Lake Hope State Park
Lake Hope State Park is part of a bigger state forest, Zaleski State Forest, which contains 18,200 beautiful acres of scenery, lakes, and natural geographic features for everyone to enjoy. Lake Hope offers dining, campsites, canoe rental, swimming, fishing, and hiking.
Welcome to Lake Hope State Park
Lake Hope State Park is part of a bigger state forest. Zaleski State Forest contains 18,200 beautiful acres of scenery, lakes, and natural geographic features for everyone to enjoy. People come from all around to enjoy quiet time on the water, splash around with friends, and just get away from life for a while. From ancient ruins and mounds to hiking trails and picturesque scenes worthy of a magazine cover, Ohio’s historic park offers a little something for every person to enjoy whether young or old. Come away and find out more about this pristine state park.
Explore Lake Hope
Pick a cabin or camping spot, hike the trail, or canoe the lake - either way, have a blast!
Lake Hope Information
History of Lake Hope
Southeastern Ohio is rich in minerals but also rich in history. Going back over 100 years ago, the Hope Furnace once burned hot. The furnace processed iron ore extracted the sandstone bedrock this region is known for. During the smelting process, iron was produced which was used for ammunition and even a cannon for the Union Army during the Civil War. Iron played a key role in giving the region some economy during very hard times. Men cut timber in the forest for lumber, worked the furnaced, and hauled iron ore.
Interesting historical fact: Ohio was once the leading producer of iron. As more iron was discovered across the United States, this eventually dissipated but the historical context remained. Landscape and geography were changed by the mining of this iron ore as people settled and landed here for decades.
Wild turkeys are often seen around the park. Beavers help build dams in the area and many wild flowers bloom for all to see.
Activities at Lake Hope
Many fun activities await individuals and families who visit Lake Hope State Park. Lots of people love to check out the rustic dining lodge. It is built of stone and lumber with fabulous views of the lake. What’s not to love? The dining lodge is the perfect place to catch a bite to eat, meet with coworkers or family, grab a snack, and stay awhile. The lodge is the place to make cabin reservations and learn about the area. Here are just a few of the ways to explore Lake Hope:
- Cabins can sleep families, individuals, and groups. Includes linens, towels, and housekeeping. Guests can reserve a rustic lodge for bigger groups that holds up to 24 persons with kitchen facilities for a perfect family reunion or getaway to enjoy nature
- Canoes and rowboats are available for rent though boats with electric motors are allowed on the lake
- Fishing and hunting is plentiful in the lake. Bluegill, crappie, and largemouth bass all populate Lake Hope. Zaleski State Forest is the perfect place to go hunting with a valid license
- Check out the best swimming beach near the dam. Concessions for food and beverages are nearby for swimmers
- Hop on any of fifteen miles of hiking trails round Lake Hope. Backpackers can register for a 21 mile trail with primitive campsites. Bridle trails are included for riders with their own horses in the state forest
Camping at Lake Hope
One of the main reasons people come to Lake Hope is to enjoy nature by getting outside. They opt outside with tents and trailers. A 223-site campground makes it easy to explore the area. Forty-six sites have electric hookups. Pets are permitted in limited sites. Family and friends will enjoy the lake, trails, and all amenities it has to offer.
Lake Hope’s Ghost Tales
Now for one of the most unique features of Lake Hope: Hope Furnace. Hope Furnace is an ancient relic of time gone by. Situated in Ohio’s Hanging Rock Iron Region, Lake Hope State Park has a deep, rich history. The area had many materials to spare when people settled in and began taking advantage of all it had to offer. The Hope Furnace processed iron ore extracted from the sandstone bedrock. These fires were tended day and night. Hundreds of men worked to ensure the fires burned brightly. The watchman was said to be walking on his watch late one night when a storm rolled in. He slipped and fell into the bubbling iron ore of the furnace. Another legend says a man was scared by lightning and fell. One worker was said to fight through a storm to get to his watch and was literally struck by lightning then fell into the furnace. Not death nor stormy nights could keep the watchmen of the Hope Furnace from their job!
The Hope Furnace chimney stands as a reminder of the rich, sometimes sordid, history of the region. Campers may tell these stories around the fire at night of how the spirits of local workers from small towns never abandoned their posts.
Come and Stay Awhile
Summertime is a great season at Lake Hope. The birds are singing and trails are open for walking, the beach is alive with activity. Fall is a gorgeous time to visit with change of colors bringing bold flavor to the region. Horse-drawn wagon rides are a favorite, along with the Annual Fall Hike. Winter and Spring also bring visitors for different activities. Every season is busy around the park. Come and see for yourself and stay while enjoying all it has to offer.
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