Jefferson Lake SP

About this Location

The sandstone hills of Jefferson County are part of the Appalachian Highlands which envelope the southeastern part of Ohio. In the sandstone bedrock can be found layers of coal which were formed by decaying swamp vegetation millions of years ago during the Pennsylvanian geologic period.

Covering the hills and valleys of the area is a second growth oak and hickory forest. Growing side-by-side with towering white oaks and shagbark hickories are stately beeches and maples, tulip trees, walnuts, elms, and ashes.

The forest is composed of much more than trees, although they constitute its most conspicuous feature. The observant visitor may find a wealth of wildflowers such as wild geranium, hepatica, and bloodroot. The leafy canopy rings with a harmonious chorus of bird songs. Wild turkey and ruffed grouse are dispersed in these hills and forests as well. These are just a few of the natural wonders found at Jefferson Lake.

The Jefferson Lake region was once the home of Logan, the celebrated Mingo chief whose family was massacred near here on the Ohio River at the mouth of Yellow Creek. This incident spurred Lord Dunmore’s War in 1774.

In more recent times, the area has been home to the steel industry in Ohio. The underlying coal fields and Ohio River access have made it a focal point of this industry.

Jefferson Lake State Park was developed on 962 acres in the valley of the Town Fork of Yellow Creek. Land acquisition began in 1928. The lake and other facilities were constructed by the National Park Service in cooperation with the old Ohio Division of Conservation as a project of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. The dam was constructed in 1934 and the 17-acre lake was filled in 1946. In 1950, the area was turned over to the newly created Division of Parks and Recreation.

Notable Trails

Jefferson Lake Trails
Nearly 18 miles of scenic, sometimes rugged, multiple-use trails meander through the park, challenging hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers during any season.

Hiking Trail Only:
Campground Hikers Trail – 2 miles – Moderate

Bridle Trail Only:
Campground Horse Trail – 3 miles – Moderate

Six Multi-use trails allow hours of horseback riding, hiking, and biking:
Fernview – 2 miles – Easy
Oak Grove Trail – 1 mile – Moderate
Beaver Dam Trail – 2 miles – Moderate
Lakeside Loop – 2.5 miles – Moderate
Trillium Trail – 1.25 miles – Difficult
Logan Trail – 4.5 miles – Difficult


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

Content from Jefferson Lake State Park webpage