Posted in Hiking, Park review, Southeastern Ohio

Lake Hope State Park

Lake Hope State is a great place to get away from the crowds and enjoy peace and quiet is a scenic natural setting. Lake Hope is located in Vinton County just southeast of the Hocking Hills. In the 19th century it was a major iron producing and processing region at the heart of the American industrial revolution. Today many of the towns centered around the mines and iron furnaces are gone. It is a sparsely populated region of Ohio with an economy based on agriculture, forestry, and tourism.

Lake Hope viewed from the balcony of the dining lodge.

Tree blossoming on the shore line.
Lake Hope
Lake Hope
Blue Heron at Lake Hope
Blue Heron at Lake Hope

The town of Hope built around Hope Furnace is gone. The furnace was used in the 19th century to process iron ore into pig iron. The remnants of the furnace can be seen at the entrance to the park. Signs explain the history of the furnace and the process used to produce iron.

Hope Furnace in ruins
This juvenile Five-lined skink was hanging out on the stones around Hope furnace.

Another remnant of the town of Hope is the old one room school-house. The school-house is on Wheelabout Rd. across OH-287 from the park. The school-house has been restored and is open as a local museum and for special events.

Hope Schoolhouse

Lake Hope State Park is a 2,983 acre park with rolling forested hills around a 120 acre Lake Hope. Across OH-287 from the park is the 26,824 acre Zaleski State Forest. The lake includes a 600 foot beach for swimmers and canoe, kayak, and row-boat rentals. Boats with electric motors are permitted.

Off-season photo of beach in the background and dock with canoe rentals in the foreground.
Canoing on Lake Hope

The park has 187 camping sites (they allow pets). There are also 66 cottages for rent, as well a lodge that can be rented for large groups. Some cottages are pet friendly. A dining lodge was completed in October of 2012 and is now open and serving meals.

Rental cottage; there is a screened-in porch on the far end of the cottage.

There are over 10 miles of hiking trails at the park. Directly across the road from Hope Furnace is the trail head for the 21 mile Zaleski backpack trail. Lake Hope State Park boasts a 23 mile mountain bike trail. There is also the 16 mile Moonville rail trail for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians and 33 miles of bridle trail in Zaleski State Forest for equestrians and hikers.

The Lake Hope Nature Center is famous for their hummingbirds. In the summer they offer visitors the opportunity to hand feed hummingbirds. See our post about feeding hummingbirds at Lake Hope here.

Additional information

  • Address: 27331 State Route 278, McArthur, Ohio 45651
  • Directions:
    From US 33 at Nelsonville, take OH-278 South. You will see the entrance for Lake Hope State Park on your right.
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.3278905, -82.3519143
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions

More on Vinton County

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

8 thoughts on “Lake Hope State Park

    1. And so do I Cindy. I remember taking you there when you were a toddler and watching you play in the warm lake waters. I also remember working there when I was a teenager and it still brings back warm memories. I hope that in the summer of 2013 you will be able to bring your family and enjoy staying at the lake as much as we will enjoy having you visit Vinton County.

  1. Wonderful post. Especially I love those photos presenting lake views. I was also interested in the architecture of rental cottages. Thank You presenting Lake Hope State Park.

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