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Ohio: Mt. Gilead State Park
Posted on Thursday, January 19 @ 10:29:51 CST by iljiana

Horse Rentals & Day Ride Trails Location: 4119 State Route 95
Mt. Gilead, Ohio 43338
(419) 946-1961 (seasonally)
Contact: Delaware State Park
5202 US 23 N., Delaware, OH 43015

Mt. Gilead State Park is a quiet, small park centrally located in the state of Ohio. Picnicking, fishing and hiking can be enjoyed year-round at this beautiful location.


A family campground, offering 59 sites with electrical hookups, is set in a scenic pine forest and is open all year for camping enjoyment. Facilities include fire rings, picnic tables, waste-water drains and latrines.

Two deluxe Camper Cabins are available during the summer season on a reservation basis. The Camper Cabins are tucked in a quiet corner of the campground. They are furnished with bunks, table and chairs, in addition to microwave, refrigerator and ceiling fan. A cooler, broom and dust pan are also provided. However, linens, dishes, etc. are not provided.

Six primitive campsites are also available and may serve as a group camp for organized groups. Pet camping is permitted on designated sites. The camp store offers supplies, food and convenience items.


The two small lakes at Mt. Gilead offer good catches of bass, bluegill and other panfish. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.


Mt. Gilead allows boating with canoes, rowboats and boats with electric motors only. A launch ramp is provided. canoes and paddleboats are available for rent.


Several picnic areas are located on the south side of the park and at the entrance off Route 42. Three picnic shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis or may be reserved for special occasions.


Six and a half miles of trails, including a two-mile multipurpose trail for hikers and horseback riders, traverse Mt. Gilead State Park. Trails provides opportunities for exercise, nature study and wildlife observation. Trail access is from the campground, park office and Route 42 entrance.

More To Do

Boat rental is available and a double volleyball court, horseshoe pits and playground may be enjoyed by visitors in day-use areas of the park. The park hosts special events year-round and provides summer nature programs. The 200-seat amphitheater may be rented for a variety of outdoor functions. The picturesque gazebo may also be rented for special occasions.

The campground offers a playground for youngsters, and the camp office loans games and sporting equipment to registered campers.

Nature of the Area

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.

History of the Area

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.

Area Attractions

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.

For more information:

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