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Southeast Ohio Region
Blue Rock State Forest
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Blue Rock Township, Ohio   43727
(lat:39.8412 lon:-81.8585) map location
The 4,579-acre Blue Rock State Forest, located 12 miles southeast of Zanesville is accessed primarily via State Route 60 and Culter Lake Road. Most of the marginally productive farmland was originally acquired by the federal government during the 1930s under the Resettlement Administration. Surface ownership was later transferred to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Forestry while the federal government retained three-fourths interest in the oil and gas rights. Subsequent reforestration and the application of forest management and protection practices have transformed low quality farmland into one of Ohio's most beautiful and productive forests. In 1949, management of Cutler Lake and the adjoining recreation facilities was transferred to the Division of Parks and Recreation.
History of the Area
Blue Rock State Forest is located in Muskingum County, Ohio. The history of the forest dates back to the early 19th century when the state of Ohio began acquiring the land.

The area was primarily inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Delaware, until the late 18th century. With the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, much of the land was ceded to the United States government.

During the early 1800s, settlers from the east coast started moving to the Ohio Territory. The land that would eventually become Blue Rock State Forest was heavily forested and attracted settlers looking for lumber and resources. The area around the Blue Rock River, after which the forest is named, particularly witnessed a boom in sawmill operations.

In the 1920s, the state of Ohio recognized the importance of preserving forests and began purchasing land from private owners. The goal was to establish state forests for conservation, recreation, and resource management. Some of the land in what is now Blue Rock State Forest was purchased during this time.

Blue Rock State Forest was formally created in 1950 when the state purchased additional land. The forest covers around 4,500 acres and includes the scenic Blue Rock State Nature Preserve. The centerpiece of the forest is the stunning 15-acre Blue Rock Lake, which was created in the 1930s by damming the Blue Rock River. The lake serves as a popular recreational destination for boating, fishing, and swimming.

Blue Rock State Forest has been managed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The forest is utilized for a variety of recreational activities, including camping, hunting, hiking, and picnicking. It also serves as valuable habitat for wildlife, including deer, wild turkey, squirrel, and various bird species.

The state of Ohio has made efforts to improve and expand recreational facilities at Blue Rock State Forest, making it an even more popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
GeneralLand, acres4,579
Day-UseBridle Trails, miles26
1. Blue Rock State Park Campground: This campground offers 77 non-electric sites, showers and flush toilets, a dump station for RVs, picnic tables and fire rings at each site.

2. Wildcat Hollow Backpacking Trailhead Camping Area: A primitive camping area located within the forest that is perfect for backpackers or those looking to get off the beaten path.

3. Burr Oak Cove Campground: Although not directly in Blue Rock State Forest but it's nearby offering electric hookups as well as tent-only areas with amenities like restrooms and shower facilities.

4. Wolf Run Regional Park & Knox Lake Wildlife Area: Another option outside of the state forest where you can camp near a lake while still being close to hiking trails in Blue Rock.

5. AEP ReCreation Land (formerly known as American Electric Power Recreation Land): It has over 60 different campsites spread across its vast property which are free on first-come-first-serve basis.

6. Muskingum River Parkway State Park: Offers both family:friendly campsites along riverbanks.
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The state forest offers a variety of boating options for visitors. The 15-acre lake within the park allows rowboats, canoes and paddle boats. Electric motors are also permitted on these watercrafts but gas-powered engines are not allowed to maintain tranquility in the area. Boat rentals including life jackets and oars are available at affordable rates from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Blue Rock State Forest in Ohio offers a variety of fishing options for outdoor enthusiasts. The forest is home to Cutler Lake, where anglers can enjoy the serene environment while casting their lines. This lake houses several species of fish including largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish which are popular among fishermen due to their size and taste.

In addition to this, there's also Blue Rock Creek that flows through the state forest providing another spot for fishing activities. Here you may find smallmouth bass along with other native stream fishes like creek chub or common shiner.

Whether it be from shorelines or boats (with electric motors only), visitors have ample opportunities at Blue Rock State Forest to engage in recreational fishing amidst nature's beauty.

1. Cutler Lake Trail: A 2-mile loop trail around the lake, offering beautiful views of water and wildlife.

2. Blue Rock Fire Tower Loop: This is a moderate difficulty level hiking trail that spans about 4 miles with an elevation gain of approximately 500 feet.

3. Wildcat Hollow Hiking Trail: An easy to navigate path stretching over five miles through dense forest areas; perfect for bird watching and nature photography.

4. Buckeye/North Country National Scenic Trails (BNCNST): These trails run across Ohio including parts within the Blue Rock State Forest providing hikers with diverse landscapes from forests to farmlands.

5. Stone Church Horse Trail System: Although primarily designed for horseback riding, these multi:use trails are also open to hikers looking for longer treks in this state forest area spanning nearly twenty-five miles.

6. The Lookout Ridge Trial: It's a short but steep hike leading up towards one of the highest points in Muskingum County where you can enjoy panoramic views on clear days.

7. Irwin Run Nature Pathway:This pathway offers visitors an opportunity to explore various habitats along Irwin Run stream valley while enjoying its natural beauty during their walk or jog.

8. Cutler's Whispering Pines Interpretive Path:A self:guided interpretative walking tour which provides information regarding local flora & fauna as well as historical facts related specifically toward pine trees found here.

9. Bluebell Island Walking Track:A flat track suitable even for beginners featuring wildflowers especially bluebells blooming every spring season making it quite popular among locals.

10. Buckeye Furnace Rimrock Overlook:An adventurous trek taking you past historic iron furnace site before reaching rimrocks overlooking scenic valleys below.

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Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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Cottages and Cabins
Trickle Creek offers luxury cabins in Hocking Hills. The cabins are situated on nearly 236 acres of secluded cabin rentals in the deep wooded ravines in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Hocking County, Ohio.
39.6 miles from park*
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Hidden Cave Cabin - Rockbridge, OH
Cottages and Cabins
Hidden Cave Cabin is an authentic log cabin with 2 bedrooms in a private wooded setting. It is located on one of the most scenic drives in Hocking Hills and just 3.6 miles to Rock House and less than 10 miles to Conkle's Hollow and Old Man's Cave.
44.8 miles from park*

1. Start by heading south on I-77 S.
2. Take exit 34 for OH-60 toward Duncan Falls/Taylorville.
3. Turn left onto OH-60 S (signs for Duncan Falls).
4. Continue on OH-60 S for about 8.5 miles.
5. Turn right onto OH-376 W.
6. Drive for approximately 1.2 miles and then turn right onto Blue Rock Rd.
7. Follow Blue Rock Rd for about 4 miles until you reach Blue Rock State Forest.

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Ohio State Parks