Dillon State Park - Ohio

US National Parks and Monuments Travel Guide: US-Parks.com

Nature of the Area

Dillon State Park in Muskingum County is situated in an area of the state that possesses diverse and interesting natural features resulting from the unique properties of the Black Hand Sandstone • Sand, eroded hundreds of millions of years ago from mountains farther east, accumulated in a vast delta in the sea covering the region • This hard bedrock erodes to form sheer cliffs and supports a lush, hardwood forest.

The rolling, reverting farmland of the Dillon area provides visitors the opportunity to see some of Ohio's most magnificent wildlife • White-tailed deer, ruffed grouse and wild turkey can be seen by quiet observers • During migration, numerous species of waterfowl visit Dillon's waters and sightings of bald eagles have also been reported.

History of the Area

Much of the history of the Dillon region can be attributed to the effects of transportation through the park • The Licking River provided transportation for Native Americans on their way to Flint Ridge where outcroppings of flint were found • In the Blackhand Gorge, carved by the Licking River, a sandstone cliff bore a soot blackened engraving of a human hand • This mysterious petroglyph is thought to have served as a guide marker for Indians searching for Flint Ridge • Specimens of Flint Ridge flint have been found as far east as the Atlantic seaboard, as far south as Louisiana and as far west as Kansas City.

Other methods of transportation affected the Dillon region • The Old National Road, just south of the park, was partly responsible for the establishment and growth of nearby Zanesville • The Ohio-Erie Canal followed the route of the Licking River for several miles and boosted trade and commerce to surrounding towns • An inter-urban railroad that connected Zanesville and Newark with Columbus passed through Blackhand Gorge • Steamboat traffic was busy through Zanesville on the Muskingum River.

In 1803, Moses Dillon purchased the land bordering the Licking River where the park is located • This industrious, early American built and operated a local iron foundry, founded the village of Dillon Falls and dammed the Licking River to provide water power for the community • Moses Dillon is probably most noted for his contributions toward the design and construction of the world-famous "Y" bridge in Zanesville.

Dillon Reservoir was constructed for flood control by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was completed in 1961 • The park was dedicated in August 1968.


29 family cottages nestled in the woods overlooking the north lakeshore -- Each cottage has air conditioning, cable television, gas heat, two bedrooms, one bath, living room, all-electric kitchen, dining area and screened porch -- Linens, towels and kitchen utensils are furnished -- One cottage is fully accessible -- Pets are permitted in select cottages


183 electric sites -- 12 non-electric sites -- Showers, flush toilets and a dump station -- Commissary with grocery items and laundromat is located near the check-in station -- Free WiFi access is available at the commissary to registered campers -- Pets are permitted on designated sites -- One youth group camp -- 20 non-electric equestrian camp sites are available on a first-come, first served basis


Boating with unlimited horsepower is permitted on 1,560-acre Dillon Lake -- 2 boat ramps provide access to the lake -- 70 docks are available for rent on a seasonal basis


Largemouth bass, muskie, bluegill, crappie and catfish are plentiful -- Valid Ohio fishing license is required


1,360-foot swimming beach is located near the park office -- Wading pool -- Game area is adjacent to the beach offering volleyball and a playground area as well as lighted courts for tennis and basketball -- Swimming is permitted during daylight hours only -- Swim at your own risk & be sure to keep an eye on the kids -- Pets are NOT permitted on swimming beaches


15 miles of wooded bridle trails, maps are available at the park office

2 hiking trails: Ruffed Grouse Nature Trail • 3/4 mile • Moderate -- Dillon's Paved Trail • 1/2 Mile • Easy • Handicap Accessible

4 multi-use trails: Licking Bend • 6 Miles • Moderate -- Blackberry Ridge • 1 Mile • Moderate -- King Ridge Loop • 1.1 Miles • Moderate -- Hickory Grove Loop • 1.5 Miles • Moderate

Approximately 12 miles of Mountain Bike trails wind throughout the park


7 picnic areas complete with tables and grills are located at pleasant and scenic spots throughout the park -- Jim Dunn shelter house is strictly "first come, first served"

2 shelters that can be reserved online or by calling• If not reserved, both shelters are available on first come first served basis

Beach Shelter: Available for reservations from April 1 thorugh October 31 -- 16' x 30' open area with paved surface overlooking the lake -- Accommodates up to 90 people -- 4 Electric outlets (110 amp) -- Group charcoal grill -- Handicapped accessible -- 900 parking spaces -- Wading pool, tennis courts, beach area, playground, flush toilets, and water supply are located nearby -- Nature Center is 1.5 miles away -- Pets are permitted in the shelter area

Overlook Shelter: Available for reservations from May 1 through October 31 -- 16' x 30' open area with paved surface overlooking the dam -- Accommodates up to 90 people -- 1 electric outlet (110 amp) -- 12 picnic tables -- Handicapped accessible -- 60 parking spaces -- Flush toilets and water supply located nearby -- Beach and playground are 4 miles away • Nature Center is 6 miles away -- Pets are permitted

Disc Golf

Woodchuck Ridge DGC has 9 holes, with par set at 34 -- Located just behind the campstore, it was designed for beginners, keeping park guests in mind -- First tee marker is just up the wooden steps behind the campstore, then the course loops near camp area “B”, with the 9th hole located back at the campstore -- Campstore has maps, score sheets, and rental discs available -- No fee is charged to play

Archery Range

Located at the bottom of the Sled Hill and can be reached from the large parking lot at the Sled Hill -- 10, 20, 30, and 40 yard targets as well as a 30 yard broad head target -- Backstops are made from recycled plastic from Coconis Furniture -- Built in September 2009 by Brenton Reed, an Eagle Scout from Frazeysburg, Ohio

Winter Recreation (conditions permitting)

Sledding -- Ice skating pond

Area Attractions

Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve is located ten miles northwest of Dillon State Park on Licking County Road 273.

Muskingum River State Park, featuring a hand-operated lock system, is headquartered in nearby Zanesville.

Further south, off S.R. 60, lies Blue Rock State Park and State Forest. All are just a short drive from the Dillon area.

Around Zanesville, there are a number of attractions that reflect the cultural history of the Dillon region. A ride on the Lorena Sternwheeler docked at the Zane Landing Park is a floating trip into the past.

The National Road/Zane Grey Museum in Norwich offers a nostalgic look at life on the early Ohio frontier.

Muskingum County is a leader in the production of pottery items, and several potteries offer tours of their facilities.


5265 Dillon Hills Drive, Nashport, OH 43830-9568

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