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Ohio State Parks

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USA Parks
Southeast Ohio Region
Scioto Trail State Park
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Scioto Trail State Park Lake Caldwell © Kevin Scott
Facing north towards the beach and campstore areas.
Scioto Trail State Park Stewart Lake © Victor F Artigas
Scioto Trail State Park Stewart Lake © Victor F Artigas
Scioto Trail S. P
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144 Lake Rd
Chillicothe, Ohio   45601
(lat:39.23 lon:-82.9559) map location

Phone: (740) 887-4818
Reservations: 866-644-6727
A small, quiet park nestled in beautiful 9,000-acre Scioto Trail State Forest, this state park is an undisturbed wooded refuge just south of Chillicothe. The ridgetops and winding forest roads offer breathtaking vistas of the Scioto River Valley. The beauty and remoteness of Scioto Trail offers the best of escapes to park visitors.
Nature of the Area
Located in the Appalachian foothills bordering the Scioto River, the park's rugged ridgetops and wooded valleys support a host of natural wonders. This densely forested hill country is reminiscent of the southern Appalachians supporting a magnificent stand of oak and hickory. In spring, the forest trails are lined with flowering dogwood and redbud trees. The forest floor displays woodland wildflowers including spring beauties, Dutchman's breeches, wild blue phlox and wild geranium. Ferns, mosses and lichens coat the sandstone outcroppings. Mushroom hunters delight in the abundance of the delicious morel mushroom.

The remoteness of the area and dense forest provides excellent habitat for some of Ohio's most elusive wildlife. Wild turkey populations are thriving in this region along with ruffed grouse and white-tailed deer. Small mammals of Scioto Trail include red fox, skunk, opossum, gray squirrel and raccoon among many others. Rare sightings of bobcat and black bear have been reported. Many reptiles and amphibians find the woodlands and streams of the area desirable.
History of the Area
Scioto Trail State Park is nestled in an area rich with reminders of Ohio's prehistoric peoples. These Mound Builders left extensive earthworks throughout the Scioto River Valley and its tributaries. Serpent Mound, in northeastern Adams County, is a 1,000-foot snake effigy mound built by the Adenas. Other smaller Adena mounds exist in Ross County. The Adena culture is named after the estate of early Ohio statesman Thomas Worthington. Adena, near Chillicothe, was the site of the first mound excavation attributed to these prehistoric people.

Other extensive earthworks exist north of Chillicothe on the Scioto floodplain. Mound City is attributed to a more advanced culture called the Hopewells. Other Hopewell mounds in the Scioto Trail region are Seip Mound, Spruce Hill and Fort Hill. The importance of the Scioto River to the early development of Ohio carried through from these prehistoric peoples to the Shawnee and first pioneer settlers.

The Shawnee utilized the river as their primary means of transportation from one village to another. The Scioto Trail was an Indian trail that followed the Scioto River from northern Ohio to the Kentucky hunting grounds. The trail was later used by settlers who came upriver from Portsmouth to the first capital of Ohio--Chillicothe. There is a replica of the first church in the area, Chillicothe's First Presbyterian, in Caldwell Lake Hollow. This plain log structure gives testimony to the simple lifestyle of early Ohioans.

The first European settlers came to the area in the 1790s. In 1796, General Nathaniel Massie and a small group of settlers started the town of Chillicothe. Many of these first Ohioans were veterans of the Revolutionary War. The land west of the Scioto River and east of the Little Miami River was set aside for Virginia veterans of the Revolution. Land allotments were based on time served and rank of these soldiers.

Initial purchases of land for the park and forest began in 1922. Most of the major development took place in the 1930s during the original Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) days. They constructed most of the roads, lakes and the original recreational facilities.
Ohio does not have an annual pass and does not charge entrance fees to state parks.
GeneralLand, acres218
 Water, acres30
 Nearby State Forest, acres9,151
 Hiking Trail, miles5
 Backpack Trailyes
 Bridle Trailsyes
BoatingBoating Limits-1
 Launch Ramps, #1
CampingPrimitive, #33
 Electric Sites, #40
 Pets Permittedyes
 Camper Cabins, #2
 Cross-Country Skiingyes
 Ice Skatingyes
 Ice Fishingyes
The wooded campground at Caldwell Lake offers 56 sites of which 40 are equipped with electricity. Pit latrines, dump stations, fire rings and picnic tables are provided. A primitive walk-in camp located near Stewart Lake offers an additional 18 non-electric sites.
Nearby Accommodations
businesss listing main photo
Cottages and Cabins
Rustic beauty in a peaceful, clean atmosphere is the secret to this Family Retreat. The serene splendor of Mother Nature is your reward for visiting Walnut Creek. We offer cabin rentals for those who want the convenience with less effort.
5.8 miles from park*
Two small lakes offer boating with electric motors only. Canoeing is excellent on these quiet waters. A launch ramp is provided.

Several scenic areas offer excellent picnicking opportunities. Tables and grills are provided. A shelter house is available near the Stewart Lake picnic area, and a gazebo is located on Caldwell Lake Island. Both facilities my be reserved for a fee by calling the park office, or can be used on a first-come, first-served basis if not previously reserved.
Twelve miles of hiking trails and 17 miles of bridle trails lead to scenic overlooks and breathtaking vistas. A portion of the Buckeye Trail which links the four corners of Ohio passes through the state forest.
Area Attractions
A monument erected in 1842 stands at the entrance of Scioto Trail State Forest to commemorate William Hewitt. As a hermit, he lived for fourteen years in a cave near what is now the park and surrounding forest. Hewitt died in 1838 at the age of seventy after becoming a local legend. Eventually, the cave was whittled away by highway development and the monument was moved 1,000 feet north of its original site to its present location.

Nearby are Great Seal State Park which is located north of Chillicothe off State Route 159, Lake White State Park which is located near Waverly on State Route 220, and Tar Hollow State Park and State Forest which are located off State Route 327 near the Ross-Hocking-Vinton county lines.

The famous outdoor historical drama, Tecumseh!, is presented mid-June through Labor Day weekend at Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre. The Ross County Historical Society in Chillicothe features exhibits of pioneer crafts, firearms, furniture, toys and clothing. The museum is open March through November. One mile north of Chillicothe on State Route 104 is the Mound City/Hopewell Culture Group National Historic Park. The area is a prehistoric Indian complex of 23 burial mounds. A museum and visitors' center are open daily.

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Area Campgrounds
Walnut Creek Campground & Resort
2342 Walnut Creek Road
Chillicothe, OH
Sun Valley Campground
10105 County Road 550
Chillicothe, OH
Lake Hill Campground
2466 North Musselman Station Road
Frankfort, OH
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Bill's Bait House
4308 State Route 220
Waverly, OH
(740) 947-2542
Bait & Tackle
381 N High St
Chillicothe, OH
(740) 774-1985
D & K Bait & Tackle Dealers
288 W Hydell Rd
Chillicothe, OH
(740) 772-1836
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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.
28 miles from park*
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.
33.5 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

144 Lake Road, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601

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Ohio State Parks