Harrison Lake (NW)
26246 Harrison Lake Road
Fayette, OH 43521
Reservations for Camping, Getaway Rentals & Shelters
In the midst of endless field of corn and soybeans stands 142-acre Harrison Lake State Park–a green island of scenic woodlands in a rich agricultural region. Harrison Lake is popular for swimming, fishing, camping and canoeing
Nature of the Area
The area comprising Harrison Lake State Park was at one time part of a vast wetland. This mysterious area contained towering trees, soggy black soil and was a haven for the swamp rattlesnake (or massassauga, as it is also known). Very little remains of that once great swamp, but the park still harbors unique natural features associated with wetlands.
Great blue herons and common egrets can be sighted at the lake’s shallow western end. Numerous songbirds inhabit the park’s meadows and woodlands such as the vesper sparrow, common yellowthroat and brown thrasher. Several species of reptiles and amphibians find the park’s habitat suitable. Box turtles, painted turtles, garter snakes, green frogs and American toads are found here. Small mammals such as red fox, raccoon, skunk and the uncommon thirteen-lined ground squirrel are frequently seen.
History of the Area
Originally, Lake Erie was much larger than it is today–stretching from western New York to Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Harrison Lake region was at that time under the waters of Lake Erie. As Lake Erie receded to its present size, the area formerly under water reverted to swamplands. This swamp (120 miles long and 30 to 40 miles wide) became known as the Great Black Swamp due to the color of the soil and dark shade beneath the giant trees.
For many years, the swamp was a tremendous barrier to western settlement. Most settlers avoided the area, traveling around the swamp via Lake Erie to reach southern Michigan. The Ottawa Indians settled only near the well-drained lands beside the Maumee River and its tributaries. The swamp was the last area to be settled in Ohio. It served as a reservation for Indians until they were forced out in 1842. It was not until the development of soil drainage techniques in the 1850s that large numbers of settlers moved here.
Even today, northwestern Ohio remains one of the most sparsely populated regions of the state, although it is one of Ohio’s richest agricultural regions.
In 1836, the United States Congress and the Ohio Legislature finally settled a 10-year argument with the state of Michigan as to the location of the Ohio-Michigan border. For years, both states claimed ownership of a strip of land 11 miles wide that extended from the mouth of the Maumee River near Toledo to the Ohio border with Indiana. Today’s Ohio-Michigan boundary is the one agreed upon in 1836. Had Congress favored Michigan’s claim in that year, Harrison Lake State Park may have become a Michigan State Park!
In 1941, a dam over Mill Creek was completed and Harrison Lake was created. The lake and surrounding area were maintained primarily for hunting and fishing purposes until 1950 when Harrison Lake was established as a state park and development for additional recreational usage began.
- 173 total campsites • 152 with electric hook-ups • 21 non-electric
- Showers, flush toilets, & dump station are available
- Pets are permitted on designated spots
- Playground is located at the campground
- Games and sports equipment can be borrowed by registered campers at the camp office
- Download the Campground map
- 1 camper cabin is available
- 2 Rent-A-Yurt units offer futon beds, A/C, ceiling fan, mini refrigerator, and outdoor as grill along with a sheltered picnic table
- Getaway Rentals are available for rent from May 1 through October 31
- 3.5-mile hiking trail with 2 branches circles the lake and provides the opportunity to explore the scenic lakeshore and woodlands
- Non-powered watercraft and boats with electric motors only are permitted on the 105-acre lake
- 1 launch ramp provides access to the lake
- Boating laws and information
- Good catches of largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, bullhead catfish, northern pike and carp can be taken from Harrison Lake
- Valid Ohio fishing license is required
- 5 quiet picnic areas are located in scenic areas of the park
- 3 shelter houses are available for reservation online or by calling 866-644-6727
- 150-foot swimming beach
- The beach is open 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
Winter Recreation (conditions permitting)
- Cross country skiing
- Ice fishing
- The Sauder Museum, Farm and Craft Village, just east of the intersection of S.R. 66 and S.R. 2 near Archbold, is a colorful reminder of the life in early Ohio. The 15-acre complex includes an 1860s home and barnyard, the Craft Village where talented artisans display their skills, and a museum displaying antique tools and farm implements. The restored barn on the premises houses a restaurant featuring country-style cooking.
- Goll Woods State Nature Preserve, three miles northwest of Archbold, is one of the finest remaining examples of the Black Swamp forest. Some of the ancient oak trees are more than four feet in diameter and tower over the native shrubs and wildflowers found here. Nature photographers, birdwatchers and wildflower lovers will delight in the natural diversity that makes Goll Woods so unique
- The Fulton County Historical Society operates a museum at 229 Monroe Street in Wauseon. The museum, which illustrates the history of the Fulton County area, is open Monday-Thursday 1:00 to 4:00, May through October or by appointment
- Maumee Bay State Park, east of Toledo, offers additional recreational opportunities with a resort lodge, cabins, Scottish-style golf course and campground
- For more information on area attractions, visit
- Ohio Tourism Division website or call 800-BUCKEYE
More To Do
- Bike and boat rentals are available in day use areas of the park
- Volleyball and basketball courts, and horseshoe pits
- Lake access for dogs offers a place for your pets to frolick and swim
- Nature programs are offered during the summer months