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General Information

Paint Creek Lake
Copyright: - US Army Corps of Engineers
Paint Creek Lake
Description - Congress authorized the Paint Creek project in the Flood Control Act of 1938 for flood reduction, recreation, potential water supply for Greenfield, water quality improvement, and fish - wildlife conservation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the project in 1967 and completed the dam and recreation facility in 1974. The project, 20 miles west of Chillicothe in Ross and Highland counties, regulates runoff from 573 square miles - about 50% of Paint Creek basin's drainage area. The dam is composed of an impervious core (a wall of clay material extending across the center of the dam) contained both upstream and downstream by an embankment of rock. The dam is 118 feet high and 800 feet long.

Attractions - Paint Creek is a unique recreation area that changes not only with the season, but also with the weather. "Special releases" during the spring season or times of excessive rainfall yield opportunities for canoeists and kayakers wishing to take advantage of whitewater. In the lake, launching ramps for the boating and fishing enthusiast are located at the Deer Park marina, off Taylor Road near the campground, and the Rattlesnake Boat Access. Boaters are cautioned that part of the lake is zoned for waterskiing while other areas are reserved for quiet fishing. Unlimited horsepower is permitted.

Paint Creek has long been a popular fishing stream. The lake includes white and black crappie, bluegill, smallmouth and spotted bass, rock bass, darters, channel catfish, and saugeye. When the lake was initially impounded, it was not stocked because of the healthy native fish population. The Ohio Department of Natural Resource's Division of Wildlife conducted a 5-year comprehensive survey, ending in 1979, and is continuing the no stocking program, except for stocking saugeye.

Bicycles are permitted on main roads, day use areas, and campground areas. There is a multi-use trail available to hikers and mountain bikers that begins at Paint Creek State Park's campground called the Appaloosa Run Trail. If offers north / south loops ranging in length from 4 to 6 miles. Views of the lake can be seen from various parts of the trail and picnic areas are located along the trail. There are numerous stream crossings, open meadows, and wooded hillsides. Mountain bikes are prohibited on the Milkweed Meadow Trail and Little Pond Trail. Other state park trails include Log Cabin Trail, Bridal Trail, Snowmobile Trail, Rattlesnake Bridal Trail, Cross Country Ski Trail, Harmony Trail, and Fern Hollow Trail. Contact the state park for trail maps.

Another unique feature of Paint Creek is the rock climbing opportunity. Rock climbing is permitted on the Harmony Trail wall and the Spillway walls only. Climbing maps are available at the Corps of Engineers office. Minimum impact climbing practices are encouraged. No lead climbing, no bolting, natural colored chalk only, bouldering no more than 4 feet off the ground, and climb during daylight hours only. Contact the USACE office for details.

Picnic shelters are located at the Corps of Engineers area above the spillway. There are two shelters, one with electricity, and one without. All shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis except when reserved in advance ($). Call the USACE office for details. There are also picnic tables at all recreation areas on the Paint Creek Lake project.

Campgrounds are located off Taylor Road and are operated by Paint Creek State Park. The scenic hilltop campground has 199 sites equipped with electricity.

Paint Creek State Park provides a variety of well marked and maintained bridle trails and a horse camp for anyone who enjoys horseback riding. A large staging area is located near the Pioneer farm where riders can get a trail map and choose appropriate trail loops for a short ride of a few hours or a whole day of riding. There is a main loop that is 18 miles long, the middle loop 13 miles in length, and the short loop of 7 miles.

There is a swimming beach located on Upp Road off Route 50. No lifeguards are working there and it is currently swim at your own risk.

The marina is located on Deer Park Road directly off Route 50. The marina provides docking facilities, boat rentals, snacks, fuel, and fishing supplies.

The Corps of Engineers at Paint Creek Lake operate an office and information center off Rapid Forge Road at the dam. It is open daily Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 4 PM. During the summer months the office is open on Saturday and Sunday, too.

Universally accessible facilities are provided at the Corps Project Office and in the state park areas.

Recreation - Recreational opportunities at Paint Creek Lake include wall climbing, canoeing, kayaking, biking, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, picnicking, dining, viewing nearby historic sites, water sports, wildlife viewing, and touring the visitor center.
Wildlife Viewing

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.

Location - Paint Creek Lake is located 24 miles southwest of Chillicothe off U.S. Route 50.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: My family has been going to Paint Creek Lake for years. It's the cleanest in the area. The beach is very nice and has a restroom facility that is well taken care of. There are showers and a changing area. Also there are pop machines for the hot summer days. There is a marina to launch a boat or to rent a pontoon. It's a great place to take your family.

More Information

Contact Information:
Paint Creek Lake, 504 RESERVIOR ROAD , BAINBRIDGE, OH, 45612-9450, Phone: 937-365-1470

Additional Information:
Ohio Lakes and Reservoirs - Ohio has more than 2,500 lakes and 44,000 miles of rivers and streams. Lake Erie, the southernmost Great Lake, is a major recreation attraction.
Southwest Ohio - Discover the richness of the Southwest Travel Region exhibited at the Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP or William Howard Taft NHS, restored home of the only person to serve as both President and Chief Justice of the United States.

Paint Creek Lake - Official agency website.


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