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Just six miles west of Chillicothe, Ohio, the Sun Valley Campground is a small but friendly RV campground between Cincinnati and Columbus. It’s an ideal base for exploring the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park and the Ross Lake Wilderness Area, as well as the Tar Hollow State Park.
RV camping at the Sun Valley Campground includes access to 45 sites, 11 of which offer full hookups (20/30/50 amp service) and 25 offering water and electric hookups. There’s a combination of back-in and pull-through sites, which can accommodate big rigs.
There are a children’s playground, a game room, and a basketball court to keep kids entertained, as well as clean, modern restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers. You can take advantage of the dump station and shelter houses that are available at Sun Valley Campground, as well as a clean pond for fishing.
Camping at Sun Valley Campground is a good base for exploring Tar Hollow State Park, which is surrounded by the foothills of the Appalachian Plateau. It centers around the waters of Pine Lake where you can go swimming and fishing while numerous hiking trails extend into the densely forested surrounds. Adjacent lies the Tar Hollow State Forest, which was created as part of the Ross-Hocking Land Utilization project of the 1930s and is now the third-largest state forest in Ohio.
If you drive south from the campsites at Sun Valley Campground, you’ll arrive at the Pike Lake State Park, which was developed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It features a small but picturesque lake that’s surrounded by forest and a picnic cabin where you can soak up the tranquility. On the other side of Bainbridge lies the Paint Creek State Park where you can go fishing in the human-made reservoir or hiking to the limestone bluffs that provide a habitat for an outstanding colony of Pellaea glabella (smooth cliff brake).
Adjacent to the Paint Creek State Park is the Highlands Nature Sanctuary, which is the oldest preserve in the Arc of Appalachia’s system. It protects the Rocky Fork Gorge as it carves through an impressive karst landscape of grottos, canyons, sinkholes, and springs. Begin your visit at the Appalachian Forest Museum to learn about the significance of the landscape, then embark on one of the hiking trails that are accessible on weekends. Learn about the role the Arc of Appalachia plays in preserving state threatened and endangered plant and animal species in some of the region’s most imperiled natural communities.
Camp in a travel trailer rental near Chillicothe and you'll have easy access to numerous supermarkets where you can stock up on grocery supplies. There are also a couple of gas stations in Chillicothe if you need to fill up your RV rental, as well as a good selection of fast-food restaurants and eateries for dining out.
Chillicothe served as the first capital of Ohio and is clustered with historic buildings and a beautiful old county courthouse. Stroll along the main street to admire its heritage-listed buildings and see the first capitol building that now serves as the office of the Chillicothe Gazette. A short drive north of Chillicothe’s center is the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, which features earthworks and burial mounds dating from the indigenous Hopewell culture that flourished between 200 BC and 500 AD. Join a ranger-led walking tour of Mound City to learn about its fascinating history and witness some of the objects that have been excavated from the site.
Campsites at the Sun Valley Campground can also provide a good base for visiting the Ohio state capital, Columbus, which is just an hour’s drive to the north. It’s home to some excellent museums, including the COSI science center with its interactive exhibits and planetarium, as well as the Columbus Museum of Art that’s renowned for its American and European painting collections. You can stretch your legs on the miles of riverfront trails that wind through the Scioto Mile or head to the picturesque Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens that’s home to plant species from across the globe. Also not to miss is the German Village, which celebrates the immigrants who settled here in the 19th century, with a restaurant where you can dine on sausage and schnitzel plus lively Oktoberfest celebrations.
Whether you want to discover the natural wonders of central Ohio or explore the fascinating museums of the capital, book an RV in Ross County and start planning your next vacation.