GRAND LAKE STATE PARK
Originally constructed as a feeder reservoir for the Miami-Erie Canal, Grand Lake St. Marys was for many years recognized as the largest man-made reservoir in the world. This large lake is the gateway to swimming, boating, camping and fishing in one of Ohio's oldest state parks
Although hard to imagine, at one time the Grand Lake St. Marys region was part of a vast forest wilderness that stretched from the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania to the prairies of Illinois. Today, in place of this forest are fields of corn, soybeans and wheat.
In addition to forests, pre-settlement Ohio contained large prairies and wetlands. The land which now lies beneath St. Marys reservoir was once a vast wet prairie. Today, the park contains varying habitats including woodlands, wetlands, and prairies in addition to the surrounding croplands.
Grand Lake St. Marys lies along one of the country?s major migration routes. Water birds using the lake as a resting stop include Canada geese, ducks, grebes, swans, egrets, loons, herons, cormorants and ospreys. Many ducks, geese and heron also nest here. Bald eagles, magnificent birds long absent from the area, have again nested on the southwest corner of the lake at the wildlife refuge. Other animals of the park include fox squirrel, mink, raccoon, beaver, coyote, white-tailed deer and many others.
The area in and around Grand lake St. Marys State Park played an important part in the development of the Northwest territory. The St. Marys River served as a vital link between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River. Because of this heavy water traffic, the renegades Simon and James Girty established a trading post, which eventually evolved into the town of St. Marys. General ?Mad? Anthony Wayne passed through the area during the War of 1812, and some of his men returned here to make their homes.
In 1837, work commenced on a reservoir for the Miami-Erie canal to maintain the canal?s five-foot water depth. Workers using hand tools were paid 35 cents a day and a jigger of whiskey to keep malaria away. At its completion in 1845, 13,500-acre Grand Lake was the largest man-made lake in the world. The lake was connected to the canal by a three-mile feeder. The canal prospered until the coming of the railroads in the 1870s. The area experienced another boom in the late 1890s when oil was discovered. For a time the lake was dotted with oil derricks. Today a pile of rocks near the center of the lake marks the spot of the last producing well.
Grand Lake St. Marys and other canal feeder lakes in the state were the first areas to be dedicated as Ohio state parks in 1949.
Ohio does not have an annual pass and does not charge entrance fees to state parks.
Picnic Shelters, #7
Boating LimitsUnlimited HP
Seasonal Dock Rental111
Launch Ramps, #8
Fuel For Saleyes
Electric Sites, #154
Camper Cabins, #7
Group Camp, capacity100
The campground contains 216 sites of which 154 are equipped with electricity. Facilities include flush toilets, laundry, showers and a dump station. Pets are permitted. The campground also offers a camper's only swimming beach, boat launch and boat docks/tie-ups. Five spacious Cedar Cabins with all the amenities of a fully-equipped RV are also available for daily or weekly rental. A seasonal naturalist holds scheduled programs, including movies, Thursday through Saturday night.
The park offers four public swimming beaches as well as other swimming areas provided for boaters.
Grand Lake State Park in Ohio offers a variety of fishing opportunities for both novice and experienced anglers. The park's main attraction, Grand Lake St. Marys, is one of the largest inland lakes in Ohio and provides an excellent habitat for numerous species.
The lake is known to be home to several types of fish including largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish and yellow perch among others. Anglers can expect good catches especially during spring when these fishes are spawning.
In addition to shore fishing spots around the 13k-acre lake where you can cast your line from land or docks available throughout the park; boat-based angling is also popular here with multiple launch ramps provided by state authorities making it easy access into deeper waters which often yield larger specimens than those found closer towards shoreline areas due its depth variation up-to 10 feet deep at some points within this body water system itself!
Fishing tournaments are held regularly on Grand Lake St.Marys as well - attracting competitors from all over region who come test their skills against each other while trying catch biggest possible prize-winning fish they could find swimming beneath surface level down below them out there somewhere waiting patiently just like any true sportsman would do under such circumstances indeed!
Remember that anyone aged 16 years old or older must have valid Ohio Fishing License before they start casting lines off either side bank along entire perimeter surrounding our beautiful natural resource we call "home" today... So make sure get yours now if haven't done so already yet because time waits no man (or woman) after all right?
Grand Lake State Park is located near Celina, Lima and Saint Marys
Picnic areas with tables and grills are located in scenic areas around the lake. Some picnic shelters are on a reservation basis. Contact the park office for details.
