Description - Alum Creek flows south joining Big Walnut Creek, near Groveport in southeast Columbus, which joins the Scioto River. Alum Creek Lake was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the flood hazard along Alum and Big Walnut Creeks, the Scioto River, and along the Ohio River. The city of Columbus shared part of the additional project cost for water supply for the metropolitan area. Other benefits of the lake project are recreation, fish and wildlife management, and downstream water quality. The majority of the park is leased to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to operate as a State Park. The Corps of Engineers manages and operates the Visitor Center and the Below Dam Recreation Area, as well as the dam.
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Fishing and picnicking opportunities available at base of Alum Creek Dam
- Alum Creek Lake offers a mountain bike trail system located on the east side of the lake, off Lewis Center Road. The trail system includes two main trails, a two-mile loop designed for beginning cyclists and nearly six miles of connected loops for the more experienced rider. These trails are unpaved and are exclusively designed for mountain bike use only. They are open year-round during daylight hours. Bicycles are also permitted on main roads and in the state park campground.
Alum Creek Lake offers unlimited horsepower and various water related activities such as fishing, sailing, waterskiing, pleasure boating and boater swim / camp areas. There are five boat launch ramps; the marina on Hollenback Road and the campground ramp on the west side of the lake, the New Galena and Cheshire ramps on the east side of the lake and the Howard Road ramp in the northern part of the lake on the east side.
The campground, on the west side of the lake, was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers and is operated by Alum Creek State Park. There are 297 sites, all with new electrical hookup (1999), a picnic table, and a fire ring. Showers, flush toilets, drinking water, a trailer waste station, playground, basketball court and a shelter house are also available as well as a beach and a boat ramp which are exclusively for campground guests. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Other camping areas include a group camp at the Lewis Center Picnic Area, and camping for horsemen at the Horsemen's Day Use Area / Camp on Howard Road.
The saw-toothed lake shoreline provides excellent fishing. Alum Creek Lake is one the best fishing lakes in the state. A wide variety of fish including white bass, rock bass, small and largemouth bass, bluegill, white and black crappie, green sunfish, long-eared sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, channel catfish and walleye thrive in the lake. The State of Ohio, Division of Wildlife regularly stocks saugeye and muskies in the lake. Numerous fishing tournaments are held at the lake each year. Fishing access areas include the Lewis Picnic Area, Kilbourne Fishing Access, Howard Road Boat Ramp, Cheshire Fishing Access, and the Below Dam Recreation Area. Fishing is allowed from boats and shoreline, in and along the lake. Ohio fishing licenses are required and state fishing regulations apply.
The park offers a six mile multi-purpose trail, located at the New Galena Launch Ramp, on the east side of the lake. The trail is designed for hiking in the spring and summer months and dependent upon snow cover, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter. There are also hiking trails located at the state park office, the Hollenback Boat Ramp Area, and the visitor center.
The Adena Indians, who lived in this area (800 B.C.), built mounds. Seven mounds were found around Alum Creek. Six of the mounds were excavated before completing the lake. The mounds were circular in shape with a hollow center and 1 to 2 feet high. Archaeologists believe these mounds probably were not burial mounds. In the campground, a bronze plaque commemorates the site of Fort Cheshire. Known to the colonists as the Blockhouse, Fort Cheshire was built for the protection against the Indians about 1812. In the years after the Indian attacks, the Blockhouse served as a schoolhouse and, before the nearby churches were built, as a meeting place for religious services. During the 1860s the Alum Creek area became a main artery of Central Ohio's "underground railroad." Slaves, escaping to Canada, walked in the water of Alum Creek so their scent was lost to pursuing dogs. All roads near Alum Creek were used by the "conductors" (people helping the slaves to escape) in transporting the slaves to the next "station."
The areas north of Route 36 / 37 on the east bank are mostly wooded and support good populations of white-tailed deer, squirrel and raccoon. The areas south of Route 36 / 37 are mostly abandoned cropland with small areas of secondary hardwoods. These areas have good populations of white-tailed deer and rabbit. Alum Creek State Park offers 20 duck blind sites in an annual lottery held on the 3rd Saturday in August. There are also eight day use blinds available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The park offers a bridle trail of 50 miles. The majority of the trail is north of U.S. Route 36 / 37 and is recommended for experienced riders. Horse rental is not available. Parking for trailers, overnight camping, water and restrooms are available at the Horsemen's Day Use Area / Camp on Howard Road.
The marina, located on the west side of the lake at the end of Hollenback Road, is operated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The Marina offers dock spaces, boat equipment and repairs, rentals, a restaurant, related goods and services, and an area for picnicking. Alum Creek State Park conducts an annual lottery for seasonal boat dock spaces. Contact the state park office for more information.
Two picnic shelters are located at the Below Dam Recreation Area. All shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis except when reserved in advance (a fee is required for reserving a shelter). Call the project office to reserve a shelter. There are also picnic tables outside of the shelters in the Below Dam Recreation Area. In the state park managed area, the Lewis Center Picnic Area, located north of the beach on Lewis Center Road offers the largest area for group outings. The Marina, Cheshire and New Galena Ramps also offer shaded picnic areas.
Swimming opportunities are at the 3,000' long beach, Ohio's largest. The beach is operated by Alum Creek State Park. The park also manages a smaller beach within the park's campground.
The Corps of Engineers Visitor Center and Office is located on Lewis Center Road between the beach and the dam. The visitor center is open year-round. Facilities and services include exhibits, information, maps, brochures, a movie theater, and restrooms. A variety of guided walks, talks, and other programs are offered free of charge by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Handicap accessible facilities are provided at the visitor center and office and the Below Dam Recreation Area. There is also a universally accessible fishing access and pier on the east side of the lake, at the Cheshire Fishing Access Area. The Cheshire Fishing Access Area also offers picnicking, universally accessible restrooms and a paved trail leading to the pier.
Recreation - Recreational opportunities at Alum Creek Lake include boating, biking, camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, viewing historical sites, horseback riding, picnicking, lake swimming, and touring the visitor center. A marina is offered at the lake. Many facilities are handicapped accessible.
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.
Alum Creek Lake is located in Delaware County, Ohio, north of Columbus between Interstate 71 and U.S. Route 23.