If you’re looking for a hike on a larger scale, Stonelick State Park has well-marked trails, a beautiful lake, camping amenities, and more. Located at 2894 Lake Drive in Pleasant Plain, Ohio, it is covers 1,058 acres, and is surrounded by country roads and small towns. We found the main entrance after driving into the park a ways and arriving at the camp check-in house. It was Saturday, March 18, 2017, about noon, and 41 degrees and cloudy.
The parking lot at the check-in house was large, nicely paved, and had a large garbage bin and basketball net. The shower building was a few yards from the parking lot, and several shelters with picnic tables, a playground, bird houses, and more picnic tables were nearby as well. Luckily we had printed off the trail map before we left home, as the check-in house was closed, although there was a map of the park posted outside. We walked down the main road to find the beginning of the Red Fox Trail, and found it muddy at the beginning, and then completely submerged under water further along. We back-tracked, and tried the Southwoods Trail on the opposite side of the road, and it was a dirt trail, dry, with very little mud.
On the Southwoods Trail we were completely immersed in the woods from beginning to end, with some informative signs at the beginning of the trail telling of the different vegetation, and a large bat house perched on a tree. The trail was a fun little workout as we went up and down hills, crossed bridges over creeks, with nothing but birdcalls and the wind to keep us company. It ended at about 1/2 mile, and we turned around and walked back at this point. We hoped we would find a stretch along the lake, and saw there were other trails that went go along Stonelick Lake.
Restrooms: The shower building had restrooms, but it was closed, and there was one port-a-potty there.
Traffic Noise: There was no traffic noise at all.
Interesting Features: Besides having camping and boating amenities, the park is famous for fossils, attracting people from all over the world since the early 1800s. The rocks were formed when the Appalachian Mountains were formed, about 450 million years ago, and have been exposed because of natural erosion. They contain trilobite, brachiopods, and cephalopods fossils, to name a few. The park also has a significant amount of sweet gum trees, purple fringless orchids, and Virginia mountain mint, all uncommon wildflowers in Ohio.
Historic Points of Interest: The land for the park was acquired by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in 1948, and a dam was built in 1950 to create Stonelick Lake. The Newtonsville Historical Society website mentions a bridge that used to cross the lake from the old cemetery at the north side. Parts of the bridge abutment and the old road are still visible today.
Overall Rating: We loved our hike at Stonelick, and felt like we were worlds away from home. From our engaging walk on the trail, to hunting for fossils in the creeks, to gazing across the lake on our way home, it was a pleasure to find a large state park that was kept so nicely, with clearly marked trails. We had the trail to ourselves on this chilly March day, and imagined it was different during the warmer months of the year. For a real woods experience, in a safe, quiet place, we couldn’t have asked for more.