Mount Gilead is a 181 acre state park in central Ohio which offers some nice hiking trails as well as opportunities for fishing, camping, and horseback riding. The park is located in the town of the same name which is about 45 minutes north of Columbus.
The centerpiece of the park is a pair of lakes formed by earthen dams on Sam’s Creek. The lakes are stocked with trout and are popular with fisherman. The lakes are in a small valley with hills rising on either side of the lakes.
On the side nearest the park entrance, the park features campgrounds, a nature center, picnic shelters, and a playground. The campground has 56 sites plus a group camp. There is a 9-hole disc golf course. The park and nature center offer activities for both adults and children. Past programs include annual Taste of Country and Apple Butter Festivals, Earth Day hikes for adults and children, and a Nature Detective’s program for kids. See the link to the park web site at the bottom of this post for a current calendar of events.
The other side of the lake contains a network of hiking and bridle trails. Wooden bridges for pedestrians on either end of the lakes provide access to the trails for hikers. A parking / picnic area off US 42 provides access to the bridle trails and parking for horse trailers.
Including both the hiking trails and the bridle trails which are really multi-use trails, the park has about 6.5 miles of trails in total. The trails are reasonably well marked with both blazes and trail signs, and the trails pass through woodland and meadows. Some portions of the trails offer views of the lake. There are a few moderate hills. In the spring there are a variety of wildflower species lining the trail. In the fall, the park offers beautiful views of fall foliage, particularly along the lakes.
We’ve visited the park in the winter and have noted that the road to the lake (and hence to the trails) is closed during the winter season.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has allocated $6 million to improve facilities at the park. Projects include campsite improvements, a new shower house, dam repairs, improved trails, and an improved disc golf course.
Although we’ve visited the park several times in the past few years, most of the photos below were taken in the fall.
Viewing the lake from the trails
As you move upstream toward the inlet for Sam’s Creek, the lake becomes shallow with a lot of vegetation.
The Nature Center
We visited the Nature Center a couple of weeks before Halloween, and we enjoyed the center’s holiday decorations. The naturalist was very helpful and we discussed some of the live specimens that were housed within. Since Deb was particularly interested in the turtles, the naturalist removed a few from their terrariums to answer Deb’s questions. As a bonus, the turtles had an opportunity to get some exercise.
The park offers campsites suitable for RVs, trailers and tents. A number of amenities are provided for guests, including picnic shelters, a playground, disc golf course, basketball court, etc.
- TrekOhio: Morrow County Parks & Preserves — This is the county where Mt. Gilead State Park is located; check out this page for links to the official site (including maps) and for information on nearby parks and preserves.
- ODNR: Press release: Improvements at Mt. Gilead
- Marion Star: Mt. Gilead: ODNR Makeover
- Morrow County Sentinel: Trout Release at Mt. Gilead
- Facebook: Mt. Gilead State Park Facebook Page
- Reserve America: Camp Site Reservations at Mt. Gilead
- Address: 4119 State Route 95, Mt. Gilead, Ohio 43338
- GPS Coordinates: 40.5485054,-82.8209415
- Google Maps: View on map or get directions
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