We only sampled a small part of the offerings at Caesar Creek State Park, but we liked what we saw! Caesar Creek caters to a diverse variety of interests. Whether you want to hike, camp, swim, fish, mountain bike, ride on a bridle trail, go boating, or even hunt fossils, Caesar Creek has it all.
The park is located just off I-71 between Columbus and Cleveland in Warren County. We visited the park after hiking at nearby Caesar Creek Gorge Nature Preserve.
The main feature of the park is Caesar Creek Lake which was created in 1978 when the US Army Corps of Engineers built a dam across Caesar Creek. A beach is available for swimming, and the lake can be used for fishing and boating.
A large, modern visitors center has exhibits that describe the history and geology of the area. At the visitors center you can buy a detailed map of the park’s hiking trails. You can also get a (free) license to hunt for fossils in the emergency spillway.
The trail head for one of the parks trails starts at the visitors center, but we choose to drive across the road and down to the base of the dam so we could hike the Gorge Loop Trail. Shaded picnic areas surround the parking lot at the dam’s base. There are also modern restrooms and a water fountain next to the parking lot.
From the dam’s spillway, Caesar Creek continues on and eventually enters a gorge valley within the state park (the nature preserve is several miles farther downstream). Near the parking lot, a large wooden observation platform overlooks the creek. From this vantage point, you can look upstream at the dam or downstream at the gorge valley. There’s also an iron, pedestrian bridge (built in the 1921) that crosses Caesar Creek. A little beyond the bridge is the trailhead for the one-mile Gorge Loop Trail. Since it is a loop trail, you can either go left and up, or you can go to the right and follow the creek downstream. We chose to follow the creek.
After a few hundred feet the trail turned away from the creek and went inland. We followed the trail to a fork where a wooden bridge crossed a little rocky stream (which presumably fed into Caesar Creek) and continued on and a set of wooden stairs going up a hillside overlooking the stream. Our trail went up, so we left the bridge for another time.
As we climbed up and up next to the unnamed stream, we realized that this stream was in a fairly impressive gorge valley too. Eventually we reached a ridgeline between the unnamed stream and Caesar Creek. Side trails beckoned (such as the “Fossil Trail”), but we stayed on the original trail. We snaked back and forth across the ridge line, crossed a wooden bridge, and eventually passed a green pond with frogs and turtles. Finally we came to a paved path that led down to our starting point.
There are two longer hiking trails, the Visitors Center Trail (7.2 miles) and the Spillway Trail (4.3 miles), plus a portion of the Buckeye Trail goes through the park. There are also four bridle trails, and two mountain biking trails. The park has 283 (electric) camp sites (all pet friendly), plus another 30 designated for equestrians. There is a 1,300 foot beach available for swimming.
Across the dam (via Clarkesville Rd) from the visitor center is the fossil hunting area. Continuing on Clarksville Rd, you will intersect Oregonia Rd. At the intersection is store Spillway Party Supply & Bait Shop (7646 Oregonia Road, Waynesville OH 45068 — 513-897-9334). This store caters to campers, fisherman, and picnickers. Off Oregonia Rd is the park nature center (which was closed on the weekend) and a Pioneer Village (open on weekends)
- TrekOhio: Warren County Parks & Nature Preserves — This is the county where Caesar Creek State Park is located; check out this page for official links for the park, including links to maps.
- TrekOhio: Caesar Creek State Park: Horseshoe Falls, Crawdad Falls, and Suspension Bridge
- Trek Ohio: Licensed to Hunt Fossils — The state park will provide interested guests a free permit to look for fossils at the spillway within the park.
- TrekOhio: Caesar Creek Gorge State Nature Preserve — Our review of the nearby state nature preserve.
- Nature Center Association of Caesar Creek: Caesar Creek State Park — An alternative to the web site published by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources
- Caesar Creek Pioneer Village
- MiamiValleyTrails.org: Little Miami State Park – Bike Trail