DEER CREEK STATE PARK
Located in the heart of Ohio's agricultural country, Deer Creek State Park is central Ohio's vacation showplace. A collage of meadows and woodlands surround the scenic reservoir. This resort park features a modern lodge, cottages, campground, golf course, swimming beach and boating for outdoor enthusiasts.
Deer Creek State Park lies on the eastern edge of the great till plains of Ohio. These plains receive their name from the glacial debris, or till, which is a mixture of sand, silt and gravel that was deposited by the glaciers. As glaciers advanced across the northern two-thirds of Ohio, most hills and valleys were covered and filled in by the till, leaving this part of Ohio relatively flat.
Today, these rich plains in the park's region support corn, soybeans and wheat. The first settlers to the area did not find these open fields. Except for a few small prairie openings, the region was covered by dense woodlands. A regrowth of the original woodlands can be found scattered along the ridge tops and creek bottoms of the park.
Wildflowers abound in the fields and woodlands of the till plains. In spring, common flowers are Dutchman's breeches, rue anemone, trillium, spring beauty and bloodroot. Summer months produce thimbleweed, wild lettuce, jewelweed and daisy fleabane. In autumn, the most abundant flowers are aster, goldenrod and chicory, whose roots were used by settlers to make a coffee-like beverage.
The best known animals of the Deer Creek area include amphibians such as the chorus frog, spring peeper and American toad. Reptiles include box and painted turtles, black rat snake and eastern garter snake. Numerous mammals inhabit the park. Most of them are small and include the red fox, raccoon, opossum, woodchuck, skunk, rabbit, deer mouse and white-tailed deer. Deer Creek is known for its population of ring-necked pheasant. Other birds of the area include eastern meadowlark, song sparrow, cowbird, eastern bluebird, barn swallow and woodcock.
On a long ridge that once overlooked Deer Creek and its valley, researchers have discovered evidence of a camp of an ancient Indian tribe. The nomads who camped here around 2,000 B.C. were hunters and gatherers and used this camp periodically throughout the year. Since agriculture was not practiced by the nomads, they moved on after they depleted the plant or animal food supplies in a locale. Burial sites near the camp indicate it was inhabited over a period of time.
In more recent years, a cottage owned by Harry M. Daugherty, the attorney general under President Warren G. Harding, overlooked the valley. The rustic one and one-half story cottage was built in 1918. The President was said to have visited this cottage which now bears his name.
The completion of the dam in 1968 created the lake with the park officially opening in 1974.
Ohio does not have an annual pass and does not charge entrance fees to state parks.
Nearby Wildlife Area, acres3,710
Hiking Trail, miles9
Swimming Beach, feet1,400
Mountain Bike Trails, miles1
Bridle Trails, miles18
Boating LimitsUnlimited HP
Seasonal Dock Rental152
Launch Ramps, #2
Fuel For Saleyes
CampingElectric Sites, #227
Rent-A-Camp Sites, #3
Group Camp, capacity60
Youth Group Camp, capacity200
Horsemen Campsites, #3
AccommodationsLodge Rooms, #110
Family Cottages, #26
Indoor Swimming Poolyes
Outdoor Swimming Poolyes
A 350-acre, 18-hole golf course near the lodge is a challenge for golfers with its 10 ponds and 52 sand traps
The campground at Deer Creek has 232 sites. All have electricity. The campground features showers, flush toilets and a dump station. Pets are permitted on designated sites. Four Rent-A-Camp units consisting of a tent, dining fly, cooler, cook stove and other equipment can be rented during the summer months by reservation. A group camp is also available by reservation. A horsemen's camp provides primitive overnight facilities for riders and a primitive group camp offers an area for groups.
Twenty-five cottages offer overnight accommodations. The cottages have two bedrooms, bath with a shower, living room, complete kitchen, dining area and screened porch. The cottages sleep six people. The historic Harding Cabin offers a unique setting and sleeps 8.
The lodge at Deer Creek has 110 guest rooms, many with a panoramic view of the lake. Lodge features include indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, whirlpool and exercise room. A restaurant, lounge and meeting rooms provide additional accommodations.