1. Buckeye Trail: A 1444-mile loop trail that offers a challenging hike with steep inclines, rocky terrain and dense forests; perfect for experienced hikers seeking an adrenaline rush.
2. Lakeview Trail: This scenic route skirts the edge of Grand Lake offering breathtaking views over shimmering waters, dotted by sailboats in summer or ice-fishers during winter months.
3. Prairie View Nature Loop: An easy-to-navigate path through lush prairies filled with wildflowers blooming vibrantly under Ohio's blue skies - ideal for birdwatchers and nature photographers alike.
4. Beaver Creek Hiking Pathway: Winding its way along the creek bed, this trail is known to offer glimpses of beavers at work amidst thickets of willow trees while providing serene sounds from flowing water as background music throughout your journey.
5. Woodland Ridge Track: Meandering up hillsides covered in towering oak trees before descending into valleys carpeted with ferns - it's like stepping back into prehistoric times on this secluded track.
6. Heron Rookery Route: Named after herons nesting nearby each spring season, expect sightings not only these majestic birds but also other wildlife such as deer grazing peacefully near marshy areas.
7. Whispering Pines Circuit: As name suggests, you'll find yourself surrounded whispering pine forest creating calming ambiance making every step worthwhile.
8. Sunset Point Overlook Walkway: Short yet rewarding walk leading panoramic view point overlooking entire park bathed golden hues sunset ; don't forget bring camera capture stunning spectacle !
9. Wetlands Exploration Boardwalk: Elevated wooden boardwalk traverses wetlands area allowing close-up exploration diverse ecosystem without disturbing natural habitat.
10. Fox Hollow Fitness Course: Combining fitness outdoor adventure, course features various exercise stations scattered across woodland setting encouraging active lifestyle amongst beauty Mother Nature.
11 Deer Run Passageway: Known for frequent deer sightings, this trail winds through dense forests and open meadows providing a tranquil hiking experience.
12. Eagle's Nest Ridge Trail: A steep climb to the top of the ridge rewards hikers with an eagle:eye view over Grand Lake State Park; perfect spot for panoramic photography or quiet contemplation.
13. Blue Heron Bay Path: This coastal path offers stunning views across bay where blue herons are often seen wading shallow waters hunting their next meal.
14. Wildflower Meadow Walk: Best visited in spring when wildflowers bloom profusely painting landscape myriad colors, it's like walking through natural art gallery.
15 Otter Slide Loop: Named after playful otters frequently spotted sliding down muddy banks into lake below ; keep eyes peeled these elusive creatures while enjoying serene lakeside hike.
In this Ohio location, birding enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of options. The park is home to numerous species including waterfowl and songbirds which are attracted by the lake's diverse habitats such as marshes, woodlands and meadows. Birdwatchers may spot Bald Eagles or Osprey soaring above while Great Blue Herons wade in shallow waters hunting for fish. During migration seasons, visitors might see flocks of Sandhill Cranes passing through along with other migratory birds like warblers or sparrows making it an ideal place for both novice and experienced bird watchers alike.
Lake Loramie State Park, southeast of Grand Lake St. Marys, offers fishing, boating, swimming and camping. The Miami-Erie Trail, a 47-mile portion of the statewide Buckeye Trail, begins at Lake Loramie and passes within a mile and a half of Grand Lake St. Marys State Park. The Miami-Erie Trail terminates at Delphos, approximately 22 miles north of St. Marys.
St. Marys Fish Hatchery, located on the lake's eastern shore is operated by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The hatchery raises saugeye, walleye, channel catfish and bass for distribution in the public fishing waters of the state.
The Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum is located in Wapakoneta, Armstrong's boyhood home.
Grand Lake Bait & Tackle
521 Jackson St
St Marys, OH
172 E Bank Rd
St Marys, OH
Wildlife Bait & Tackle
565 E Market St
103 E Logan St
1840 E Market St
Fox's Den Golf Course
1221 Irmscher Blvd
West Lake Hotel Villas
1101 W Bank Rd
1. Start by heading west on W. Spring St. towards N. Main St.
2. At the traffic circle, take the 3rd exit onto Celina Rd.
3. Continue on Celina Rd. for approximately 1.6 miles.
4. At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit to continue on Celina Rd.
5. Drive for about 3.5 miles, then turn left onto OH-364 W/N. Washington St.
6. Follow OH-364 W for around 8 miles.
7. Turn right onto Staeger Rd., and continue for about 2.5 miles.
8. Finally, turn left onto OH-703 W. After a short distance, you will arrive at Grand Lake State Park.