STOP 9 -Lake
Hope State Park
About the Area:
A natural paradise, Lake Hope State Park lies entirely within
the 26,824-acre Zaleski State Forest in the valley of Big Sandy Run. It is a
rugged, heavily forested region traversed by steep gorges and narrow
ridges. Remnants of abandoned mining and iron producing industries amid
the beautiful scenery provide interest and pleasure for hikers,
photographers, nature lovers and historians alike at one of Ohio's most
historic and scenic state parks.
Seventeen miles of hiking trails
traverse the lake and scenic woodlands of the Lake Hope area and offer
opportunities for photography and nature study. In the adjacent state
forest, a 21-mile backpack trail with primitive campsites is available.
Backpackers must register upon arrival. Thirty-three miles of bridle trail
in the state forest are available for riders with their own mounts.
Lake Hope's 23-mile singletrack bike
trail was chosen as Ohio's top mountain bike trail by readers of "Mountain
Bike Magazine". The wooded singletrack, which is open to mountain bikes,
offers plenty of bike riding options. The Athens Bicycle Club offers a few
ideas to get you started. Their bike trail map may also be helpful.
Lake Hope State Park is truly a nature
lover's dream. In the forest-draped hills, the observant visitor can
discover the abundant natural resources of this wild and scenic park.
Although most of the forest was cut to
fuel the iron smelting industry that once flourished here, the land has
recovered and supports a magnificent, second-growth forest. Oak and hickory
are the dominant trees while the woodland floor harbors a fascinating
assemblage of shrubs and wildflowers. The Yellow Lady's Slipper, one of the
rarest and most showy orchids, blooms in secluded hollows. Other spring
wildflowers such as Blue-eyed Mary, Bloodroot and Wild Geranium can be found
White-tailed Deer and Wild Turkeys are often seen in
a number of park locations. Of the many animals inhabiting the park, none is
as popular as the beaver. As nature's dam builders, the beavers are found in
numbers and can be observed near the quiet inlets of the lake.
Birding at Lake Hope
Hope Furnace area provides mixed
habitats of forest, riparian, wetland, and meadow edges. Great for
migrating warblers and summer residents. Species seen in this area include
Rough-winged Swallow, Cerulean Warbler, Red-shouldered Hawk, Parula Warbler,
Hope Schoolhouse area provides good
meadow/brush habitat for chats, Prairie Warblers, and sparrows. A few
scattered reports of Blue Grosbeak near Raccoon Creek in this area.
The wetland area along SR 278 and ¼ mile
south of the Lake Hope dam contains a large Great Blue Heron rookery of
about 50 nests. Prothonotary Warblers nest in wooded swamp along the old
railroad bed. Prothonotary Warbler nest boxes are being constructed and should be up
by spring 2006. Red-headed Woodpeckers found in wetland tree snags. The
semi-colonial green heron is common in the summer…possible rookery along
Take St. Rt. 93 to McArthur. Turn right on St. Rt. 50
(East) to Prattsville, turn left on 278 (North), follow the signs to Lake
Hope State Park.