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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
Ash Cave Leaf - Look down, you may see a photo op.

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.

© Bud Schrader Photography
Lavender Lady - I don't know the first thing about a lot of things, esp. flowers. It's a flower.

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.

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New Earth Touch Photo -

Location Map
Lake Hope Park Map
Lake Hope Campground Map
Calendar of Events
Rural Ohio Appalachia Revisited - ROAR Day
Sat Oct 28

10:00 am - 2:00 pm.

Celebrate the Appalachia s - enjoy regional crafts, exhibits, demonstrations, food, and music.

ROAR Day will feature a wide variety of local crafters demonstrating their skills of Appalachian culture and heritage. Guests can expect to see pottery being turned, wool spun into soft yearn, and artistic drawings on slate.

Visitors also can enjoy the sound of local musicians as they play tunes from long ago. Vendors will set up throughout the park, including the old one-room Hope School House, shelter house in the main area, as well as at the beautiful new Lake Hope Dining Lodge.

The parks nature center will be hosting events for the younger crowd. Kids are encouraged to participate in a nature-themed costume contest, decorate pumpkins or join the fun of jumping into a pile of straw to find hidden treasures.

Cost: Free

Contact: Lake Hope State Park, Phone: 740-596-5253

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Arts/Music/Film, Historical,
Full Moon Hike - Lake Hope
Sun Nov 5

5:30 - 7:30 pm

Come stroll through the moonlight on a 3-mile hike.

Bring a flashlight and wear sturdy shoes.

Meet at the Shelter House.

Cost: Free Event

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

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Yosemit Loop Hike - Lake Hope
Sat Nov 11

9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Come join the naturalist on a moderately strenuous 5-mile hike.

Caravan from the nature center to the trail head.

Bring water, dress in layers and please wear sturdy footwear.

Cost: Free Event

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

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Nature On Display
Sun Nov 12

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Meet at the Lake Hope Dining Lodge.

Cost: Free Event

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

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Gobble, Gobble at Lake Hope
Sat Nov 18

2:00 - 3:00 pm

It is Turkey Time at the nature center. Learn all about the life of a turkey including how they use their creatively named body parts.

Cost: Free Event

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

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Birdseed Basics at Lake Hope
Sun Nov 19

10:00 - 11:00 am

We will help you use the right foods to keep your backyard birds healthy and happy all winter long. Learn how to attract specific species and make your own take-home bird feeder. Meet at the nature center.

Cost: Free Event

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

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Wildcat Cave Hike - Lake Hope
Wed Nov 22

1:00 - 2:00 pm

Join us for a .75-mile hike to see one of Lake Hopes hidden gems, a large recess cave. Discover the geological process at work. Meet the naturalist at Grouse Point. Wear study shoes and dress in layers.

Recreation programs and activities can be inherently dangerous. Participants accept and acknowledge that any injury or property damage that occurs during any program or activity is not the responsibility of ODNR or its naturalist educators.

Cost: Free Event

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

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Oh, Deer... at Lake Hope
Fri Nov 24

4:30 - 6:00 pm

Join us to catch a glimpse of a white-tailed deer on a 2-mile walk. Learn about their natural history and ways to attract them in for a closer look. Meet at the Hope Furnace.

Recreation programs and activities can be inherently dangerous. Participants accept and acknowledge that any injury or property damage that occurs during any program or activity is not the responsibility of ODNR or its naturalist educators.

Cost: Free Event

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

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Built By Beaver
Fri Dec 1

5:00 - 6:00 pm.

Some 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 Beach House to caravan to the location.

Cost: Free Event

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

Interest Tags: Outdoor Activity, Family Oriented, Special Interest, Wildlife,
Christmas at Lake Hope
Sat Dec 16

4:00 - 6:00 pm

Join Santa for cookies, hot chocolate, and even a horse-drawn wagon ride.

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)
Featured Businesses and Events
Equestrian Ridge Farm
Cherry Ridge Retreat
Lake Hope Dining Lodge
The Big Pine Tree House