A W Marion State Park

20635 Waterloo Road, Mt Sterling, Ohio 43143
Phone: 740-869-3124
Reservations: 866-644-6727
Email: OhioStateParks@dnr.state.oh.us

A W Marion State Park Picture A W Marion State Park Map View
By Aesopposea - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Named after Ohio's first director of the Department of Natural Resources, the rolling woodlands and quiet waters of A.W. Marion State Park offer visitors a welcome escape from the rigors of everyday life. This small (309 acres) but unique park offers a variety of recreational activities while maintaining a quiet atmosphere of natural serenity.

Quick Links

Park Map Hiking Trail Map Campground Map Hunting Map

You can find more information about each of the following activities below.

Nature Of The Area

A. W. Marion State Park, located in Pickaway County, can attribute its natural wonders to glaciation that occurred more than 12,000 years ago. As glaciers advanced over more than two-thirds of Ohio, vast amounts of rock and soil (or till) were deposited over the landscape. This till had a direct effect on the natural vegetation that occurs at A. W. Marion. The surface of the park is fairly level and the soil very fertile. The area is diverse with woodlands, plains and prairie. Ohio's prairies, products of an ancient dry climate, are really small versions of the more extensive grasslands in the western United States. This eastern portion extends into Ohio and is part of the prairie-forest border or tension zone. Within this zone, the grasslands increased in size during droughts, only to be reinvaded by forests during wet periods. Before settlement began, scrub oak barrens, dense thickets formed by this shrub, were common in the region but have since been cleared for raising crops. The nearby floodplains of the Scioto River are adorned with a variety of wildflowers. Wildlife indigenous to the area includes fox squirrel, ring-necked pheasant, a variety of songbirds, red fox and white-tailed deer.


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A wooded camp area with 29 electric sites and 29 non-electric (primitive) sites are available year-round for tent and trailer camping. A youth camp is also available by reservation for organized groups. Pit latrines and drinking water are available.

Campground Map

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Hargus Lake provides 145 acres of water, boat launching ramps and public docks. Rentals are available from the concession on the northwest side of the lake. The exact location of the boat rental can be found on the map below.

A W Marion State Park Map


In the late 1980s, Hargus Lake was drained, habitat improvements were made and it was restocked with largemouth bass, muskellunge, bluegill and channel catfish. Anglers can now enjoy some of central Ohio's finest fishing. A valid Ohio fishing license is required. You can purchase a valid fishing license online at https://oh-web.s3licensing.com/Home/Info or at various locations across Ohio.

By Aesopposea - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


In season, A W Marion State Park can be a great location for hunting and trapping. In the fall, the mature woodlands offer excellent squirrel hunting in designated areas. A valid Ohio hunting license is required. You can find out more information about getting a valid Ohio hunting and trapping license on Ohio's division of wildlife website: http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/hunting-trapping-and-shooting-sports/hunting-trapping-regulations/licenses-and-permits. Pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code, no person shall at any time hunt, trap, kill, pursue, or shoot at any wildlife and/or wild animals by any means within 400 feet of any nature trail, picnic area, service area, residence, barn, parking lot, cabin, or other structure.

A W Marion State Park Hunting Map

Hiking Trails

The Hargus Lake Trail offers nearly six miles of scenic pleasure, providing access to the entire shoreline of the lake. Beginning at the campground, the Squawroot Nature Trail offers the hiking enthusiast one mile of scenic terrain. The trail is self-guided with directional signs and takes visitors to fourteen points of interest. These scenic trails are open for year-round use.

A W Marion State Park Hiking Trail Map


Picnic tables and grill sites are located in scenic areas throughout the park. A concession stand offers limited picnic supplies. Fires are permitted only in the grills provided.

By Aesopposea - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

History Of The Area

Long before A.W. Marion became a state park, this area had developed an amazing history. Due largely to the fertile soils of the Pickaway Plains, which are said to contain the richest land in Ohio, early inhabitants were attracted here. The Adena culture were among the first to settle the area 2,000 years ago. An ancient circular earthworks on the site of what is now the city of Circleville (hence the name) gave evidence to their presence. In more recent times the villages of Chief Cornstalk of the Shawnee nation were located on these plains. These same villages were the object of attention of Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, who in 1774 marched his army within striking distance of the Indians. His intention was to destroy the villages and end the uprising that had resulted in the Battle of Point Pleasant days earlier. At the request of the Indians, a peace settlement was agreed upon before any more fighting occurred. In 1948, construction began on the dam for Hargus Creek Lake. By 1950, the area became part of the newly created Division of Parks and Recreation. In 1962, the park was renamed the A.W. Marion State Park in honor of the first director of the Department of Natural Resources, a Pickaway County native.

Other Area Attractions

Limitless opportunities abound within a short distance of the park. A monument marking the location of the Logan Elm, where Chief Logan delivered his eloquent speech can be reached south of Circleville, one mile east of U.S. 23 on State Route 361. Two state nature preserves operated by the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves are located near the park: Shallenberger Preserve, east of the park off State Route 22, and Stage's Pond, north of the park on Haggerty Road. Deer Creek State Park is also located in Pickaway County and offers camping, fishing, boating and picnicking. Near Marcy, Ohio, off State Route 674, visitors can catch a glimpse of 1880 farm life by traveling to Slate Run Living Historical Farm. Horse-drawn machinery, woodstove cooking, canning and milking are a few of the activities that can be enjoyed. Traveling south on State Route 159, one can witness the life story of the great Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh. This outdoor drama is enacted from Memorial Day to Labor Day at the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheater.