EAST FORK STATE PARK
EAST FORK STATE PARK
3294 Elklick Road
Bethel, Ohio 45106-0119
East Fork State Park 'on the scout'
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East Fork State Park 'sunset on the lake'
© Lori McClure 2007
Sunset with the lake partially frozen was absolutely breathtaking. You could see snow in the foreground, then water and then ice.
East Fork State Park 'Snowy Solace'
Coming to the end of my Perimeter Trail hike Elklick
East Fork State Park
East Fork State Park 'Picture Perfect Day'
© Lori McClure 2007
I was on a short walk and as I turned I saw the beach and had to get a shot.
One of Ohio's largest state parks, East Fork offers a
great diversity of recreational opportunities and natural
history only 25 miles from Cincinnati. The park's terrain
includes both rugged hills and open meadows, setting
the stage for a wonderful getaway.
Clermont County's rolling hills and meandering river
valleys provide a colorful backdrop for spacious East
Fork State Park. Shaped by the forces of the Illinoian
and Wisconsinan glaciers, the East Fork region is
characterized by beautiful hill country scenery and is
noted for the occurrence of remnant prairie habitats.
Illinoian glacial deposits are not common in Ohio but
can be observed at East Fork and the surrounding area.
East Fork's diverse landscape includes dry-forested hills,
rocky cascades, abandoned farmlands, thickly grown
floodplains, marshy grasslands and swamp forests. This
diversity lends well to an abundance of plant and
animal life. Woodlands are composed of beech, sugar
maple, red and white oak, shagbark hickory, and wild
black cherry. The swamp forests contain silver maple,
American elm, sycamore, and black gum. The
meadows and remnant prairies contain big bluestem
grass and purple coneflower among others.
Animals of the area include eastern plains garter
snake, fence lizard, red fox, deer, raccoon, Canada
geese, song sparrow, eastern meadowlark, and the barn
The Little Miami River basin in which East Fork State Park is situated has been home to many generations of man,
dating back to nearly 3,000 years ago. Moundbuilders, the Adena and Hopewell Indians, occupied this area. The
mound near Elklick Road is thought to have been built by the Adena. The Erie Indians also lived here much later,
though by 1655 this nation was completely destroyed by the powerful Iroquois. The area was virtually uninhabited
through the remainder of the 17th century.
As the new state of Ohio began to be settled in the early 19th century, the East Fork region attracted settlers from the
east. Grist mills, sawmills, blacksmith shops, tanneries and stagecoach depots were among the early commercial
In 1869, two gold mines operated in the vicinity. One mine was located near Elklick and consisted of a flume for
washing gravel containing flakes of gold. The mine near Twin Bridges tunnelled underground to reach gold deposits
encased in bedrock.
Not far from the present park office, the "Old Bethel Church" on Elklick Road dates from 1867. It occupies the site of
a log church built about 1807 by Reverend John Collins. Some of the hand-hewn timbers secured with wooden pegs
and hand-forged nails used to construct the 1818 church are still present in the existing church.
More recently, the area has taken on a new appearance due to the creation of East Fork Reservoir in 1978. As part of
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control program, East Fork Lake and the surrounding region comprise one of
southwestern Ohio's largest recreational areas.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
Nearby Wildlife Areayes
Hiking Trail, miles82
Backpack Trail, miles46
Picnic Shelters, #3
Swimming Beach, feet1200
Mountain Bike Trails, miles5
Bridle Trails, miles55
BoatingBoating LimitsUnlimited HP
Launch Ramps, #6
CampingElectric Sites, #384
Full Hookup Sites, #5
Rent-A-Camp Sites, #6
Camper Cabins, #4
Horsemen Campsites, #17
East Fork has one of the largest camping areas in the state with 416 sites. The campground offers electrical hookups,
showers, drinking water, camper's beach, flush toilets and boat ramps. Pets are permitted in designated areas. A
17-site horsemen's camp is available as well. Six Rent-A-Camp units consisting of a tent, dining fly, cooler, cook
stove and other equipment can be rented during the summer months. Six Rent-A-RV units are also available.
A 1,200-foot swimming beach with a concession and picnic area provides the perfect setting for a fun family outing.
Those who enjoy water sports will find East Fork Lake very accommodating. There are 2,160 acres of water and
unlimited horsepower boating with access available at five launch ramps.