Growing up in Ohio, I always heard people talk about the four seasons — almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction — as if there wasn’t one worth appreciating. I disagree with that logic.
We get to enjoy one of the most beautiful scenes every fall. When the plush green trees begin to turn into vibrant hues of red, gold and orange it’s a sight to behold.
Beginning with spars changes in September and ending with the late bloomers midway through November, I bask in the colors, the crispness of the air and the earthy smell of the falling leaves. I savor the short months of fall because I know it will be awhile before I can enjoy them again.
With autumn’s brief visit on the horizon, it’s worth it to look into visiting at least one state park to see fall foliage.
Where to go
Here are 25 state parks to visit this fall:
Tinker’s Creek State Park (Streetsboro, Ohio): Nestled in between Streetsboro and Aurora, Tinkers Creek features 355 acres of swamps and marshlands with a variety of wildlife and vegetation.
Beaver Creek State Park (East Liverpool, Ohio): Tucked into the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Beaver Creek State Park is one of the state’s most scenic destinations. It includes 2,722 acres of forest with a number of places to explore — Gaston’s Mill, pioneer village and abandoned canal locks.
Salt Fork State Park (Lore City, Ohio): Flanking Salt Fork Reservoir, Ohio’s largest state park encompasses 17,229 acres of woodlands and fields in Guernsey County. Salt Fork State Park features recreation facilities for the whole family.
Findley State Park (Wellington, Ohio): Formerly, a state forest, Findley Park offers visitors a peaceful refuge among its stately pines, numerous hardwoods and abundance of wildlife. Spanning 838 acres, the scenic trails offer spectacular views of fields, forests and bodies of water.
Burr Oak State Park (Glouster, Ohio): Set in remote southeast Ohio, Burr Oak is a little less off the beaten path, offering a variety of overnight accommodations via its lodge, cottages and campground. The 2,593-acre resort park includes a scenery of wooded hills and valley farms.
Dillon State Park (Nashport, Ohio): Dillon State Park offers a picturesque setting with 2,285 acres of wooded hills and scenes valleys.
Mohican State Park (Loudonville, Ohio): Mohican State Park offers outstanding beauty and limitless opportunities with Clear Fork Gorge, Hemlock Forest, Mohican River and Pleasant Hill Lake all encompassed within 1,110 acres.
Lake Hope State Park (McArthur, Ohio): As one of Ohio’s most historic and scenic state parks, Lake Hope State Park is encompassed within Zaleski State Forest and features remnants of abandoned mining and iron industries among its rugged, heavily forested 2,983 acres.
Buckeye Lake State Park (Millersport, Ohio): Constructed as a canal feeder lake in 1826, Buckeye Lake is Ohio’s oldest state park and offers endless recreational activities in the water. However, surrounding the lake is a variety of foliage and waterfowl.
Hocking Hills State Park (Logan, Ohio): Over 2,356 acres, Hocking Hills features towering cliffs, waterfalls and deep gorges. It’s natural lure is complemented by a variety of modern facilities and overnight accommodations.
Tar Hollow State Park (Laurelville, Ohio): With 604 acres of deep ravines and dense woodlands, Tar Hollow has one of the most spectacular displays in the fall.
Mount Gilead State Park (Mt. Gillead, Ohio): Although Mt. Gilead State Park only covers 181 acres there’s plenty to do at this beautiful location, especially during fall.
Alum Creek State Park (Delaware, Ohio): With a 3,387-acre reservoir and 4,630 acres of fields and woodlands, Alum Creek State Park provides quiet coves among the shale cliffs and Ohio’s largest inland beach.
Shawnee State Park (Portsmouth, Ohio): Nestled in the 63,000-acre Shawnee State Forest, Shawnee State Park encompasses 1,095 acres of the most picturesque landscape in the state with erosion-carved valleys and wooded hills.
Deer Creek State Park (Mt. Sterling, Ohio): The 2,337-acre state park features meadows, woodlands and a scenic reservoir and features a modern lodge, cottages, a campground, a golf course, a swimming beach and boating areas.
Pine Lake State Park (Bainbridge, Ohio): Sitting on 587 acres of scenic wooded hills in Southern Ohio, including a 13 acre lake and surrounding state forest, Pine Lake State Park is a sight to behold throughout autumn.
Maumee Bay State Park (Oregon, Ohio): Maumee Bay State Park offers visitors a diverse experience with a good mix of nature and recreational opportunities. Spanning 1,336 acres, the scenic meadows, wet woods and lush marshes offer a variety of wildlife and vegetation.
Harrison Lake State Park (Fayette, Ohio): Harrison Lake State Park offers a break between corn and soybean fields with 142 acres of woodlands. Swimming, fishing, camping and canoeing opportunities draw visitors to the park.
Indian Lake Sate Park (Lakeview, Ohio): While Indian Lake State Park is more lake than anything else, the 800 dry acres can be utilized for a variety of outdoor activities and the shores of the 5,800-acre Indian Lake are surrounded by wooded banks.
Buck Creek State Park (Springfield, Ohio): Surrounding a 2,120-acre lake, Buck creek Park offers wetlands, meadows and a variety of wildlife on 1,896 acres.
John Bryan State Park (Yellow Springs, Ohio): As the most scenic state park in western Ohio, John Bryan offers 752 wooded acres. It also contains a limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami River.
Caesar Creek State Park (Waynesville, Ohio): The 3,741 acre state park offers clear blue waters, scattered woodlands, meadows and steep ravines.
Stonelick State Park (Bethel, Ohio): Sitting on 1,058 acres, Stonelick State Park offers a quiet retreat in the rolling hills of southwest Ohio. Featuring a lake surrounded by woodlands, it’s a great fall getaway.
Sycamore State Park (Trotwood, Ohio): Featuring meadows, wooded areas and calm waters, Sycamore State Park offers a variety of sites to see.
Hueston Woods State Park (College Corner, Ohio): Hueston Woods State Park spans 3,000 acres, surrounding 625 acre Acton Lake. It offers a variety of overnight accommodations as well as numerous recreational activities.
Don’t miss out!
The leaves are already starting their seasonal change at five of the above locations — Tinker’s Creek, Findley, Indian Lake, Buckeye Lake and Caesar Creek. Don’t miss your chance to take in all that fall has to offer in some of Ohio’s most beautiful locations.
For more information and park maps visit ODNR Division of Ohio State Parks.
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