Located in southeastern Ohio on the edge of Wayne National Forest, Strouds Run State Park provides a unique environment for campers to explore. The area was once home to the Adena Indians and later on, the Shawnee Tribe called it home until they were forced out of their land due to the Treaty of Greenville. The late 1700s brought much change to the area with defined boundaries and a large amount of land that was once the Shawnee’s now became the settlers. Nearly two hundred years after the Adena Indians history was wiped out, the state decided to make the area near Dow Lake a state park in 1960.
Campers drive to the park each year to enjoy the refreshing water or to simply relax on the trails. Summer offers plenty of opportunities to go fishing, mountain biking, swimming, and much more. In the winter months, the trails remain open for hiking, cross-country skiing, and winter geocaching. Summers are warm with a cool breeze in the air and the winters provide plenty of snow to ski along the trails.
There are 78 non-electric sites for RV and trailer camping. There are no sewer hookups but water hookups are available. A dumping station is nearby for you to dispose of your waste. You can walk along the beautiful trails that are spread out around the park or take a breath of fresh air near the lake. Visitors come from all walks of life to find inspiration and commune with nature at this beautiful Ohio state park.
Strouds Run State Park is located less than two hours southeast of Columbus, Ohio. It sits on the edge of Wayne National Forest making it a rather favorable destination for campers and hunters alike. The roads leading to the park are wide as James Rhodes Appalachian Highway runs right outside the entrance of the park.
Be on the watch out for low hanging trees and a few bumps along the road. The entrance to the park veers off to the main office and then to the main campground. There are four parking lots in the park and one directly across from the main campground. You may use a mountain bike on the trails but not on the roads. You are encouraged to walk around the park for the best experience.
In case of inclement weather, the road leading to the park may close. There may also be other areas in the park that will only be open for day use until conditions improve. If you arrive later than anticipated be sure to call ahead and let the staff know. They will either meet you upon your arrival or tell you instructions about self-check-in. The park’s peak season begins in March and ends in October.
Strouds Run State Park has 78 campsites available for trailer and RV camping. The sites do not come with an electric or sewer connection, but you are allowed to bring a generator and a dumping station is nearby for you to dispose of your waste. The park does come with water connections that may turn off in the winter to prevent the pipes from bursting. The lots are shaded and provide a lot of privacy from your neighbors.
Amenities included are hot showers, restrooms, a fire ring, and a picnic table. It is prohibited to bring your own firewood into state parks but you are can purchase firewood from the park’s office for a small fee. You are also not allowed to gather firewood in the park because it may damage the park’s ecosystem. You are allowed to stay 14 days at a time and may reserve a site up to 11 months in advance.
Fishing on Dow Lake and its tributaries is one of the most popular things about Strouds Run State Park right after hiking. The lake is stocked regularly with bass, perch, crappie, and catfish. You will need a valid Ohio fishing license to cast your rod but you do not need a permit to take a boat out on the lake. Remember to pack your tackle box and rod if you feel like having some fish for dinner.
There are 15 trails available for mountain biking. If you are looking for a long ride, you can take Athens Trail or Hickory Multi-Use Trail. Remember to wear a helmet while on the trails and bring a water bottle. Do not try trails that are above your level of expertise to reduce the chance of getting injured or lost. Pack a map with you and a whistle just in case you get injured or lost.
The swimming area is located on the east side of the lake. It opens from sunrise to sunset for the remainder of the summer months. There are changing booths, restrooms, and water located near the beach. The 700-foot beach area does not have a lifeguard and you are expected to exercise caution when swimming in the water.
During the colder months, the ski trails open and the winter adventurers come out to play. The skiing trails are similar to the hiking trails but you are allowed to go a bit off course. Remember to dress warmly and bring a flare and a map with you in case you get lost. In case of an emergency make your way to shelter and keep a GPS device on you.
The park offers plenty of trails for you to explore. If you are looking for a long walk then consider walking around the exterior of Dow Lake. It takes approximately five hours to complete so you'll need plenty of energy. There are other trails like the Broken Rock and View Point Trail that you can see some of the beautiful wildlife that calls the park home. Remember to bring a bottle of water, wear sturdy boots, and carry a map with you just in case you get lost.
Geocaching in Strouds Run State Park is a bit different from all the other parks. You will need a permit if you wish to hide a cache in the park, so if you plan to play be sure to pick one up. The regular rules apply and you will still need a pen/pencil, a bottle of water, a device that has GPS capabilities, your own treasure to put in place of the cache you find, and a snack to keep you energized on your treasure hunt. Be sure to leave each cache area as undisturbed as possible. This is a great and free way to get the whole family outside during your RV camping trip.