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USA Parks
Southwest Ohio Region
Rocky Fork State Park
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Rocky Fork State Park © Gene Shirk
Rocky Fork State Park © Gene Shirk
Rocky Fork State Park © Gene Shirk
Rocky Fork State Park © Gene Shirk
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Rocky Fork State Park © Gene Shirk
Rocky Fork State Park © Angie Little
Rocky Fork State Park © Angie Little
Rocky Fork State Park © Angie Little
Rocky Fork State Park © Angie Little
Rocky Fork State Park © Angie Little
First fish caught in 2010
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9800 N Shore Dr
Hillsboro, Ohio   45133
(lat:39.1883 lon:-83.5313) map location

Phone: 937-393-4284
Reservations: 866-644-6727
Rocky Fork State Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Unlimited horsepower boating allows for excellent skiing on the lake which also provides catches of bass, muskellunge and walleye for skilled fishermen. A scenic gorge, dolomite caves and natural wetlands add to the popularity of this recreation area.
Nature of the Area
Rocky Fork State Park nestled in Highland County derives its name from the stream flowing through the park. This stream, winding over dolomite limestone, has eroded spectacular gorges and caves which we can enjoy today.

Present-day Rocky Fork Creek flows through an ancient valley. Blocked by glacial ice more than 12,000 years ago, the stream reversed direction and rapidly cut the 75-foot gorge seen today. Caves in the region formed as rainwater, trickling through the limestone, dissolved the bedrock. Dolomite limestone is particularly vulnerable to this type of weathering. Sullivantia, extremely rare in Ohio, blooms in the gorge. The small white flowers can be seen from the moist cliff face in mid-summer. Other wildflowers include wild geranium, jewelweed, yarrow and Queen Anne's lace.

Rocky Fork provides habitat for numerous waterfowl, songbirds, raccoons, skunk, red fox and white-tailed deer. The wetlands in the park are home to the green frog, bullfrog, opossum and muskrat.
History of the Area
Rocky Fork State Park is an area steeped in the rich Indian history of Ohio. The land provided abundant game and a ready transportation system in the nearby creeks and rivers. These same streams provided access to the Rocky Fork area for the first settlers.

Plentiful water attracted a number of millwrights to the Highland County region. During the 1800s and the early 1900s, at least six different mill sites were established along Rocky Fork's banks. These mills not only ground flour, but also cut lumber, carded wool and even wove blankets. Water-powered industry was instrumental in the early development of the locale.

The only mill remaining on the Rocky Fork is the J. A. McCoppin Mill found just below the Rocky Fork spillway and operated until the 1970s. First built by David Reece in 1810, the earliest mill was washed out during high water. Soon after the destructive flood, the present cut-stone dam was built. These mills were the focal point of early rural life.

In 1897, surveyors for a proposed railroad came to the countryside that would one day be the park. Local people had high hopes that the new "Black Diamond" rail line would bring prosperity to the area. The addition of rail transportation would enable the local mills to ship flour and other mill industry goods all over the country. There was to be a depot built in Rainsboro with a stockyard and telegraph office. Meetings were held by railroad officials to secure a right-of-way from nearby landowners. A town was planned near McCoppin's (at that time Costello's) Mill. Unfortunately, the "Black Diamond" never got past the planning stages, and the new town of Lodore never came to be.

The eastern part of Highland County has been a resort location for many years. The "Seven Caves" and nearby Rocky Fork gorge attracted visitors even in the mid 1800s. At the turn of the century, Colonel Walter H. Hutchins, a regular visitor to the area from Cincinnati, first dreamed of building a dam near McCoppin's Mill. He was the lake's biggest promoter and saw construction begin in 1949. The first water spilled over the dam in April 1953. Since that summer, thousands of people have visited Rocky Fork State Park. The lake has become a favorite of fishermen and water sports enthusiasts.
Ohio does not have an annual pass and does not charge entrance fees to state parks.
GeneralLand, acres1,384
 Water, acres2,080
 Hiking Trail, miles1
 Swimming Beach, feet800
 Mountain Bike Trails, miles2
 Beach Concessionyes
 Nature Centeryes
BoatingBoat Rentalyes
 Boating LimitsUnlimited HP
 Seasonal Dock Rental800
 Launch Ramps, #6
 Fuel For Saleyes
CampingPrimitive, #31
 Electric Sites, #96
 Full Hookup Sites, #44
 Pets Permittedyes
 Flush Toiletsyes
 Camp Commissaryyes
Three marinas are located around the lake. One marina provides fuel; all three have launch ramps, docking space and parking. The East Shore Marina includes a modern restaurant while a snack bar is provided at North Beach.
There are 190 campsites suitable for trailers and tents at the northwest corner of the lake. The campground is equipped with showers, flush toilets, laundry facilities, dump station, camp store and campers' beach. Electric hookups are available at 130 sites, with an additional 20 sites offering full-service hookups. Pet camping is permitted on designated sites in both the electric and non-electric areas. A launch ramp and tie-ups are provided for campers with boats.

