Strouds Run State Park

About this Location

Strouds Run State Park is located in the scenic forested hills of Athens County, in the midst of the unglaciated Appalachian Plateau. Although untouched by the vast ice sheets that moved across portions of the state over 12,000 years ago, the effects of the glaciers can be seen today in the deep ravines and high hills of Strouds Run. Stream valleys served as outlets for torrents of glacial meltwaters. The erosion power of these waters began carving valleys and hillsides into the familiar topography Ohioans know today. Large deposits of glacial outwash, primarily sand, and gravel, were deposited along these streams and strongly affected the type of biological communities present today at the park.

Strouds Run started out as the Athens State Forest in 1948. Its conversion to a state park, some six decades ago, was coincident with the building of a dam to create Dow Lake, with 160 acres of water surface. This park is heavily wooded and includes several areas stands of the old forest as well as scenic rock formations. It is a great spot for nature study – and it is often used for that purpose by nearby Ohio University.

Strouds Run has the interesting feature that it is literally on the outskirts of the City of Athens. The city owns the 284-acre Strouds Ridge preserve system that connects with the park, and a network of hiking/mountain-biking trails connects the two. Residents of Athens’ Far Eastside Neighborhood can walk up the street to Sells Park and then walk for miles on forest trails. This system includes the 22-acre Sells Park and the 106-acre Riddle State Nature Preserve (owned by the City of Athens).

The park also is contiguous with the 75-acre Blair Preserve, owned by the Athens Conservancy, and is close to two outlying tracts of the Wayne National Forest and to the 264-acre Baker Easement, held by the Athens Conservancy, which provides a system of hiking and horse trails.

Strouds Run State Park has an excellent trail system.

To get to Strouds Run from Athens, take Carpenter Street west (turn left from Court Street or East State Street, going from downtown). Carpenter becomes Lancaster Street. Take this to the stoplight at the very top of the hill and turn right. This is at first Lancaster Street, then becomes Columbia Avenue, and then Strouds Run Road. Continue to a stop sign just after crossing goes over US-33 on an overpass. Turn right at the stop sign (it is still called Strouds Run Road after turning) and drive 2.1 miles to enter the park. Continue about another mile before turning right to reach the swimming beach or left to reach the campground. Total driving distance from downtown Athens to the swimming beach: 5.4 miles.

 Handicap-accessible Blackhaw Trail.

Notable Trails

There are 7 hiking trails in Strouds Run State Park.
Blackhaw Accessible Trail – 0.5 miles – paved (no bicycles)
Beaver Pond Trail – 1 mile – Moderate
Broken Rock Trail – 2 miles – Moderate
Chestnut Trail
Lakeview Trail – 7 miles – Moderate
Vista Point Trail – 1.5 miles
White Pine Trail
Rockhouse Trail – 2.7 miles – Mountain Bike trail

Strouds Run State Park has an accessible paved trail named Blackhaw just off the last parking lot on the right before you turn into the main entrance off Strouds Run Road. It winds along the lake with some large pines that have been good for Red-breasted Nuthatch. There’s a nice little deck area from which from late fall to early spring you can look for herons and Belted Kingfisher. Following the length of the trail about a half mile to where it ends at the next parking lot will give you a chance at Brown Creepers, Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Hermit Thrush.

Fifteen mountain bike trails that also allow hiking wind through the state park and the adjacent City of Athens’ Sells Park. View a map of these trails.

There are 10 bridle trails that also allow hiking in the state park.

The AllTrails website has descriptions and maps of hikes in Strouds Run State Park.


  • Restrooms on site

Content from Strouds Run State Park (Athens Area Outdoor Recreation Guide) webpage, Melissa Wales, Ohio Ornithological Society, and Strouds Run State Park website