Lake Hope State Park

27331 State Route 278

A natural paradise, 2,983-acre 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.


Though the roar of the iron furnaces no longer echoes through the hills of Vinton County, there are many reminders of days gone by at Lake Hope State Park. Situated at the heart of Ohio's Hanging Rock iron region, Lake Hope State Park reflects the rich history of much of southeastern Ohio.

The Hope Furnace was built here over 100 years ago to process the iron ore extracted from the region's sandstone bedrock. The iron resulting from the ore smelting process was used to produce many different items, including ammunition and cannon for the Union Army during the Civil War. Hundreds of men labored cutting timber, working the furnace and driving teams of oxen hauling iron ore to the furnace. Charcoal fires were tended 24 hours a day; so much wood was required for this process that the surrounding hillsides were almost completely stripped of their timber. At the height of the Hope Furnace's production, Ohio was one of the nation's leading producers of iron. As time passed, iron ore was discovered farther west and Ohio's reputation as a major iron producer waned.

By 1900, nearly all of the major furnaces in southern Ohio were shut down. Today, the Hope Furnace chimney and some of the foundation are all that remain of the structure. In the vicinity of the chimney, one may find pieces of slag, the cast-off residue from the smelting process. These pock-marked, glass-like pieces have now become a part of the forest floor. The forest we now see is one that has grown back where hundreds of years ago a primeval forest once stood.

For a time, coal was an important Vinton County export. A number of mines tunneled into the hills and large quantities of coal were transported out in ox-drawn coal cars. Most of the mines were abandoned early in the 20th century.

Lake Hope Forest Park was created in 1937 by the Division of Forestry. The Division of Parks and Recreation and Lake Hope State Park came into existence in 1949.


John Davis

Saturday, May 5, 2018
Best park and best kept secret in Ohio! Love, love, love camping here!!! We rented the cabins, did a camper one year and we set up tents some years. Never had a bad camping trip here. The lake is beautiful, the cabins are perfect and if you like to mountain bike this is the place to do it! Time has a way of slowing down here and makes your trip more peaceful. Take a walk in the woods and you will forget all about the world outside. The price of this park is lower than other places but yet it is soooo much better!!! My wife and I love camping here and I wish we could do it more. Very peaceful place and fun to explore. I would give this park more than five stars if I could.

Jerry Sullivan

Wednesday, May 9, 2018
A beautiful place nestled into the deeply glaciated Hocking Hills Region. Lots of exploring to be done here, by canoe, on foot or rent a horse nearby. GREAT food at the lodge

Tawn Anderson

Friday, May 18, 2018
Good location nice Lake good fishing camp sites seem to be a little narrow with drop off on the edges watch get in and out of your camper again the pads are not very long so you if you have a mobile home or something like that you do not have much room electric sites go quickly get a reservation before hand


Friday, May 18, 2018
The accommodations were good, and the price was great. Bring everything you need, because the nearest store was quite a drive.

Chris666 Suter

Monday, Jan. 15, 2018
Awesome food. Great service. Awesome and beautiful views