Experience Shawnee State Park – A Unique Getaway!Website – Plan a Visit
Once the hunting grounds for the Native American Shawnee tribes, the rugged landscape of the 1,095-acre Shawnee State Park offers outdoor adventurers an opportunity to explore the back country of southern Ohio’s Appalachian foothills near the banks of the Ohio River.
Nestled within the 63,000-acre Shawnee State Forest, the area is often called the “Little Smokies.” When combined with the state forest, the scenic trail system offers a variety of options for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Two lakes provide a variety of boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities.
Overnight features range from the rustic, well-appointed Shawnee State Park Lodge and modern vacation cabins to the wooded family campground.
The range offers static targets at 20, 30, 40, and 50 yards. Field tips only; no broadheads. Bring your own equipment.
Shawnee Backpack Trail (40+ miles, orange blazes) — This trail winds through wilderness area and includes portions of the Buckeye Trail and North Country Trail. Take the 40-mile main loop, or a shorter trek around the 23-mile North Loop or 17-mile South Loop. Back country camping is offered in seven designated areas. Register at the trailhead in the parking area. Drinking water and latrines are provided at camping areas.
Birding is great in late April and early May as migratory birds make their first stop in Ohio throughout the Shawnee region. Visitors encounter birds from ridgetops to valleys by taking the scenic auto tour through the state forest or by walking the many miles of trials within the park and forest. More than 100 species can be found in the region during migration and many stay to nest, including the noteworthy Cerulean, Worm-Eating, and Kentucky warblers. If you take the scenic auto tour, roll the windows down and pull off safely on the quiet back roads when you hear songs to get a closer look with your binoculars.
Roosevelt and Turkey Creek lakes total 68 acres and each has a launch ramp. Hand-powered and electric-only motorized boats are allowed on Roosevelt while Turkey Creek Lake allows gas motors at idle speed.
- Rowboats, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and pedal boats can be rented May through October from the camp store, (740) 858-4561.
- A full-service marina facility located off of U.S. Route 52 offers access to the Ohio River with 72 docks (including 1 ADA courtesy slip for loading and unloading and 8 transient docks.)
CampingThe Shawnee State Park Campground offers Electric and Non-electric sites as well as two Camper Cabins. Reservations may be made up to six months in advance online or by calling (866) 644-6727.
The Black Bear Disc Golf Course is located near Turkey Lake. Park in the Beach parking lot.
Many hiking trails traverse the park and the surrounding state forest:
- Lampblack Trail – 1.5 miles, takes hikers through an oak hickory forest on high dry ridgetops. It is also used by mountain bikers and disc golfers for a short section, but hikers have the right of way. The trailhead is conveniently located at the end of the lodge parking lot near the fork in the road leading to the cabins. Follow the purple triangles.
- Lake Trail – .8 mile, provides excellent views of Turkey Creek Lake and is part of the Park Loop trail. A bench along the trail offers a lovely view into Slate Hollow where a beavers lodge can be seen along the Park Loop trail. The trail can be accessed from the Nature Center or the Back Pack Trail parking lots. Follow the aquamarine triangles.
- Lodge Beach Trail – ½ mile, trail leads to the beach from the lodge and includes a steep grade—both ways, up or down. Follow the florescent green triangles.
- Knighton Nature Trail – 2.9 miles, named for local mycologist, Harry Knighton, who started the North American Mycological Society. It supports a rich abundance of mushroom species and wildflowers. Features views of Turkey Creek Lake from the lowest point in the park to the highest point. Follow the red triangles.
- Turkey Creek Nature Center Trail – half-mile mile loop which is covered in crushed gravel so it is family-, wheelchair-, and stroller-friendly. Visitors will enjoy views of Turkey Creek as they travel through cool moist hemlock trees. Interpretive signs tell the life history of trees along the path. Follow the bright green triangles.
- Park Loop Trail – 5 miles, trail showcases a variety of ecosystems and connects to other trails. It looks around Turkey Creek Lake and includes the park’s highest peaks. (Shawnee is home to the docile endangered Timber Rattlesnake. If you encounter one along the trail, simply walk around it, leaving plenty of space between you and the animal.) Make sure to wear sturdy hiking boots and pack water and snacks. Follow the blue triangles.
- Lookout Trail – 1.5 miles, historic trail built in 1938 by CCC, traverses through a diverse forest with beautiful view of Roosevelt Lake and the original Theodore Roosevelt Game Preserve founded in 1922, which is now the campground. The trail is a loop with one steep climb and one steep descent, either way . Follow the hot pink triangles.
- Campground Loop Trail – 0.5 mile, paved trail is perfect for families with small children. It starts in the small loop of the campground and ends in the large loop of the campground. It also takes in part of the Park Loop Trail and the Harry Knighton Trail. Follow the coral triangles.
- Shawnee Forest Day Hike Trail West Loop – 4.6 miles – Follow blue blazes
- Shawnee Forest Day Hike Trail East Loop – 7.2 miles – Follow blue blazes
Two well-stocked lakes provide good catches of largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie, and trout. A trout derby is held annually (4th Saturday in April) at Turkey Creek Lake.
Bridle trails in the park:
- Lampblack Bridle Trail
- Mackletree Bridle Trail
Over 70 miles of bridle trails as well as primitive equestrian camp sites are located within the adjacent Shawnee State Forest.
Hunting is NOT permitted in the state park but is allowed in the adjacent state forest.
A mountain biking trail system has recently been completed. Park at the lodge and ride towards the playground/cabin entrance. Trail head is across the grassy knoll and is marked with signage. Find more details at www.trailfork.com
- High Meadow – easy – 0.6 mile
- High Meadow Gap Pass – intermediate – 0.3 mile
- Cabin Fever – intermediate – 0.6 mile, loop
- Horseshoe – intermediate – 0.4 mile
- Lampblack – intermediate – 1 mile, loop
- Down & Out – 0.6 mile
Seasonal hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 12-3pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day
Located on State Route 125 between the lodge road and the campground entrance, Shawnee’s Nature Center offers visitors a chance to learn about native flora and fauna; view displays that include fossils, insects, local history, reptiles, and amphibians; and browse a small nature library.
A natural playground for the young ones — including a mud kitchen and pioneer garden and historic CCC cabin — can also be toured. Naturalist Programs and Special Events calendars are posted on the kiosks by the nature loop trailhead, on the side of the camp store, in the lodge, and in the park office.
Several picnic areas with tables and grills are located in many secluded and scenic areas of the park. All areas are Carry-in, Carry-out; no trash cans are available.
The park offers two reservable historic shelters situated on the edge of Roosevelt Lake. One is in the Campground and the other located on Mackletree Road directly across from the historic Look-Out Trail. Both shelters are equipped with picnic tables, party size grills and electricity.
Located at the marina, a meeting room is available for reservation. The room offers heat/AC and is equipped with tables and chairs for 40, kitchen area with stove/oven, refrigerator/freezer, coffee pot, food prep area, sinks with hot/cold running water, and flush toilets. Please note the marina room is not ADA compliant.
Reservations may be made online or by calling (844) 644-6727.
Public beaches are situated on both Roosevelt Lake and Turkey Creek Lake. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach; the beaches are unguarded. Pets are NOT allowed on swimming beaches.
- BeachGuard — Water quality advisories, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from Ohio Dept. of Health
In winter, park guests can enjoy sledding near the park office on the lodge road under the proper conditions.
More To Do
- Miniature golf, located at the camp store, is open to all park visitors
- Volleyball and basketball courts, and horseshoe pits
- Tennis courts and shuffleboard at the lodge
- Geocaches and Earth Caches are located in the park