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Ohio State Parks

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USA Parks
Southeast Ohio Region
Forked Run State Park
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63300 OH-124
Reedsville, Ohio   45772
(lat:39.0851 lon:-81.7703) map location

Phone: (740) 378-6206
Reservations: 866-644-6727
Forested hills, a picturesque lake and the lazy Ohio River characterize Forked Run State Park. Located in the heart of Appalachia, colorful history, riverboats,scenic vistas and abundant wildlife give the park its rural charm.
Nature of the Area
Forked Run State Park lies in the forested hill country of southeastern Ohio. This is Ohio's oldest landscape never reached by the glacial ice that once covered much of Ohio. Although this area was untouched by the massive ice sheets, torrents of glacial meltwaters hastened the carving of the valleys and hillsides into their present-day form.

Much of the area, now heavily forested, was once void of timber. Trees were cut to fuel the many iron furnaces of the area in the mid 1800s. Today, much of the forest has regrown, and vast stands of oak, hickory, maple and tuliptree clothe the deep ravines and hillsides. Wildflowers can be found in bloom except in winter months. Wild blue phlox, bloodroot, dame's rocket, cardinal flower, daisy fleabane, goldenrod and asters provide colorful displays. In spring, the hillsides burst forth with brilliant blooms of dogwood and redbud.

The forest and fields provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species including gray fox, raccoon, opossum, gray squirrel, white-tailed deer and wild turkey. Many songbirds enjoy the refuge of the forest including wood thrush,white-breasted nuthatch, scarlet tanager, pileated woodpecker and whip-poor-wills.
History of the Area
The colorful history and folklore of the Ohio River create the character of Forked Run State Park. The Ohio River felt the pull of the Indian's paddle, served as a territorial boundary, brought settlers into the Northwest Territory and carried flatboats and steamers that shipped passengers and cargo from Pittsburgh to New Orleans.

The mouth of the Shade River which empties into the Ohio nearby was known as a gloomy, rocky place called the Devil's Hole. The Native Americans returning from their raids into western Virginia routinely crossed the Ohio at that point. They would travel through the valley of the Shade River on the way to their towns on the Scioto. Settlement of the area was slow to develop until the Native Americans had subsided and the discovery of coal in the region provided means of support.

As mining increased, towns sprang up along the Ohio. Pomeroy, Middleport, Minersville and Syracuse were important mining centers. The coal was used to manufacture coke which in turn was used in the many furnaces that smelted iron ore from the surrounding sandstone bedrock. The ore resulted in iron used to produce agricultural implements, ammunition and cannons for the Union Army during the Civil War. During the 1860s, Ohio was one of the nation's leading producers of iron.

Equally important to the prosperity of the area was the salt industry. The first salt well was drilled in 1850 near Pomeroy. Eighteen salt furnaces were in operation during their peak of importance. Nearly 3,600 barrels of salt were produced daily.

The villages of Reedsville and Belleville were important boat-building centers, and it was on this section of the Ohio River that Captain Horatio Crooks introduced the compound-cylinder steam engine.

John Hunt Morgan, the Confederate General, while on his raid through Ohio was hampered in his efforts here to escape into western Virginia. The local militia thwarted Morgan's effort to ford the Ohio near Pomeroy, and as a result, he was eventually captured in Columbiana County.

Today, the area is known as a truck-farming center which produces crops of cabbage, melons, sweet corn and the famous Ohio River tomatoes.

Construction of Forked Run State Park began in May of 1951. In October 1952, the 102-acre lake was completed. The lake was stocked and opened to the public in the following year.
Ohio does not have an annual pass and does not charge entrance fees to state parks.
GeneralLand, acres815
 Water, acres102
 Nearby State Forest, acres2,601
 Hiking Trail, miles4
 Picnic Shelters, #2
 Swimming Beach, feet400
 Nature Programsyes
BoatingBoat Rentalyes
 Boating Limits10
 Seasonal Dock Rental5
 Launch Ramps, #3
CampingPrimitive, #64
 Electric Sites, #81
 Pets Permittedyes
 Rent-A-Camp Sites, #3
 Camper Cabins, #3
 Group Camp, capacity25
The main campground is situated on the ridges overlooking the scenic valley of Forked Run Lake. There are 198 non-electric sites in both sunny and shady areas. The campground offers showers, pet camping sites and a dump station. A group camp that can accommodate 120 individuals is available by reservation. Three Rent-A-Camp units consisting of a tent, dining fly, cooler, cookstove and other equipment can be rented during summer months by reservation. Three camper cabins are available for nightly rental.
A nice 100-foot sand beach offers enjoyment for swimmers and sunbathers.
A ten horsepower limit on boat motors ensures a quality boating or fishing experience on the lake. Three launch ramps provide access to the lake. Boat rentals are available. The first Ohio River Access project for the state park system was completed here in 1990. The easy access launch ramps also have a wheelchair accessible area for fishing plus boat tie-ups and restrooms. This area is located south of the park entrance off S.R. 124.

Forked Run State Park is located near Athens, Parkersburg and Vienna

Several scenic areas have tables and grills for picnicking opportunities. Two shelterhouses are available by reservation.
Three hiking trails provide opportunity for exploration, exercise, nature study and wildlife observation.
Area Attractions
Forked Run State Park is located adjacent to Shade River State Forest. Much of the forest's 2,601 acres is second growth pitch pine and Virginia pine. The area is also rich in hardwoods such as oaks and hickories. Hemlock and mountain laurel are found in some of the deep gorges.

Marietta, situated 34 miles northeast, offers the historian many opportunities including a visit to the Campus Martius State Memorial Museum, the Ohio River Museum or one of the area's restored sternwheelers.

Marie J. Desonier State Nature Preserve is located north of Forked Run near Coolville. This preserve is heavily forested and contains a large variety of ferns, wildflowers and songbirds.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
June 13 Relaxing by Terry
park review stars; one to five Staff was friendly and courteous. I enjoyed myself thoroughly. The relaxation of the fire and such. The only complaint I had at all is that the grounds needed mowed. Other than that everything was clean except for one bathroom. Overall great performance. There was ice available at their shop and Reedesville Store provided you with essentials if you run out.
July 28 One of the best by phil
park review stars; one to five Forked Run State Park had one best well kept frisbee golf courses. It was my first time and i would recomend it to everyone..Thanks for the course and keep up the good work
July 7 Old times by missy
park review stars; one to five as a child i visited here many times..then it took until last month took my grandkids here and swam and cooked out was a great time..headed there on aug. 7th to have my grandsons b-day..we are all excited.thanks for the job all you do there.!
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Area Fishing Related Businesses
Village Bait & Tackle
26201 Main St
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(740) 667-6817
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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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.
53.3 miles from park*
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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.
52.8 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

Use Mapquest and the address provided below to create a custom set of directions from your location to the Park:

63300 State Route 124, Reedsville, OH 45772-0127

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Ohio State Parks