Location: 27331 SR 278, McArthur
Contact: Lake Hope State Park
Although most of the forest was cut to fuel the iron smelting industry that once flourished here, the land has recovered and a supports a magnificent, second-growth forest. Oak and hickory are the dominant trees while the woodland floor harbors a fascinating assemblage of shrubs and wildflowers. The yellow lady’s slipper, one of the rarest and most showy orchids, blooms in secluded hollows. Other spring wildflowers such as blue-eyed Mary, bloodroot and wild geranium can be found in abundance.
Deer and wild turkeys are often seen in a number of park locations. Of the many animals inhabiting the park, none is as popular as the beaver. As nature’s dam builders, the beavers are found in numbers and can be seen near the quiet inlets of the lake.
Activities: Fishing, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, boating, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and camping.
Boating: Boats with electric motors only may be used on the lake. Canoes, kayaks and rowboats are available for rent.
Camping: A beautiful 192-site campground is suitable for tents or trailers. The campground includes heated shower house, pit latrines, waste disposal, laundry facilities, picnic tables and fire rings. Forty-six sites have electric hookups. Pets are permitted. Rent-A-Tepee and one Camper Cabin can be rented during the summer months. A group camp is available for organized groups on a reservation basis; call the park office at 740-596-5253.
Dining: The newly opened Lake Hope Lodge, offers made from scratch food, using Ohio products. Enjoy the real pit barbeque which is smoked in the traditional all-wood-fire pit using pure hickory. Catering services available for the Vinton County room located in the downstairs of the lodge.
Hunting and Fishing: Anglers will find good catches of bluegill, catfish, crappie and large-mouth bass at Lake Hope. Hunting is permitted in the adjacent Zaleski State Forest. A valid Ohio hunting or fishing license is required.
Picnicking: Picnic areas with tables and grills are scattered around the park in secluded areas. Two picnic shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis or by reservation.
Swimming: A fine swimming beach is located near the dam. There’s a beach house with a sundeck, restrooms and a concession building with food and beverages for sale.
Trails: Seventeen miles of hiking trails give hikers plenty of options. There are also 14 miles of mountain biking trails in the park.
From Columbus: Take 33 East toward Athens, as you first enter Nelsonville turn right on SR 278, Lake Hope is 23 miles west down 278.
From Athens: Take 33 West toward Columbus, right before you leave Nelsonville, turn left onto SR 278, Lake Hope is 14 miles west down 278.