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Michael J Kirwan Reservoir as seen from the boat launch at West Branch State Park

Michael J Kirwan Reservoir as seen from the boat launch at West Branch State Park. Photo: Roseohioresident, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

West Branch State Park is a serene and tranquil natural destination located in Portage County, just 30 minutes from Akron.

Covering over 5,300 acres, the park is nestled in the picturesque hills of the Ohio countryside and is renowned for its scenic beauty and diverse array of outdoor activities.

The park is centered around the Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir, a massive body of water that spans over 2,600 acres, making it an ideal location for boating, fishing, and water-based activities.

It also offers an extensive network of hiking and biking trails that take visitors through the park’s various habitats, including forests, meadows, and wetlands.

In addition, visitors can enjoy picnicking with family and friends, as well as birdwatching, and camping amidst the park’s stunning scenery.

Activities

This Ohio state park is popular with families, nature lovers and those who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors.

Showcased below are a handful of some popular leisure pursuits you can take part in during your time at West Branch State Park.

Boating at West Branch State Park

Boating is one of the primary attractions at West Branch State Park, taking place on the park’s 2,650-acre reservoir.

Guests at the park can enjoy various types of boating, including kayaking, canoeing, and motor boating. To help you get on the water, the park has two boat ramps for visitors to launch their boats, and there are ample parking spaces for guests who arrive with their boats.

Boaters at West Branch State Park can enjoy the calm waters of the reservoir and the scenic landscape that surrounds it.

The park also offers boat rentals, and visitors can rent kayaks, canoes, and motorboats from the park office. The park’s calm waters also make it an excellent spot for water skiing, and visitors can enjoy that activity in the designated areas.

Fishing at West Branch State Park

For those who enjoy fishing, the park’s reservoir is a terrific spot to cast a line.

Stocked with various species of fish, including catfish, bass, and walleye, fishing is allowed there throughout the year.

Park guests can choose to fish from the shore or from boats, as well as on fishing piers – some of which are ADA accessible.

Visitors must have an Ohio fishing license before fishing at West Branch State Park. If you don’t have one, the park office provides fishing licenses for visitors who need them.

Hiking at West Branch State Park

Hiking is a popular activity at West Branch State Park, and the park offers several hiking trails for visitors to explore.

These trails wind through lush forests, vast meadows, and alongside the reservoir. Enabling visitors to explore the park’s diverse flora and fauna, and enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding landscape.

Here are some of the trails at West Branch State Park:

  • Lake Trail – Length: 2 miles. Degree of Difficulty: easy
  • Hemlock Trail – Length: 2.5 miles. Degree of Difficulty: easy
  • Buckeye Trail – Length: 12 miles. Degree of Difficulty: challenging

Picnicking at West Branch State Park

West Branch State Park is an ideal location for picnicking, and the park offers several picnic areas that are equipped with picnic tables, grills, and playgrounds. Visitors can enjoy their meals in the park’s serene and tranquil surroundings, and the picnic areas offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

The park’s largest picnic area is the Beach Area, which is equipped with a playground, volleyball courts, and a beach. The area is ideal for families, and visitors can enjoy swimming in the reservoir and soaking up the sun on the sandy beach.

The North Picnic Area is another popular location for picnicking and is equipped with picnic tables and grills. The area is adjacent to the park’s hiking trails, and visitors can enjoy a picnic after a long hike.

Birding at West Branch State Park

West Branch State Park is a popular destination for birdwatchers, and the park is home to several species of birds, including bald eagles, ospreys, and blue herons.

Guests can explore the park’s various habitats, including forests, meadows, and wetlands, and observe the park’s diverse bird population either individually or as part of a guided tour.

To maximize their enjoyment of the experience, they are advised to bring binoculars and birding guides to help you identify the various species you may see.

Pets

West Branch State Park is a pet-friendly park, and visitors are welcome to bring their pets with them.

The park offers several designated pet-friendly areas, including the Buckeye Trail, the Hemlock Trail, and the North Picnic Area. Visitors are advised to keep their pets on a leash at all times and to clean up after them.

In addition, West Branch State Park also offers a designated pet swim area, which is located in the Beach Area.

Visitors can enjoy swimming with their pets in the reservoir, and the area is equipped with a shower and a hose for cleaning pets after swimming.

Camping

West Branch State Park offers several camping options, including cabins, campsites, and group camping.

The park’s cabins are equipped with modern amenities, including air conditioning, heating, and a kitchen and offer visitors a unique camping experience in a beautiful setting. Similarly, its campsites are equipped with electric and water hookups, and visitors can choose between tent camping or RV camping options.

For those in a larger group, the park has a group camping area that is ideal for family reunions or celebrations. It can accommodate up to 50 people and is equipped with a large pavilion, picnic tables, and a fire ring.

Park Location

West Branch State Park
5570 Esworthy Rd
Ravenna, OH 44266
Phone: 330.235.0030

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at West Branch State Park: