Description - Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1978, the 2,160-acre lake made popular by Cincinnati boaters, is also the site of two abandoned gold mines. William H. Harsha Lake is situated just a few miles from the Ohio River, with the East Fork of the Miami River flowing northward due to topography.
Copyright: - US Army Corps of Engineers
William H. Harsha Lake
William H. Harsha Lake exists as a cooperative management effort between the Corps of Engineers, the Ohio Division of Parks, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and the Village of Williamsburg. The 10,566 acres of the park offer a diversity of habitats for wildlife and nearly unlimited recreation opportunities.
- Imagine racing across a beautiful lake in your powerboat or personal watercraft, sending a plume of white spray behind you. Or sailing under clear skies with a steady wind and strong sails to guide you. Enter a quiet cove to cast your line and catch bass, bluegill or crappie. Or glide slowly past an ever-changing shoreline, the only sounds you hear are the paddles of your canoe or kayak dipping into the water. William H. Harsha Lake offers 2,160 water acres for boating enthusiasts of all types. Six launch ramps, including one for registered campers only, offer easy access to any area of the lake. A no-wake zone extends 300 feet from shore around the entire lake. No-wake zones are also marked in narrow channels and around launch ramps.
East Fork State Park operates a 416-site class A campground located off State Route 32 at the Half Acre Road exit. Each site includes 30 amp electric hook up, a paved pad, a picnic table and a campfire grill. The campground also offers two walking trails, a beach and boat ramp exclusively for registered campers. A group camping loop, rent-a-camp and rent-a-RV options are also available. Four primitive campsites are available to backpackers who register to hike the Steve Newman World Walker Perimeter Trail or the Backpack Trail.
William H. Harsha Lake and East Fork State Park offer an extensive trail system for hikers, with over 70 miles available for short rambles or several-day jaunts. In the Corps Operations Area, hikers will find access to three trails. The North Entrance to East Fork State Park gives access to many miles of bridle trails open to hiking and two walking trails in the campground. The South Access Trailhead parking lot is the main staging area for hikers, backpackers and mountain bikers alike. Also located in the South Entrance to East Fork State Park are three walking trails. The area also provides access to the long-distance Buckeye Trail.
East Fork Ridge Mountain Bike Trail is a 4.6-mile double loop that is dedicated to mountain bikers but open to hikers. Access is from the South Access Trailhead parking lot. It is the result of combined efforts of East Fork State Park, Queen City Wheels Mountain Bike Club, and the Kentucky Mountain Bike Association. The first loop is a mixture of flat, smooth stretches and twisting turns through wooded areas. It is suited for novice to intermediate cyclists. The second loop winds through steep hills and switchbacks, and is suited for advanced cyclists. Taken in its entirety, the trail will expose the adventurer to wooded hillsides, beautiful meadows, a spectacular ridge, and a great opportunity to view wildlife.
With 55 miles of trails open to horses, East Fork State Park is a premier destination for equine enthusiasts. In fact, Loop A of the campground is designated for travelers who can't leave their horses at home, and provides restrooms and showers, water and electricity.
Several picnic sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis while two shelters remain reservable through the USACE office. Some favorite outdoor dining spots include the Tailwater Recreation Area that features 14 tables with grills, the Overlook Shelter which is a cozy gazebo that is ideal for small weddings and groups looking for a lake view, and the Corps Boat Ramp where boaters and anglers tend to gather at the 5 tables with grills.
Other features of the lake facility include approximately 5,000 acres of public hunting land and fly fishing opportunities in the river downstream from the dam.
Recreation - Visitors to the Cincinnati area lake enjoy biking, boating, historic sites, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding, picnicing, dining, viewing exhibits, water sports and 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.
William H. Harsha Lake is located southeast of Batavia just south of State Route 32, approximately 20 miles southeast of Cincinnati.