Burr Oak State Park and Burr Oak Lake are in Athens and Morrow counties. The western arm of Burr Oak Lake and Tom Jenkins Dam are in Athens County. The eastern arm of Burr Oak Lake and most of the State Park are in Morrow County. See the Burr Oak Lake map for the location of the county line.
Located in southeast Ohio, quiet and remote Burr Oak State Park has a rustic country charm in its 2,593-acre scenery of wooded hills and valley farms. As one of Ohio’s resort parks, Burr Oak offers a wide array of overnight accommodations with its lodge, cottages, and campground. Burr Oak blends modern conveniences with the wilderness spirit of Ohio.
Situated in the valley of Sunday Creek, the Burr Oak area was inhabited by Indians and, later, by settlers who found an abundance of game animals and the resources necessary for survival in the Ohio wilderness.
Coal, one of Ohio’s most important mineral resources, was mined here for many years. As mining operations expanded, mining towns grew and prospered. Few of these mining towns were as notorious as the village of Santoy.
Many colorful tales were told of life in Santoy. In the true spirit of frontier life, so the story goes, a gunfight was once held over a $20 debt. The street was cleared as the two participants met for a showdown. The ensuing battle left both men lying in the street–one dead and the other critically wounded. The “Old West” came to life in Ohio when the coal company payroll was robbed by bandits who made a horse-mounted getaway through the town.
Countless other tales live on, but Santoy could not. A fire in 1924 destroyed the coal tipple and several businesses. The loss was so devastating that just three years later the second mine shaft shut down. In November 1931, the nineteen remaining voters decided to abandon the town. Today, only the church, the town’s first building, still stands as a reminder of days gone by.
In 1950 Burr Oak Lake was created by the construction of the Tom Jenkins Dam across the east branch of Sunday Creek. Two years later, Burr Oak was dedicated as a state park.
Burr Oak State Park epitomizes the wilderness character of southeast Ohio. Miles of forested ridges and hollows comprise these foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The woodlands support a variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, box turtles, and the elusive wild turkey. The lake’s shore is inhabited by industrious beaver and various waterfowl species.
The forest is comprised of numerous hardwoods but is dominated by stately oaks and hickories. In autumn, the forest displays spectacular fall colors as leaves turn to deep reds, brilliant yellows, and burnt oranges. Woodland wildflowers are equally as impressive in the spring when violets, Dutchman’s breeches, trillium, rare orchids, bloodroot, and hepatica are in bloom.
Burr Oak State Park Trails
There are over 30 miles of hiking trails at Burr Oak State Park.
The “Lakeview” Trail is made up of three trails:
Multi-use Trails) – 11.8 miles- Moderate/Difficult
Tanager Trail – 0.4 miles – Moderate
Campground Trail – 1 mile – Easy
Buckeye Loop – 1.7 miles – Moderate
Red Fox – 0.7 miles – Easy
Chipmunk – 0.4 miles – Easy
The backpacking trail is a combination of all or part of the Ravine, Lake Shore, Lakeview, Red, and Camp Trails, and winds around the lake shore, offering primitive campsites and drinking water at several locations along the route. 12.8 miles of the 18-mile backpack trail are part of the Buckeye Trail. Parking and the trailhead are located on the lodge/state park office entrance road.
Red/Camp/Red Trail – 5.2 Miles – Moderate
Blue Trail – 1.8 Miles – Moderate
The AllTrails website has descriptions and maps of hikes at Burr Oak State Park.
Restrooms on site
Content from Official Website