BEAVER CREEK STATE PARK
Beaver Creek State Park, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, is one of Ohio's most scenic parks. The park includes Little Beaver Creek, a state and national wild and scenic river, and acres of forest wilderness. The rich history of the area invites visitors to explore Gaston's Mill, pioneer village and abandoned canal locks.
Beaver Creek State Park is nestled in the sandstone hills of eastern Ohio. The park is comprised of various habitats including bottomlands, a gorge, forests and Little Beaver Creek--a state and national wild and scenic river. The valley of Little Beaver is characterized by steep walls, high rock cliffs and numerous gentle rapids. Geologically, the valley of Little Beaver is extremely unique, being the only stream valley in the United States yet described, in which evidence of all four major glaciations is found.
The flora of the park contains several interesting and unusual species, some of which are more commonly found in northern regions. Canada yew, yellow and black birch, hemlock and mountain laurel can be found in the deep stream valley. The stream banks are lined with delicate wildflowers including jewelweed, hepatica, violets and spring beauties.
Many types of wildlife find the park's varying habitats inviting. Red fox, skunk, raccoon and white-tailed deer are commonly seen while the elusive wild turkey is making a comeback in the area. Recently, sightings of black bear have become more frequent.
The first inhabitants of the Beaver Creek area were Indians of the Fluted Point Culture nearly 10,000 years ago. Flint knives, fluted arrowheads and pottery have been found nearby. In more recent history, the Wyandot and Mingo Indians resided here. The family of Logan, the celebrated Mingo chief, was massacred near here on the Ohio River at the mouth of Yellow Creek--spurring Lord Dunmore's War in 1774. The first permanent white settler in the area, Trapper John Quinn, moved into the valley around 1790.
Remnants of the Sandy and Beaver Canal, a spur off the Ohio-Erie Canal, are found throughout the park. The 73-mile Sandy and Beaver Canal was built in the mid-1800s and contained 90 locks and 30 dams. Lusk's Lock, with its double-curved stone staircase is the largest and most artistic on the canal and still remains intact. Lusk's Lock is also known as Simon Girty's Lock because it is believed Girty, a notorious renegade during the Revolution, frequented the area.
As railroads came into Ohio, canal and river traffic declined. The founding of the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad Company caused the closing of the Sandy and Beaver Canal in 1853.
The Little Beaver valley provided opportunity for water power and resulted in the construction of Gaston's Mill in 1837. The mill stands completely restored and today grinds whole wheat flour, corn meal and buckwheat flour on a seasonal basis. A pioneer village, adjacent to the mill, includes a log home, schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and a church.
Of other local, historical significance was the capture of the infamous Confederate General, John Hunt Morgan. Morgan was one of the Confederacy's most daring cavalrymen. Morgan and his 2,000 raiders crossed the entire width of Ohio from west to east before his eventual capture near the park.
The discovery of rich clay deposits in the area of East Liverpool led to the birth of the pottery industry in the 1840s. The industry was so prosperous that the area became known as the pottery center of the United States.
One pottery alone produced 24 tons of ware daily. Nearly three-fourths of the nation's white ware was produced in this region in the mid-1800s.
When the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was created in 1949, Beaver Creek was dedicated as a state park.
Nearby Wildlife Area, acres2,105
Hiking Trail, miles10
Picnic Shelters, #1
Bridle Trails, miles23
Electric Sites, #6
Group Camp, capacity125
Horsemen Campsites, #59
The campground is scenically located high above Little Beaver Creek and offers large shaded sites. The 55 non-electric sites have tables, fire rings, pit latrines and a dump station. Pet camping is permitted on designated sites. Two Rent-A-Camp units consisting of tent, covered picnic table, cook stove, cooler and other equipment are available by reservation during the summer season. Contact the park office for details.
A group camp area can accommodate organized groups up to 125 people and is available on a reservation basis. A horseman's camp offers primitive camping with water, latrines and tie-ups for those wishing to use the park's bridle trails.
Little Beaver Creek offers one of the most exciting canoe trips in the state of Ohio. Challenging rapids and breathtaking scenery are highlights of a trip through the Little Beaver Creek gorge. Please use caution when canoeing as the river's immense power is often hidden. The creek is navigable by canoe or rubber raft only.