A separate group camp may be reserved by contacting the park office. The recreation barn also may be rented. It contains meeting space, restrooms, showers and a modified kitchen.
Two large public beaches with changing booths and bathhouses are located on the north and south sides of the lake. A boat/swim area is available for boaters.
Motors of unlimited horsepower are permitted at Rocky Fork. Sixteen boat launching ramps are located around the lake. Rental docks are available for frequent summer visitors. A designated area is available for boat camping.
Rocky Fork State Park in Ohio offers a variety of fishing options for both experienced and novice anglers. The park's 2,080-acre lake is home to several species of fish including largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, saugeye (a hybrid walleye/sauger), channel catfish and muskellunge. Fishing can be done from the shore or by boat with multiple launch ramps available around the lake.

The marina at Rocky Fork Lake also provides bait sales as well as rental boats for those who do not have their own equipment but still want to enjoy some time on the water. For children under age 16 or adults over age 66 there are designated areas where they can fish without needing an Ohio fishing license.

In addition to traditional rod-and-reel methods, bowfishing is permitted within certain sections of Rocky Fork Lake during specific seasons; however it requires special permits separate from standard licenses.

For fly-fishermen looking for trout action outside regular season dates when stocking occurs elsewhere in state waters - catch & release only applies here year-round due its status being classified "wildlife refuge".

Ice fishing is another popular activity during winter months once conditions allow safe access onto frozen surfaces - always remember safety precautions before venturing out though!

Picnic areas are located on the north and east shores in wooded areas overlooking the lake.
Four miles of hiking trails take visitors through cool woodlands, scenic gorges and moist wetlands. A short trail near the campground takes nature lovers to an observation station where excellent birdwatching can be pursued.
Biking enthusiasts can enjoy a 2-mile trail, but be aware it's shared with hikers. Helmets are strongly recommended.

The terrain varies from flat to slightly inclined; beginners should proceed carefully and stay alert for changes.

Off-road biking is not permitted in the park - stick to designated trails only for safety reasons.

For those seeking longer rides, nearby roads offer additional mileage but bear in mind traffic rules apply here too.

Remember that bike rentals aren't available on-site so bring your own or rent one before arriving at the location.

Night-time cycling isn't allowed as there's no lighting along paths - plan accordingly during daylight hours.
The park offers a variety of birding opportunities due to its diverse habitats, including woodlands, meadows and lake areas. Over 230 species have been spotted here such as the Bald Eagle and Osprey. The area is also home to waterfowl like ducks during migration seasons in spring and fall. Birdwatchers can explore several trails or use observation decks for viewing these avian creatures up close.
Area Attractions
Fort Hill, south of Bainbridge off State Route 41, is the site of a complex of Hopewell Indian mounds. These mounds are more than 1,000 years old and the site includes a museum. Serpent Mound, in northeastern Adams County, is one of the most spectacular Indian earthworks in Ohio. Built by the prehistoric Adena Indians, Serpent Mound is a 1,000-foot snake effigy mound. Both of these sites are operated by the Ohio Historical Society.

Paint Creek and Pike Lake state parks are located within a short drive of Rocky Fork. Both parks offer excellent camping, fishing and hiking opportunities. Oldaher, Fallsville and Hillsboro Reservoir are areas operated by the ODNR Division of Wildlife and offer fishing and hunting.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
August 28 Great Place to camp by LUV MY POP UP
park review stars; one to five Very clean shower/bath houses. Camping located on scenic views of the lake. Full hookup sites and well stocked camping store. Staff extremly kind and helpful. Campgroungs quiet at night. Go experieince Rocky Fork State Park, you will not be dissapointed.
July 27 the other side of hevaen!!! by GODS CHILD.
park review stars; one to five hi, i would like to tell you ROCKY FORK IS THE HEAVEN ON EARTH. it hleps you clear your mine, its peaceful, its reallllly pretty and i just love it there. well i guss im trying to say you should go and sea for your-self. ( take my words for it.) have a great time there i know i will. thank you for reading this and GOD BLESS!!!! ?)
July 19 Watch your step!!
park review stars; one to five This is a beautiful lake but the beach and grassy area is nasty. You cannot take a step without having to dodge dog poop!! People with animals need to respect other visitors and clean up after their pets!
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Area Campgrounds
Shady Trails Family Campground
11145 North Shore Drive
Hillsboro, OH
Long's Retreat Family Resort
50 Bell Hollow Road
Latham, OH
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Willard's Lake
3605 Us Highway 50
Hillsboro, OH
(937) 364-6134
Cast Away Lakes
4098 E Danville Rd
Hillsboro, OH
(937) 288-0104
Highland Lakes Inc
2850 McAfee Rd
Hillsboro, OH
(937) 927-9103
Area Cabins and Lodges
North Bay Cottages
11083 N Shore Dr
Hillsboro, OH
(937) 393-2849
Tu-Lakes Motel
7420 N Beach Rd
Hillsboro, OH
(937) 393-1917
Lazy H Cabin Rentals
14889 Old 50
Bainbridge, OH
(937) 365-1961
Holiday Cottages
6837 Mccoppin Mill Rd
Hillsboro, OH
(937) 365-1331
Cedar Trails Nudist Retreat
11 Cow Run Rd
Hillsboro, OH
(937) 764-1365
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
businesss listing main photo
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.
60.3 miles from park*
businesss listing main photo
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.
55.2 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

9800 North Shore Drive, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133

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Ohio State Parks