4119 State Route 95, Mt. Gilead, Ohio 43338
Park Office Phone (seasonal): (419) 946-1961
Alum Creek Park Phone: (740) 548-4631
Reservations: (866) 644-6727
Mt. Gilead State Park is a quiet, small 181-acre park centrally located in the state of Ohio. Picnicking, fishing and hiking can be enjoyed year-round at this beautiful location.
You can find more information about each of the following activities below.
The wealth of natural wonders found at Mt Gilead State Park can be traced back to the Ice Age--a time when two-thirds of Ohio was frozen land covered with glacial ice, nearly a mile thick in places. During this age many changes occurred in the Ohio landscape: the stream systems were altered, topography changed and the Great Lakes were formed. The glaciers left Ohio a legacy of valuable natural resources. In the vicinity of Mt. Gilead, three end moraines (linear ridges of glacial sediment deposited along the ice edge) converged and account for the rolling terrain seen today. A beautiful stand of second growth beech-maple forest exists at Mt. Gilead. The mature woodlands provide a glimpse of what Ohio was to the early settlers. Wildflowers such as wild geranium, hepatica, trillium and bloodroot, carpet the spring forest floor. The leafy canopy is occupied by the woodthrush, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren and other songbirds. Skunks, raccoons, white-tailed deer and a variety of other mammals make this park their home.
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Mount Gilead State Park offers the following campground facilities:
- 37 electric sites 50/30-amp, 22 full-service sites with water, sewer and 50/30-amp electric
- Facilities include shower house, flush toilets, fire rings, picnic tables, and waste-water drains.
- Pets are permitted.
- Camp store offers supplies, food, convenience items and souvenirs, and loans games and sporting equipment to registered campers.
- Playground for youngsters
Fishing: Mt. Gilead Lake offers great fishing for bass, bluegill and other panfish. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
Boating: The 32-acre Mt. Gilead Lake allows non-motorized boats (canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats, etc.) and boats with electric motors only.
Disc Golf: A 9-hole disc golf course may be enjoyed by visitors in day-use areas of the park. Equipment rental is not available.
Seven bridle trails also allow hiking or running:
- Whetstone Trail - 0.31 mi, easy
- Meadow Trail - 0.6 mi, easy
- Maple Grove Trail - 0.57 mi, moderate
- Piney Woods Loop Trail - 1.5 mi, moderate (temporarily unavailable due to lake improvements)
- Sam's Creek Trail - 1 mi, moderate (temporarily unavailable due to lake improvements)
- Lakeside Trail - 1.7 mi, moderate to difficult (temporarily unavailable due to lake improvements)
- Fern Ridge Trail - 1 mi, difficult
Five picnic areas are located in the park - four on the south side of the park and one at the entrance off Route 42. Three shelterhouses are available for reservation online.
Mt. Gilead State Park is located in Morrow County near the center of the state. The first permanent settlers came into the county after the close of the War of 1812. The first gristmill and sawmill were built on Whetstone Creek in 1821. The town of Mt. Gilead, the county seat, served as a major stop on the underground railroad prior to the Civil War. In more recent history, an oil boom occurred in Morrow County. In 1961, a well was drilled on the Orrie Myers' property that produced 200 barrels a day. As a result of that wells success, 30-40 well are drilled in Morrow County annually. The first lake at Mt. Gilead was built in 1919 on the upper level of Sam's Creek. On July 10, 1930, a larger lake was completed below the first one on this same tributary of Whetstone Creek. The recreational area was originally under the supervision of the Bureau of Engineering. In 1949, it was turned over to the newly formed ODNR Division of Parks and Recreation to be maintained as a state park.
The town of Marion is located west of the park on State Route 95. The President Harding Home and Museum is located at 380 Mount Vernon Avenue. It was from this home that Warren G. Hading conducted his "Front Porch Campaign" in the 1920 presidential elections. Guided tours are available seasonally. Marion also contains the Harding Memorial on Delaware Avenue at Vernon Heights Boulevard. The memorial --a circular, pillared monument of white Georgian marble--contains the tombs of President and Mrs. Harding. Kokosing Lake and Knox Lake wildlife areas are found east of Mt. Gilead in Knox County. Both lakes offer fishing and boating opportunities. Mid Ohio Race Track is located twenty minutes from the park. The course offers weekends of exciting racing, known nationwide on the race circuit. The city of Mansfield is located northeast of the park on State Route 42 with six shopping centers, the Mansfield Art Center, the Renaissance Theater and the world-famous gardens at Kingwood Center.