Alum Creek State Park in Central Ohio Activities and Visitor Information
Tucked away in the rolling countryside of Central Ohio, Alum Creek State Park promises something for everyone who loves the outdoors.
Alum Creek State Park is a lovely example of the beautiful scenery and picturesque lakes that can be found in Central Ohio. Whether you enjoy fishing, hiking, boating or flying model airplanes - if you are spending any time in the area you will definitely want to put Alum Creek at the top of your list of places to visit.
Location and statistics:
Alum Creek State Park is located about 20 miles north of Columbus, Ohio. The park consists of over 3,300 acres of reservoir and 4,500 acres of park land. The park was opened when construction on the Alum Creek Dam was completed in the mid-1970s. The land around Alum Creek is picturesque and filled with wildlife. The area is also steeped in historical significance. Several Adena Indian Mounds were discovered there and the underground railroad is known to have passed through the region.
The southern portion of the lake is open to unlimited horsepower and is the place to go for ski tubing, water skiing and to play on personal watercraft (jet skis, etc.). Boaters must pay attention to the no-wake zones around the bridges, boat ramps and swimming areas. The northern portion of the lake is entirely no-wake and is ideal for fishing, canoeing, kayaking or just taking a quiet cruise.
There are four main boat ramps. The farthest north is the Howard Road ramp. This is well into the northern no-wake zone which makes it ideal for fishermen. Pleasure boaters would be better off using one of the southern boat ramps closer to the unlimited horsepower area of the lake.
Favorite Activities at Alum Creek State Park
What is your favorite thing to do at Alum Creek?
The Cheshire boat ramp is next to the Cheshire Road bridge which crosses the reservoir. This boat ramp tends to be busy and because it is located on the main body of the lake, the water is very choppy. If you must tie up to the docks for any length of time make sure you place a buffer between your boat and the dock to prevent them from slamming together.
The New Galena boat ramp is located close to the dam and features picnic areas as well as a disc golf course. This area was completely re-built over the winter of 2011/2012 and has re-opened with new boat ramps and a new parking lot. Boaters who find the rough waters at the Cheshire boat ramp to be a bit too difficult to navigate are advised to use this boat ramp instead. New Galena is located a few miles south of Cheshire on Africa Road.
The Hollenback boat ramp is located on the southwestern side of the lake near the marina and dog park. This ramp was re-built over the 2011/2012 winter, however currently (spring, 2014) the ramp area is closed due to reconstruction of the access and parking areas. Boaters will need to use either the New Galena or Cheshire ramps until this construction is completed.
The campground has a separate boat ramp available only to those camping overnight.
Alum Creek Marina is located right on the lake, in between the public beach and the state campground. The marina features a variety of boat rentals from pontoon boats to personal watercraft to canoes. It also rents dock space over-night or for the season, depending on your needs.
Alum Creek Sailing Association is a private club which is also located right on the lake. It caters exclusively to sailboats and the sport of sailing. It holds a variety of events on the lake including races and regattas. Additionally, the Association offers Ohio Boaters Education Classes which are available to the general public. (These classes are required for Ohioians born after January 1, 1982 who wish to operate a boat or personal watercraft.)
Did you know?
The Ohio Earthquake Information Center is headquartered at the ODNR Geological Survey Laboratory, located at Alum Creek State Park. The same facility also hosts the U.S. Geological Survey Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) station ACSO which has monitoring equipment on the premesis at the park. Did you feel the earth rumble? Could it have been a quake? You can check the Ohio Seismic Network and find out!
Alum Creek boasts the largest “inland” beach in the state park system at 3,000 feet in length. The entrance to the beach area is located off of Lewis Center Road. There is a bath house and two separate outside toilet facilities. (Be forewarned - they can get a bit messy, especially on crowded beach days.) Although the snack bar hasn't been open the last couple summers, it appears that the park is running a concession stand this year (2012) on holidays and weekends. I'm not sure if the concession stand is open during the week as well. To be safe I recommend you bring your own food. There are no life guards, so swimming is at your own risk. In addition to the sandy beach area there is also a playground, beach volleyball courts and a soccer field. Boat swim areas are located on either end of the beach.
The state campground at Alum Creek offers 286 sites, all with electric hookup. The campground has its own beach area, as well as its own boat ramp, basketball courts, playgrounds and bath house. There is also an equestrian campground designed specifically for campers who bring their horses with them. The equestrian campground is unimproved and does not have electrical sites.
In addition to the state campground there are also some private campgrounds in the area. The closest is Cross Creek Camping Resort which has 200 campsites and features special events and activities through-out the summer, including a Pirate Weekend in July!
Additional Information About Alum Creek State Park
There are a wide variety of fish in Alum Creek Reservoir, including bass, catfish, crappie and muskie. Bass fishing tournaments are often held at the lake. Ohio law requires that anyone over the age of 16 have an Ohio Fishing License. If you are taking children fishing and want to maximize their chances of catching something, I recommend using wax worms as bait. Bass and crappie in particular just can’t seem to resist.
Alum Creek State Park has an extensive trail system available for a variety of uses. The trails include two hiking trails and three mountain bike trails (easy, medium and difficult) as well as 38 miles of bridle trails. Many of the trails encircle the reservoir and offer beautiful vistas as well as excellent opportunities for bird and wildlife watching. If you will be using the trails in the fall or winter it is strongly recommended you check the Map of Hunting Areas and be aware of the various hunting seasons. Always take precautions before hiking in an area where hunting is permitted.
Barley Learns to Swim at Alum Creek Dog Park
Alum Creek has a large dog park which is separated into two areas, one for smaller dogs and one for larger dogs. There is plenty of room within the enclosed areas for romping and running and there are always lots of extra tennis balls on hand to play with. Even when there are a lot of dogs at the park it never feels crowded. In addition to the enclosed play area, the dog park also features its own beach where dogs can splash and swim in the reservoir.
Model Aircraft Field:
One of the unique features of Alum Creek State Park is Dinneen Field, a model aircraft field with a 900 foot grass runway and five concrete pad flying stations. The field is open to the public, however pilots must have an AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) license and follow AMA rules in order to fly there. The field is located close to the New Galena boat ramp, making the New Galena picnic area a good viewing spot. Boaters can get an even better view as the model planes often fly out over the water.
Below Dam Picnic Area:
As the name suggests, this picnic and playground area is located along the spillway below Alum Creek Dam and affords an interesting opportunity to see the dam at work. If you’ve got some extra energy you can climb the steps up the dam and walk along the top. The view of the lake is gorgeous and if you look across and to the left you can see the beach. There’s almost always a breeze so it’s an excellent place to fly a kite.
Events at Alum Creek:
There are a variety of events that take place at the park every year including duathlons/triathlons, mountain bike races, fishing tournaments, adventure races, boat races and regattas. The campground and dog park also feature special events through-out the year. No matter what your interests, you will always find something fun and exciting (or calm and relaxing) to do at Alum Creek State Park.