level and they are about 11 total miles in length. There are also special trails for mountain biking. There are not just one or two, but a total of 8 biking trails, both moderate and difficult. Readers of “Mountain Bike” magazine rated Lake Hope’s biking trails as one of the best found in Ohio. These hiking and biking trails explore the park’s flora and fauna deeply from every corner passing through the heavily forested regions, somber lake, and sandy beach. A 21-mile backpacking trail and a 33-mile bridle trail are also available near the park in the state forest region.

Enjoying Winter Activities

When winter arrives, Lake Hope State Park brings in a whole new level of excitement and festivity with stellar winter recreation and activities. The park brings you the delights of sledding, cross-country skiing, and ice skating. You can buy equipment at the park as well. There are also opportunities for ice fishing at Hope Lake during winters. Now, there is no need to miss out on outdoor fun while lazing around the winter. Head over to Lake Hope State Park in your RV to make your next winter unforgettable.

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