Lake Alma (SE)
422 Lake Alma Road
Wellston, OH 45692
Contact & Mailing Address
Lake Hope State Park
27331 State Route 278
McArthur, OH 45651
Lake Hope Park Office
Reservations for Camping, Getaway Rentals & Shelters
In the midst of some of Ohio’s most rugged, scenic territory lies 292-acre Lake Alma State Park. A quiet 60-acre lake and a gentle creek meandering through a wooded valley provide a restful setting for park visitors.
Nature of the Area
Lake Alma lies nestled in the heart of the unglaciated hill country of Ohio. These hills are part of the Appalachian Highlands. Most of the rock layers are acidic sandstones, shales and coals with an occasional limestone member. Much time has passed since the region was first uplifted from the ancient sea that once covered Ohio–allowing for the development of many different habitats. Today, this region supports more than seventy percent of Ohio’s remaining woodlands on only one-third of the state’s land. Lake Alma contains a fine example of the second growth forest now covering this part of the state. In this area, the forest is mainly of a mixed oak composition.
With the advent of forest succession on surrounding farmlands, upswings in the population of deer, grouse, gray squirrel and other woodland species were encouraged. In the late 1950s, wild turkeys were reintroduced into this part of the state giving Vinton County the highest population of this species. Other valuable resources found at Lake Alma include a vast array of woodland wildflowers such as large-flowered trillium, wild geranium and hepatica. The forest floor is blanketed with a variety of ferns, mosses and lichens. The woodthrush, pileated woodpecker, great-horned owl and barred owl make this park their home.
History of the Area
A wilder country than this in early days would be hard to imagine. Rocks and intermingled forests, Indians, wolves, wild game and snakes were more numerous than interesting.
After the Treaty of Greenville of 1795, the Indian threat in the Ohio territory subsided, clearing the way for settlement. The first geological survey of Ohio revealed that Vinton County was rich in mineral resources. Millstone, coal and iron ore provided the resources for flourishing industries.
The charcoal iron industry spurred growth in this Hanging Rock iron region. From 1818 to the turn of the century, thousands of acres of woodlands were cut to fuel the 46 furnaces in the region. At its peak in the mid-1800s, Ohio was the nation’s leading producer of iron for implements and weapons. The millstones quarried along Raccoon Creek helped alleviate the dependence upon imported French and Pennsylvania buhrstone. The Raccoon Creek quarry was only one of eight millstone manufacturers in Ohio in the mid-1800s.
For a time, coal was an important Vinton County export. Its importance has waned in this century but continues to provide a boost to the local economy. The timber industry is the county’s most important business today. Vinton County is the least populated and most heavily forested county in the state.
Built in 1903 by the late C.K. Davis, a wealthy coal operator, Lake Alma was originally constructed as an amusement park. The park then boasted a large dance pavilion, outdoor theater, a merry-go-round and several other rides. This attraction prospered only until 1910 and was later purchased by the city of Wellston for a municipal water supply. The city leases the area to the ODNR Division of Parks and Recreation for operation as a state park.
- 286 electric campsites offer both wooded and sunny areas, some of which overlook the lake
- 71 electric sites
- 10 non-electric sites
- Pets are permitted on designated sites
- Facilities include pit latrines, tables, fire rings, dump station and drinking water
- Playground is located in the campground
- Camp office loans games and sports equipment to registered campers
- Download the Campground map
- 1 Camper Cabin, which comes equipped with a cooler, cook stove and other amenities can be rented during the summer months by reservation
- 3 hiking trails
- Old Pine Trail • 1/2 Mile • Moderate
- Sassafras Trail • 3/4 Mile • Moderate
- Acorn Trail • 1 Mile • Moderate
- 1-mile paved walkway/bicycle path begins at the park entrance and ends at the park exit
- Non-powered watercraft and boats with electric motors only are permitted on Lake Alma
- Boat launch ramp is located at the northeast edge of the lake
- Check for water quality advisories
- Boating laws and information
- Bass, bluegill, crappie and channel catfish provide good catches in the lake
- Valid Ohio fishing license is required
- 7 scenic picnic areas with tables and grills are located throughout the park
- 3 picnic shelters, located throughout the park, may be reserved online or by calling 866-644-6727
- 2 public beaches are located on the north side of the lake
- Change booths, latrines and parking are provided
- Beach concession offers refreshments
- 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)
- Ice skating
- Cross country skiing
- Ice fishing
- