Description - In 1956, when planning for the lake began, it was originally slated to become a water source for the city of Cambridge. However, the potential for the area to become a major recreation site was so great that in 1960 land acquisition was begun to create a state park. The earthen dam was completed in 1967, and construction of recreational facilities began in 1968. The spacious Salt Fork Lodge was opened in May 1972.
Copyright: - Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Salt Fork State Park
- Salt Fork Lodge, scenically overlooking the lake, has 148 guest rooms. Lodge features include a dining room, snack bar, gift shop, lounge and lobby areas, indoor game area and meeting rooms accommodating 25 to 300 people. In addition, guests can enjoy indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the tennis, volleyball, basketball, and shuffleboard courts, 400-foot swimming beach, as well as boat launching and docking facilities.
The modern campground has 212 sites, all with electricity. Other features include heated shower houses, flush toilets, dump station, a separate beach, boat launching and docking facilities for campers. Eighteen sites are wheelchair accessible. In addition, a group camp and horsemen's camp are available. Pet camping is permitted on designated sites.
There are 54 heated / air-conditioned family cottages with two bedrooms, living room, bath and a large screened-in porch. The all-electric kitchen is equipped with cooking and eating utensils. Two sets of bunk beds, a double bed, a rollaway bed, linen and bedding provide comfortable sleeping for seven people.
The winding Salt Fork Lake has nearly 75 miles of mainly wooded shoreline offering 3,000 acres of surface water. Depths of the lake range from 30 feet in the dam area with a number of sharp drop-offs located around the lake. Boats with unlimited horsepower are permitted on the lake. Combined speed / ski zones are marked by buoys. There are numerous boat launching ramps on the lake. Boaters may camp on their boats in no-wake zones within fifty yards of shore. Swimming from boats is permitted in designated areas only. Anglers are pleased with the sizable populations of largemouth bass, crappies, bluegills, walleyes and muskellunge. Fishing is good particularly in the many embayment areas. An extensive artificial reef on the north branch of the lake is suggested. The two marinas include 469 rental docks, comfort stations, gasoline fuel stations, parking facilities, concession areas and a variety of rental boats.
The 2,500-foot beach is one of the largest inland beaches in Ohio. The modern bathhouse provides showers, lockers, toilets and a snack bar.
There are several picnic areas in scenic locations around the lake. Tables and grills are provided. A shelter is available on a first-come, first-served basis. A wheelchair accessible picnic area with hard surfaced paths and accessible latrines, parking and tables is located off Park Road.
The 18-hole golf course includes a golf shop, snack bar, driving range and putting green. Tee times are recommended, and a pavilion is available by reservation for outings. Call the golf course for tee times and reservations.
Hunting is permitted on lands in wildlife management areas. Check-in should made with park or wildlife officers for delineation of these areas. Cottontail rabbit, gray and fox squirrels, deer, grouse, quail, woodchuck, raccoon, mink, muskrat, beaver, wild turkey and waterfowl are abundant. An ODNR Division of Wildlife office is located near the main park entrance.
Recreation - As Ohio's largest state park, Salt Fork boasts recreational facilities to suit nearly every taste. Offerings include: fishing, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking, group picnicking, indoor and outdoor swimming, lake swimming, nature study, boating, snowmobiling, sledding, ice-skating, ice fishing, ice boating, cross-country skiing, family cottages and campgrounds, group camping, horse camping, restaurant dining, golfing, and tennis.
Climate - This state has four distinct seasons and a brilliant fall foliage display in it southern woods during mid October. Winter lasts from December through February with average temperatures near 25 degrees F. Low temperatures dip to single digits, but do not often drop below zero. Northern regions of the state receive average snowfall amounts of 55 inches, while the central and southern regions of the state receive lesser amounts with averages near 30 inches. This difference is caused by lake-affect moisture patterns.
Spring temperatures begin to warm the landscapes of Ohio by mid March and are in full swing by April. Temperatures range from 40 through 70 degrees F through the spring months. This season often brings the most rainfall, before the drying heat of summer. Summer can be extremely hot and humid in the interior of Ohio. Temperatures reach above 90 degrees F frequently through July and August. Cooler fall temperatures don't reach the region until mid to late September. This is a pleasant time to visit as the air is crisp with low humidity levels. Ohio's annual precipitation usually reaches slightly above 50 inches.
Nestled in the rolling hills of eastern Ohio, Salt Fork State Park is accessible off Interstate 77 and U.S. Highway 22 near Cambridge.