LAKE MILTON STATE PARK
Lake Milton's reservoir offers the best in water-related recreation. Boating, swimming and fishing are popular. The scenic shoreline provides a habitat for waterfowls and shorebirds for visitors to enjoy.
Lake Milton State Park lies in the portion of the Appalachian Plateau in Ohio that was overridden by glaciers some 12,000 years ago. This glaciated plateau contains a great variety of plants, animals and natural habitats. The plateau's rolling hills are interspersed with forests, bogs, old fields, streams and lakes.
The plateau is a major meeting ground of plants and forest types from the southern Appalachians and northern Allegheny regions. For instance, it is possible to see substantial stands of white oak and hickory which are typical of the southern Appalachians as well as northern hemlock forests which are more common in the northern Allegheny region. This tension zone accounts for the great diversity of plants in the area. Star flower, spring beauties, mountain maple, anemones and wood aster grace the floor of beech-maple woodlots.
Animals suited to this area include cottontail rabbit, red fox, raccoon, muskrat and woodchuck. Bird life is diverse with robins, warblers, pine siskins, hawks and owls being commonly seen. Reptiles found here include the midland painted turtle and the northern watersnake.
Before settlement of Ohio, dense forests covered much of the region. The forests were inhabited by Indians and wild animals including wolf, elk, bear and mountain lion. Indian trails and rivers provided access to the area. When settlers started moving west, they traveled the same routes as the Indians. Historic records recall only a few incidents between settlers and the Indians.
John and Mary Young traveled to this area from New York and in 1797 platted a town on the bank of the Mahoning River. In 1803, the Youngs left the area due to homesickness, but the town (Youngstown) still bears their name. Shortly after the Young's departure, iron, coal and limestone were discovered in the nearby hills. In 1826, the first coal mine opened in the valley. After Lake Superior's extensive iron ore deposits were discovered, the Mahoning Valley steel industry grew at a rapid rate. Union Iron and Steel Company, the first Mahoning steel plant, opened in 1892. Additional mills and fabricating plants drew immigrants of all nationalities to the valley.
In 1910, the city of Youngstown acquired 3,416 acres in Milton Township to construct a reservoir to be used as a water supply. A 2,800-foot dam was completed in 1913 impounding 1,640 acres on the Mahoning River. Lake Milton included a small amusement park at Craig Beach with a swimming beach, roller coaster, boat trips and a busy midway. The east side of the lake included taverns, a dance hall and a skating rink.
During the 1970s, mounting problems with the Lake Milton dam demanded attention. Considering safety factors, the gates were opened in the spring of 1986 and the lake was drained. State assistance was sought and shortly thereafter repairs to the dam began. Within two years, the dam was ready to hold water again.
Lake Milton was officially dedicated as a state park in 1988.
Ohio does not have an annual pass and does not charge entrance fees to state parks.
Hiking Trail, miles1
Picnic Shelters, #4
Swimming Beach, feet600
BoatingBoating LimitsUnlimited HP
Seasonal Dock Rental100
Launch Ramps, #3
Fuel For Saleyes
A new 600-foot beach has restrooms, change booths, showers, playground, basketball court and sand volleyball court.
Boating is popular at the lake which is designated for unlimited horsepower. Boaters have access to a section of the Mahoning River at the south end of the lake. Two launch ramps and seasonal dock rentals are available. Lake Milton Scenic Cruises offer cruises around the lake during the summer months.