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Strouds Run State Park Is A Perfect Summer Road Trip From Columbus

There are plenty of contenders for fun weekend getaway around Ohio, but Strouds Run State Park is completely underrated.

The park is well-known to any Ohio University alumni, as it’s located just a few minutes from OU’s main campus in Athens. The park is named after the Strouds family, who settled in the area in the 1800s, but the area was inhabited by native peoples for centuries prior.

The beautiful lake that serves as the centerpiece of the park is called Dow Lake and was created when the dam was completed in 1960. Located in the scenic hills of Athens County, the area is full of deep ravines and high hills.

These woods throughout the park are home to a variety of animals including white-tailed deer, fox, raccoon, opossum, squirrel, wild turkey, and some songbirds. While visiting the park, there are plenty of things to do for fun. You can start your visit by taking a beautiful hike on one of the many trails throughout the park.

Strouds Run has everything from limestone accessible trails to more moderate, rough trails. There are also bridle trails and mountain biking trails available.

If you’re on the hunt for a more relaxing sort of weekend, then the first stop should definitely be the beach. The 700-foot sand beach is on the east side of the lake and it’s open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, daily from sunrise to sunset. There are changing areas and bathrooms onsite.

Near the beach, you’ll find the boat ramp. You can put in your own boat or rent one to take out on Dow Lake, but all boats have a 10-hp limit. The lake is incredibly calm and it’s a great place to enjoy some stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. For watercraft rental information, you can call (740) 594-2628.

The drive down to the park is beautiful and it only takes about an hour and twenty minutes to get there from downtown Columbus. To start planning your trip to Strouds Run State Park, you can check out the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) website here.

A visit to Strouds Run is also a great opportunity to utilize ODNR’s DETOUR app, which you can learn about here.