East Fork State Park

3294 Elklick Road, Bethel, Ohio 45106
Park Phone: (513) 734-4323
Camp Office Phone: (513) 724-6521
Camping Reservations: (866) 644-6727
Email: OhioStateParks@dnr.state.oh.us



East Fork State Park Map View

One of Ohio's largest state parks, 4,870-acre East Fork offers a great diversity of recreational opportunities and natural history only 25 miles from Cincinnati. The park's terrain includes both rugged hills and open meadows, setting the stage for a wonderful getaway.


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Park Map Campground Map Hiking Trail Map Hunting Map

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


Nature Of The Area

Clermont County's rolling hills and meandering river valleys provide a colorful backdrop for spacious East Fork State Park. Shaped by the forces of the Illinoian and Wisconsinan glaciers, the East Fork region is characterized by beautiful hill country scenery and is noted for the occurrence of remnant prairie habitats. Illinoian glacial deposits are not common in Ohio but can be observed at East Fork and the surrounding area. East Fork's diverse landscape includes dry-forested hills, rocky cascades, abandoned farmlands, thickly grown floodplains, marshy grasslands and swamp forests. This diversity lends well to an abundance of plant and animal life. Woodlands are composed of beech, sugar maple, red and white oak, shagbark hickory, and wild black cherry. The swamp forests contain silver maple, American elm, sycamore, and black gum. The meadows and remnant prairies contain big bluestem grass and purple coneflower among others. Animals of the area include eastern plains garter snake, fence lizard, red fox, deer, raccoon, Canada geese, song sparrow, eastern meadowlark, and the barn swallow.

Lodging

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Camping

East Fork has one of the largest camping areas in the state with 416 sites. The campground offers electrical hookups, showers, drinking water, camper's beach, flush toilets and boat ramps. Pets are permitted in designated areas. A 17-site horsemen's camp is available as well. Six Rent-A-Camp units consisting of a tent, dining fly, cooler, cook stove and other equipment can be rented during the summer months. Six Rent-A-RV units are also available.

Campground Map

Make A Camping Reservation

Swimming & Boating

Swimming: A 1,200-foot swimming beach with a concession and picnic area provides the perfect setting for a fun family outing.



Boating: Those who enjoy water sports will find East Fork Lake very accommodating. There are 2,160 acres of water and unlimited horsepower boating with access available at five launch ramps.


Hunting

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.

East Fork State Park Hunting Map

Hiking Trails

East Fork offers approximately 46 miles of backcountry trail as well as the 16-mile Backpack Trail and 32-mile Perimeter Trail. Parking and the trailhead are located at the south access parking lot near the park entrance. Access and parking on the north side of the Perimeter Trail are available at the campground visitor parking lot. Backcountry camping is free and available by permit only at four designated areas along the Backpacking and Perimeter trails. Adironack shelters are available at camping areas 1 and 2.

East Fork State Park Hiking Trail Map

Picnicking

Picnic areas with tables, grills and drinking water are located around the park. Two picnic shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis.




History Of The Area

The Little Miami River basin in which East Fork State Park is situated has been home to many generations of man, dating back to nearly 3,000 years ago. Moundbuilders, the Adena and Hopewell Indians, occupied this area. The mound near Elklick Road is thought to have been built by the Adena. The Erie Indians also lived here much later, though by 1655 this nation was completely destroyed by the powerful Iroquois. The area was virtually uninhabited through the remainder of the 17th century. As the new state of Ohio began to be settled in the early 19th century, the East Fork region attracted settlers from the east. Grist mills, sawmills, blacksmith shops, tanneries and stagecoach depots were among the early commercial activities. In 1869, two gold mines operated in the vicinity. One mine was located near Elklick and consisted of a flume for washing gravel containing flakes of gold. The mine near Twin Bridges tunnelled underground to reach gold deposits encased in bedrock. Not far from the present park office, the "Old Bethel Church" on Elklick Road dates from 1867. It occupies the site of a log church built about 1807 by Reverend John Collins. Some of the hand-hewn timbers secured with wooden pegs and hand-forged nails used to construct the 1818 church are still present in the existing church. More recently, the area has taken on a new appearance due to the creation of East Fork Reservoir in 1978. As part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control program, East Fork Lake and the surrounding region comprise one of southwestern Ohio's largest recreational areas.


Other Area Attractions

Overlooking the Ohio River, the town of Point Pleasant is birthplace of President Ulysses S. Grant. The one-room cottage where the 18th President of the United States was born is located at U.S. 52 and S.R. 232 just south of East Fork. Stonelick State Park is located to the north of East Fork at S.R. 727 and 133. Camping, fishing, hiking and swimming are just a few of the activities available at Stonelick. East Fork's close proximity to the city of Cincinnati makes it easy to combine the best of the outdoor life with the many activities available in the "Queen City." Major sporting events, fine dining, shopping, many cultural events and festivities invite the park's visitors to spend a day in this bustling urban area. For more information, contact the Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau at (513) 753-7211.





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