Caesar Creek (SW)
8570 E State Route 73
Waynesville, OH 45068-9719
9000 Center Road
Wilmington, OH 45177
Cowan Lake Park Office
Reservations for Camping, Getaway Rentals & Shelters
Caesar Creek State Park is highlighted by clear blue waters, scattered woodlands, meadows and steep ravines. The 3,741-acre park offers some of the finest outdoor recreation in southwest Ohio including boating, hiking, camping and fishing.
Nature of the Area
The park area sits astride the crest of the Cincinnati Arch, a convex tilting of bedrock layers caused by an ancient upheaval. Younger rocks lie both east and west of this crest where some of the oldest rocks in Ohio are exposed. The sedimentary limestones and shales tell of a sea hundreds of millions of years in our past which once covered the state. The park’s excellent fossil finds give testimony to the life of this long vanished body of water.
The forests of the area are comprised of over 65 species of plants • Several major communities thrive in the area. A northern flood plain forest is found in the valley, while mixed associations of oak-hickory and beech-maple woodlands clothe the ridges and hillsides. Red-tail hawk, white-tail deer, raccoon, red fox and box turtle make the park their home.
History of the Area
The wooded lands of the park were home to several early Ohio Indian cultures. While the Hopewells inhabited several sites in the state, their earthworks (known as Fort Ancient) on the nearby Little Miami River are among the largest and best known. This hilltop enclosure used for ceremonial gatherings is surrounded by three miles of earthen walls, constructed using animal shoulder-blade scoops and hides for transporting dirt. This Indian race lived in the region during a period from 300 BC to 600 AD.
A later group, living on the site from 1200 AD to 1600 AD, were known as the Fort Ancient Indians. These people lived in villages along several river systems in the region including Caesar Creek. Displays about the Hopewell mounds and the later cultures can be seen at the Army Corps of Engineers’ Visitor Center.
Woodland Indian tribes such as the Wyandot, Miami and Shawnee also called southwestern Ohio home. Old Chillicothe where the famous warrior Tecumseh was said to have been born was located in Greene County, just north of the park. The Caesar Creek area was named for a black slave captured by the Shawnee on a raid along the Ohio River. The Shawnee adopted Caesar and gave him this valley as his hunting ground. Caesar lived in this area during the time Blue Jacket was war chief and was said to have gone on many raids with him.
Many of these Indian villages were located along an ancient Indian trail, part of which follows the ridgeline on the eastern side of the Caesar Creek valley. The trail was used by white settlers in the early 1800s, who named it Bullskin Trace. Later the trail became part of the Underground Railroad used by runaway slaves to reach safe houses run by area Quakers.
The Caesar Creek valley was impounded in 1978 by the Army Corps of Engineers to assist with flood control in the Little Miami River watershed. The 4,700 acre park and adjacent 2,500 acre wildlife area were dedicated that year.
- 283 electric sites
- Showers, flush toilets, and pet camping in designated areas
- Playground equipment and basketball court
- Equestrian camp with 30 sites is available on a “first come, first served” basis
- Download the Campground map
- 2 camper cabins are available from April 1 to October 31
- Each unit sleeps up to 4
- Features include electric outlets and fan for ventilation, porch with charcoal grill, and fire ring
- Linens, dishes, and cooking utensils are not provided
- Daily housekeeping is not available
- 2 cedar cabin are available from April 1 to October 31
- Each unit opens to one room, with full bed and a bunk bed, that can sleep up to 4 people
- Bathroom with shower
- Amenities include TV, refrigerator, microwave, cook stove, coffeemaker, electric outlets, A/C, heater, porch with charcoal grill, and fire ring
- Linens, dishes and cooking utensils are not provided
- Daily housekeeping is not available
- 2 hiking only trails
- Visitor Center Trail • 7.2 Miles • Moderate-Difficult
- Spillway Trail • 4.3 Miles • Moderate-Difficult
- 4 bridle trails that also allow hiking
- Rosebriar Trail • 2 Miles • Easy
- Moonlit Vista Trail • 3.7 Miles • Easy
- Farmer’s Trace Trail • 4 Miles • Easy
- Silidago Downs Trail • 28 Miles • Easy
- 2 mountain bike trails that also allow hiking
- Fifty Springs Loop • 3.5 Miles • Easy
- Mountain Bike Trail • 5.5 Miles • Difficult
- Portions of the Buckeye Trail go through the park
- Download the Trail Map
- 2,830-acre lake has an unlimited horsepower designation
- 4 launch ramps are situated around the lake
- Seasonal dry moorage rentals are available for 64 boats
- Boat ramp off State Route 73 and Wellman Boat Dock are Carry In Carry Out areas. No trash cans are available. Please bring trash bags with you.
- Check for water quality advisories
- Boating laws and information
- Anglers can enjoy fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass and some of the best crappie fishing in the state
- Check out the lake map
- Valid Ohio fishing license is required
- 4 picnic areas with tables, grills and drinking water are located throughout the park
- Picnic shelters are available near the Pioneer Village, at the Fifty-Springs picnic area, and in the campground
- Fifty-Springs shelter may be reserved online or by calling 866-644-6727. This shelter is a Carry in Carry out area. No trash cans are available. Please bring trash bags with you
- Shelters at the Pioneer Village and the campground are not reservable, but “first come first served”
- Hopewell Day Lodge, offering a meeting room and kitchen with outdoor tables and grills, can be reserved for family reunions and club meetings.
- 1,300-foot public beach
- Changing booths are available
- Swimming is permitted during daylight hours only
- Swim at your own risk & be sure to keep an eye on the kids
- Pets are NOT permitted on swimming beaches
- Check for water quality advisories
- Beach is a Carry In Carry out area. No trash cans are available. Please bring trash bags with you.
- Hunting is permitted in the adjacent wildlife area during scheduled hunting seasons
- Valid Ohio hunting license is required
Winter Recreation (conditions permitting)
- Ice fishing
- Cross country skiing
- Blue Jacket outdoor drama
- King’s Island amusement park
- Waynesville Sauerkraut Festival
- Fort Ancient State Memorial
- Little Miami Scenic State Park
- Cowan Lake State Park
- The Little Miami Scenic River offers many canoeing opportunities and spectacular scenery
- A history of Ohio’s pioneers is illustrated throughout the Caesar Creek region. Remnants of their lifestyles are reflected today at the Pioneer Village situated around the Levi Lukens cabin built in 1807. Other buildings dating from 1790 are reconstructed on the site
- Caesar Creek Gorge, a state nature preserve operated by the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, features a 180 foot deep gorge displaying unique geologic formations. Visitation during daylight hours only.
- For more information on area attractions, visit
- Warren County Convention and Visitors Bureau website or call 888-791-4FUN
- Ohio Tourism Division website or call 800-BUCKEYE
More To Do
- The park’s nature center houses interesting displays of the cultural and natural history of the area
- Naturalist programs are offered year round
- The pioneer village features 15 historic buildings depicting life in the early 1800s
- Playground equipment is offered at some day-use areas of the park