Flanked by the beauty of wooded hillsides, Jefferson Lake State Park is the perfect place to escape into nature.
Situated just an hour from Pittsburgh, the park spans some 962 acres and features the picturesque lake from which it gets its name.
One of the quietest state parks in Ohio, it offers plenty of off grid outdoor recreational activities for those who want to detach themselves from the fast-paced pressures of city life.
This includes the likes of boating, swimming, horse riding, fishing, hiking and biking, which are just some of the fun and relaxing things you can do at the park in the warmer months.
When winter hits the park turns into a haven for snow related activities like cross-country skiing, ice fishing and ice skating.
Given its proximity to Steel City, the park is a popular day trip destination. However, for those who want to really take their time and enjoy it, there is rustic camping available for you and your horse to stay at for a few nights.
Guests can take part in a wide range of outdoor activities during their visit to Jefferson Lake State Park.
Presented below is just a small selection of some of the main recreational pursuits you can do while you are there.
Boating at Jefferson Lake State Park
For those who enjoy boating the park has a launch ramp that provides you with easy access to the scenic lake.
All non-motorized boats are permitted, while motorboats with four horsepower or less are also allowed to zip around on it.
Kayaking, canoeing and SUP are other popular activities to enjoy on the lake’s stoic waters.
Swimming at Jefferson Lake State Park
The lake provides excellent opportunities for swimming, particularly on a summer’s day when the weather temperatures can get unbearable.
All up, the park has a 200-foot public beach which provides visitors with the option of swimming and sunbathing.
The water is very refreshing, although you will need to exercise caution if you do go for a dip as the area is not lifeguarded.
Near the sand you will also find a swing set for children, as well as toilets, showers and a bathhouse.
Fishing at Jefferson Lake State Park
Jefferson lake provides a very tranquil and relaxing place for anglers to cast a line.
You will need an Ohio resident or tourist license in order to fish at the park. But once you have secured one you will be able to catch the likes of redear sunfish, bluegill, catfish and largemouth bass.
The best places to do this are on the shoreline or in a boat in the middle of the water.
Trails at Jefferson Lake State Park
Should you be the kind of person who likes to hit the trails when you visit a state park, you will be pleased to know there is a network of 18 miles of them available at Jefferson Lake State Park.
Overall there are eight picturesque and rugged trails that snake through the park. As they are multi-use you can explore them on foot, via bike or horseback.
All of these trails showcase the park’s stunning natural beauty. One of the most popular and easiest of them is the Fernview Trail, which stretches for two miles. For those who want something a bit more challenging the Logan Trail covers a course of over four and a half miles.
Picnicking at Jefferson Lake State Park
While at the park you should take the opportunity to enjoy a picnic.
There are several well maintained shelters and picnic areas throughout the park which operate on a first come, first served basis.
Located in scenic spots, most of them have outdoor grills and picnic tables. Just remember the consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden anywhere within the park.
Winter Activities at Jefferson Lake State Park
During the colder months of winter the temperatures in the park plummet, causing snow to fall and the ice on the lake to freeze.
However, don’t let this put you off visiting, as this invites plenty of opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, as well as ice skating and ice fishing.
Pets at Jefferson Lake State Park
Pets are allowed at Jefferson Lake State Park although some restrictions on their presence are put in place.
For instance they must be well behaved at every moment during their time in the park. They also must be kept on a leash of no more than 6 feet in length at all times and not left unattended for more than 30 minutes.
It is also your responsibility as their owner to clean up after they have made a mess.
Camping at Jefferson Lake State Park
For those who require a place to stay overnight while visiting Jefferson Lake State Park, the campground there is very accommodating.
Overall it offers 127 campsites which are set up for RVs and tents. Of these, five sites are electric while the rest are primitive. All of them are available on a first come, first served basis.
Amenities like picnic tables, fire rings, water fountains and a dump station are all provided. While there are also basketball and volleyball courts for family’s to enjoy too.
If you plan on bringing your horse with you to the park there is also an equestrian campground available. It offers 30 non-electric sites that are situated close to the Trillium Trailhead.
Parking and horse tie lines are widely available at this campground, whose sites are also available on a first come, first served basis.
Jefferson Lake State Park
501 Township Rd 261A
Richmond, OH 43944
Here is a short YouTube video with some aerial footage of Jefferson Lake State Park: