Shawnee State Park - Ohio

US National Parks and Monuments Travel Guide:

Nature of the Area

Several hundred million years ago, a general upheaval of eastern North America made changes in the terrain that are evident in Ohio today • South and east of Ohio, the layers of bedrock folded and buckled, giving rise to the Appalachian Mountains • The forested hills of Shawnee are a part of the Appalachian Plateau • Here, the bedrock layers were uplifted but no real distortion occurred; for this reason, Shawnee never had true "mountains" • In fact, all of Ohio's hill country is a feature of stream erosion on this prehistoric raised plain and is often referred to as the foothills of the Appalachians.

The hills of Shawnee have also been dubbed "Ohio's Little Smokies" • Looking toward the Ohio River, one can certainly see how the region acquired such a nickname • From the highest points in the forest, ridge after ridge appears to roll away toward the horizon in a gentle blue haze • This distinctive color comes from moisture in the air which is generated by the thousands of acres of forest.

The hardwood forest is host to a variety of flora and fauna • Wildflowers are abundant including several rare types of orchids such as the tiny whorled pogonia and the showy orchis • Forest wildlife includes white-tailed deer, wild turkey, raccoon, various songbirds and rare sightings of bobcat and black bear.

History of the Area

The 63,000 acres of Shawnee State Forest and Shawnee State Park encompass a part of the former hunting grounds of the Shawnee Indians • Historians note that the Shawnee name means "those who have silver," as the tribe conducted considerable trade in this precious metal • A major Shawnee village, known as Lower Town, was located near the confluence of the Ohio and Scioto rivers • The Scioto River provided access to the heart of the Shawnee country in central and southern Ohio.

The Ohio River was the gateway to frontier settlement in the Ohio region as well as for Indiana and Illinois • This expansive waterway, the Spaylawitheepi in Indian tongue, was the site of many confrontations between incoming pioneers and the Native Americans • The Shawnees monitored the influx of the white settlers from the line of ridges that overlooked the mighty Ohio River.

During the 1700s, the Shawnee Indians were gradually displaced as the settlers continued to build their cabins and clear land in this new and fertile country • The face of the region changed a great deal in the years to come, but through effective timber management practices by the state's Division of Forestry, Shawnee State Forest has regained much of its original appearance • Similarly, resource conservation programs coupled with wise land use practices at Shawnee State Park have assured that this 1,168-acre recreational facility will continue to maintain its natural beauty.

Lands were acquired for the park in 1922 and it was first operated as Theodore Roosevelt State Game Preserve • In the 1930s, six Civilian Conservation Corps camps were located in the area • It was at this time that many of the roads and lakes of the area were constructed • In 1949, with the creation of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Division of Parks and Recreation, the area became a state park and forest • The name was changed to Portsmouth State Park in the early 1970s, but has since been changed back to Shawnee State Park.


Breathtaking view of the surrounding hill country -- 50 guest rooms -- Elegant dining room -- Meeting rooms -- Indoor and outdoor pools -- Game room -- Sauna -- Jacuzzi -- Tennis, basketball and shuffleboard courts


25 two-bedroom family cottages: Sleep up to 6 -- Bath with a shower -- Living room -- Double-wide rollaway bed -- Complete kitchen, microwave, telephone, dining area, screened porch and charcoal grill

2 premium cottages also offer Jacuzzis -- Lodge facilities are available to cottage guests -- Pets are permitted in select cottages


107 sites suitable for tents or trailers -- Features electric hookups, waste disposal, heated shower houses, flush toilets and laundry facilities -- Pet camping is available throughout the campground -- Boat rental -- Games and sporting equipment to loan to registered campers -- A group camp that can accommodate up to 45 people is available by reservation -- 57-site equestrian campground with latrines is available near Bear Lake on state forest land

Getaway Rentals

2 camper cabins are available -- Each sleeps up to 5 people on two sets of bunk beds and one adult full bed -- Outfitted with outdoor picnic table, campfire ring, charcoal grill, porch light, porch swing and covered porch -- Unit contains inside electric service, lights, heater/AC unit, smoke/carbon detectors, bed frames with mattresses, table with chairs, mini-refrigerator, microwave and fire extinguisher -- No linens or cooking supplies are provided -- No pets or smoking are permitted inside the cabin unit -- Water fountains, shower houses and a laundry facility are available nearby in the campground area -- It is recommended that you bring bed linens or sleeping bags, pillows, towels, cooking utensils, dinnerware, cooler, containers for water and a clock/radio


Roosevelt and Turkey Creek lakes, totaling 68-acres, offer boating with electric motors only -- Launch ramps are provided for access to the lakes -- Rowboats, canoes, kayaks and pedal boats are available for rental at the camp store

Marina facility offers access to the Ohio River: 75 seasonal docks -- 8 transient docks -- 2 jet ski docks

Check for water quality advisories


2 well-stocked lakes provide good catches of largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie and trout -- A trout derby is held annually at Turkey Creek Lake -- Valid Ohio fishing license is required for anyone over 16 years of age


6 hiking trails: Tree Trail • 1/2 Mile • Self-guided, easy, wheelchair accessible -- Beach Trail • 1/2 Mile • Easy -- Shawnee Forest Day Trail • 7.2 Miles • Moderate -- Lampblack Nature Trail • 1 Mile • Moderate -- Knighton Nature Trail • 2 Miles • Moderat -- Look-Out Trail • 2 Miles • Moderate -- Shawnee Backpack North Trail -- Shawnee Backpack South Trail

2 bridle trails: Lampblack Bridle Trail -- Mackletree Bridle Trail

60-mile Shawnee backpack trail, operated by the Division of Forestry, takes hikers to some of the best wilderness areas in Ohio

Additional 75 miles of bridle trails are located within Shawnee State Forest

Portion of the Buckeye Trail goes through the state forest


Public beaches are situated on Roosevelt Lake and Turkey Creek Lake -- 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 -- Check for water quality advisories


18-hole championship golf course and pro-shop are located near the marina on the Ohio River, within a short drive of the main park area


5 picnic areas with tables and grills are located in many secluded and scenic areas of the park -- 2 accessible picnic shelters are available at Lake Roosevelt, and both may be reserved online or by calling

Winter Recreation (conditions permitting)

Ice fishing

More to Do

Miniature golf, located at the camp store and open to all park visitors -- Volleyball and basketball courts -- Horseshoe pits and playground equipment -- Tennis courts and shuffleboard can be found at the lodge

Area Attractions

Many historic attractions can be found in the Shawnee area including Tremper Mound, Serpent Mound, the Olde Wayside Inn, the 1810 House and the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center • The Bonyfiddle section of nearby Portsmouth is a historic district containing numerous antique shops and historic architectural buildings.

Adena State Memorial, the restored home of Thomas Worthington is one of The Ohio Historical Society's premier sites • It includes Worthington's newly-restored 1807 mansion and a 13,000 square foot Museum/Visitor Center.

Shawnee State Forest is the largest of Ohio's twenty state forests • The forest contains impressive stands of oak, hickory, sassafras, buckeye, black gum, pitch pine and shortleaf pine • Other forest features include a 42-mile backpack trail with primitive campsites, over seventy miles of bridle trails, horsemen's campground, and an 8,000-acre wilderness area and five small fishing lakes.


4404B State Route 125, West Portsmouth, OH 45663

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