Surrounded by unspoiled nature in the Appalachian plateau of southern Ohio, Pike Lake State Park is the perfect RV destination for those looking to get away from big city life for a night or two. The area has a long history, with the first settlers dating all the way back to 800 B.C. The area was later home to Native American tribes, European settlers, and even Civil War battles. Today, the park offers a tranquil setting for a wide variety of outdoor activities during all four seasons.
When you park the rig at Pike Lake State Park, you'll find plenty to keep you busy. The small, 13-acre Pike Lake provides swimmers and boaters relief during the warm summer months, and during the winter, ice skaters and anglers can take advantage of the frozen water. There are also five miles of trails available to hikers and cross-country skiers, and if you brought the horses along, you can ride in the adjacent Pike State Forest.
If one day wasn't enough to do everything you wanted, pull the RV into one of 79 electric campsites, or rent one of the dozens of cottages spread throughout the park. Wherever you choose to lay your head, you'll stay in comfort at Pike Lake.
Pike Lake State Park is surrounded by nothing but nature. This makes it a great place to relax and unwind, but RVers will have to take the country roads around the park nice and slow. Well-traveled routes like US-50 and US-23 will lead you fairly close to the park, and major hubs like Cincinnati and Columbus are less than two hours away. If you need to stock up on supplies or gas up the motorhome before entering the park, the town of Bainbridge is just a few minutes away.
Park roads are well maintained, and even those driving large campervans should have no trouble getting around. Those staying overnight will need to be able to fit the travel trailer in sites that are 50 feet or less. If you're just visiting for the day, you'll find parking lots near the lake and the park office.
The park remains open throughout the year, but be sure to check the local weather forecast and road conditions before heading out if you plan on visiting during the winter, as snow and ice often make an appearance at the park.
Pike Lake State Park offers 79 electric campsites to overnight guests who are camping with rigs under 50 feet in length. There are also a number of tent-only sites for those looking to rough it for a night or two. The campground is located on the south side of the lake, and campers will find a picnic table and fire ring at each site. Although there are no sewer or water hookups available, there is a dump station and various water collection points located inside of the campground. Guests will also find restrooms, showers, a playground, basketball and horseshoe courts, and access to trailheads nearby.
The campground is open year-round, and reservations can be made online in advance. Certain sites are pet-friendly, so be sure to reserve one of these sites if you plan on bringing your furry friend along.
Pike Lake State Park is also equipped with numerous cottages that range in size and amenities.
The 13 standard cottages can sleep between four and six people and the 12 family cottages can all sleep six. Guests will be afforded with creature comforts no matter which cottage they choose, including indoor plumbing, fully furnished rooms, and modern kitchen appliances. The standard cottages are open during the summer months, while the family cottages are open year-round with heat available during the cold winter months.
If you're staying at Pike Lake with a group, you can rent the one group cabin that can sleep up to 20 people and is equipped with similar amenities to the standard and family cottages.
Reservations for all cottages are required and can be made online in advance.
If you have a larger group or prefer to sleep under the stars, Pike Lake offers one group camp that can accommodate up to 60 guests. This site is for tent camping only and is equipped with tables and fire rings.
If all the sites were spoken for at Pike Lake State Park, there are several alternative options in the nearby area.
Paint Creek State Park is just under 30 minutes to the west of the park and offers over 200 sites for RVers and equestrian campers. Most sites offer electric hookups, while others are more basic without hookups.
About half an hour in the other direction, you will find Scioto Trail State Park. The park is equipped with an additional 55 RV-friendly campsites with electrical hookups.
Summers can get hot in southern Ohio, but luckily Pike Lake State Park is equipped with a sandy swimming beach. Grab the beach gear out of the pop-up and head to the north side of the lake to enjoy a day of playing in the water or soaking up some rays on the shore. There is even a beach concession, changing areas, and restrooms with showers nearby for added convenience. Swim at your own risk, as lifeguards are not on duty.
If you prefer to stay dry and out of the water, you can still enjoy the 13-acre Pike Lake by boat. Electric motors up to four and a half horsepower are allowed on the lake, and even if you didn't tow your own watercraft along behind the Sprinter, you can rent rowboats, peddle boats, and canoes from the park. There is also plenty of parking available around the lake for large vehicles and boat trailers.
After a few hours on the lake, you can hunker down at one of the ten scenic picnicking areas in the park. These areas are outfitted with grills and tables and offer relaxing and scenic views of the lake and forest. If you are expecting a crowd or hosting an event you can rent one of the two shelters available at the park, each of which can accommodate up to 80 people. If you are staying overnight, you also have the option of enjoying a picnic right outside of the travel trailer at your own personal table and fire pit.
Although Pike Lake is a meager 13 acres, don't let that deter you from bringing your rods and reels along in the Airstream when you visit the park. The fish are still plentiful in these calm waters, and common catches include bluegill, catfish, largemouth bass, and crappie. Pike Lake is a great place to cast out if you're looking to beat the crowds; just be sure you have an Ohio fishing license before dropping a line.
After you've parked the rig and set up camp, lace up your hiking boots and explore the six miles of trails that carve their way through Pike Lake State Park. You can choose between easygoing walking paths or trails that will get the blood flowing. If you conquer all the routes inside of Pike Lake but are still hungry for more hiking, continue on the Buckeye Trail to access more trails inside of the surrounding Pike State Forest.
Visitors flock to Pike Lake State Park to enjoy the unspoiled nature of this natural setting. Animals love this area for the same reason, and if you're lucky, you may spot some of the park's full-time residents during your RV vacation. The dense forests and remote location of the park make it a great habitat for a variety of species, so keep your eyes peeled for wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and ruffed grouse. Red foxes, raccoons, and boxed turtles also make an occasional appearance from time to time.