Alum Creek's 3,387-acre reservoir and 4,630-acres of gently rolling span of fields and woodlands provides a hub of recreational activity just minutes from Ohio's capital city. Quiet coves nestled among shale cliffs await the solitary fisherman in the park's northern reaches while sunseekers mingle with thousands on Ohio's largest inland beach.
Long before recorded history, man called this forest and the Alum Creek valley home. The Adena culture lived here over 2,000 years ago. Seven mounds constructed by the mound builders were identified along the creek. Six were excavated before the valley was flooded although archaeologists did not believe them to be burial mounds.
Much later, the Delaware Indian tribe occupied several villages near Alum Creek. A large town was located where the city of Delaware now stands on the banks of the Olentangy River. The Indians cultivated a 400-acre cornfield in much of what is presently downtown. These Algonquin tribespeople entered Ohio in the 1700s, being displaced from their eastern home in the Delaware River valley by the fierce Iroquois nation.
Colonel Moses Byxbe was one of the first settlers in the county. He built his home in 1805 on Alum Creek and named the township Berkshire after his native Berkshire, Massachusetts. He owned 8,000 acres on the creek and was the co-owner of 30,000 more. These were military lands which he sold for $2.50 to $10 per acre.
With the threat of the War of 1812, the frontier counties set about erecting structures to defend themselves in case of Indian attack. Four blockhouses were built in the county, one of which was on Alum Creek. The fortress had two stories, the second of which protruded over the first yielding a place from which to shoot. drop boiling water on the attackers and defy attempts to set the log structure on fire. This Fort Cheshire, which stood until the Civil War, was later used as a schoolhouse. A bronze plaque commemorates the site where the fort once stood in what is now the park's family campground.
During the fifty years prior to the Civil War, the border state of Ohio offered many routes for the Underground Railroad by which slaves escaped to freedom. Over 40,000 slaves passed northward through Ohio along these paths. The Sycamore Trail, whose guideposts were often the ghostly white bark of this floodplain tree, ran along Alum Creek. Slaves waded in the waters of the creek as they left the safe Hanby House in Westerville and attempted to elude pursuing trackers. Africa Road received its name from the fact that thirty slaves, freed in North Carolina, settled near friendly homeowners in this area.
Alum Creek Dam is part of the flood control plan for the Ohio River Basin. The lake was authorized by Congress in the Flood Control Act of 1962. Construction began in August of 1970 and was completed in 1974.
286 electric campsites offer both wooded and sunny areas, some of which overlook the lake (ie, Premium site).
Each site has 20-, 30- and 50-amp electrical hookup
24 full-service campsites offer electric, sewer and water hookups
Heated shower facilities with flush toilets
Beach and boat ramp for exclusive use of the overnight guests
Basketball courts, volleyball, miniature golf, horseshoe pits and playgrounds
Group camp for organized groups is available by reservation
Equestrian camp with 30 primitive sites on a first-come, first-served basis
Pets are welcome on designated sites
Alum Creek Reservoir offers 3,387 acres of water. Four launch ramps offer public access to the lake; one ramp is available to campers only. A full-service marina at the Hollenback ramp offers 240 slips ranging from 24-32 feet in length, with some offering water and electric. Courtesy docks, fuel, boat supplies, food concessions, and boat rentals are available. Season-long docks are available through a dock lottery. There is a life jacket loaner board at the New Galena ramp.
The lake south of Cheshire Road is a boater's paradise with unlimited horsepower and plenty of room for skiers while the northern portion of the lake offers a quieter scene with tree-lined shores, shale cliffs and sheltered inlets for paddling.
Boaters may swim in Big Run, the Sailing Association Cove, and in marked coves just south and north of the US Route 36/37 bridge. Boaters may camp overnight in the Sailing Association & 36/37 coves.
The Alum Creek Sailing Association offers learn-to-sail programs for members and the general public along with special sailing programs for youth.
An 18-hole "Players Course" is located at the New Galena Launch Ramp area. Equipment rental is available. No fee is charged to play.
Alum Creek State Park is home to the Friends of Alum Creek Dog Park, a 4-acre site along the lake near the marina. The dog park features a fenced area with water access for dogs that enjoy water sports and two additional fenced areas for small and large dogs.
Narrow coves and quiet inlets offer fine catches of bass, bluegill, crappie, muskie and saugeye. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
Hunting is allowed in designated areas. The northern half of the park is best for the squirrel and deer hunting. The southern half offers better opportunities for rabbit and other upland game. A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
Several scenic picnic areas are available with tables, grills, restrooms and drinking water. Three shelterhouses at the Alum Creek dam are maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Alum Creek State Park's 3,000-foot beach is largest inland beach in Ohio's state park system. Facilities include changing area and shower house, beach vendors, and sand volleyball courts. The beach is open during daylight hours only. Swimming is at your own risk in designated areas. Pets are NOT permitted on swimming beaches.
There are 3 hiking trails:
Park Office Trail - 1.5 miles - easy
Hollenback Trail - 1.5 miles - easy
Rocks to Roots Trail - 4.1 miles - moderate
One Multi-Purpose Trail (Hiking, Snowmobile, Dog Sledding, Cross-country Skiing) is a moderate 7 Miles.
Under proper winter conditions, park guests can enjoy sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling on the multi-purpose trail, cross-country skiing on the multi-purpose trail, ice fishing, and ice boating.