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Lake Hope

A natural paradise, Lake Hope State Park lies entirely within the 18,200-acre Zaleski State Forest in the valley of Big Sandy Run. It is a rugged, heavily forested region traversed by steep gorges and narrow ridges. Abandoned mines, ancient mounds and beautiful scenery provide interest and pleasure for hikers, photographers, nature lovers and historians alike at one of Ohio's most historic and scenic state parks.

© Bud Schrader Photography
Butterfly and Flower - OK, flower and butterfly.

Lake Hope State Park is truly a nature lover's dream. In the forest-draped hills, the observant visitor can discover the abundant natural resources of this wild and scenic park.

Although most of the forest was cut to fuel the iron smelting industry that once flourished here, the land has recovered and 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 observed near the quiet inlets of the lake.

A fine swimming beach is located near the dam. Facilities include a bathhouse with restrooms, showers and change booths and a concession building where food and beverages can be purchased.

Fifteen miles of hiking trails traverse the lake and scenic woodlands of the Lake Hope area and offer opportunities for photography and nature study. In the adjacent state forest, a 21-mile backpack trail with primitive campsites is available. Backpackers must register upon arrival. Thirty-three miles of bridle trail are available for riders with their own mounts in the state forest.

© hockinghills.com
Lake Hope Lilly -

The Hope Furnace was built here over 100 years ago to process the iron ore extracted from the region's sandstone bedrock. The iron resulting from the ore smelting process was used to produce many different items, including ammunition and cannon for the Union Army during the Civil War. Hundreds of men labored cutting timber, working the furnace and driving teams of mules hauling iron ore to the furnace. Charcoal fires were tended 24 hours a day; so much wood was required for this process that the surrounding hillsides were almost completely stripped of their timber. At the height of the Hope Furnace's production, Ohio was one of the nation's leading producers of iron. As time passed, iron ore was discovered farther west and Ohio's reputation as a major iron producer waned.

© Bud Schrader Photography
Ash Cave Leaf - Look down, you may see a photo op.

Location Map
Lake Hope Park Map
Lake Hope Campground Map
Calendar of Events
Full Blue Moon Hike - Lake Hope
Wed Jan 31

6:00 - 8:00 pm.

The second full moon of the month renders it a blue moon. Enjoy a 2-mile hike along the closed Lake Ridge Road to the group camp area for a high vantage point in which to watch the moon.

Bring a flashlight, dress in layers. Meet at the Hope furnace to caravan to the starting point. For more information please call the nature center.

Cost: Free Event

Contact: Lake Hope State Park, Phone: 740-596-3030

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Lake Hope Owl Prowl
Thu Feb 1

5:30 - 8:00 pm

Join Raccoon Creek Partnership and Pat Quackenbush from Hocking Hills State Park for a night celebrating owls with crafts, treats, and a walk about to listen and look for them. Meet at the dining Lodge. For more information please call the nature center.

Cost: Free Event

Contact: Lake Hope State Park, Phone: 740-596-3030

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Built By Beaver - Lake Hope
Sat Feb 3

10:00 - 11:00 am.

These industrious little fur-bearers have been - busy beavers - along one of our trails. Check out a dam and lodge up close and maybe even hear that slap of their tail. Prepare for muddy conditions. The walk is less than .5 miles. Meet at the Lake Hope Dam to caravan to the location. For more information call the nature center.

Cost: Free Event

Contact: Lake Hope State Park, Phone: 740-596-3030

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Ohio Boating Education Course - Lake Hope
Sat Feb 10

8:00 am - 5:00 pm.

A free 8-hour course in boating and water safety designed by Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft. It covers the fundamentals of safe boating: state-required equipment, watercraft laws, navigation Rules of the Road, basic safety and risk management, and aids to navigation. Classes are enhanced with videos, slides, overheads, handouts, and other visual aids. Pre-registration is required. Please call the Lake Hope office to register.

Cost: Free Event - Reg Req

Contact: Lake Hope State Park, Phone: 740-596-4938

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Great Backyard Bird Count - Lake Hope
Sat Feb 17Sun Feb 18

1:00 - 4:00 pm on Saturday, Feb 17th

10:00 am - 2:00 pm on Sunday, Feb 18th

Identify and count birds at the Nature Center as part of the National Audubon Society s annual event to collect data on species trends in the country and around the world. Beginners and experts welcome. Some binoculars provided. For more information please call the Nature Center.

Cost: Free Event

Contact: Lake Hope State Park, Phone: 740-596-3030

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Tour the Tackle Box - Lake Hope
Fri Mar 2

6:00 - 8:00 pm.

Want to catch that big fish but are confused or a little intimidated at the bait shop. Join Ohio Department of Natural Resources staff as we discuss types of line, bait, and tackle. Practice tying knots and learn a little about some of Ohio s common sport fish species. After this workshop you will be prepared for the fishing season.

Register to be entered to win a tackle box (must be present to win).

Call the nature center to register or for more information.

Cost: Free Event

Contact: Lake Hope State Park, Phone: 740-596-3030

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Photo Gallery (click on an image to enlarge)
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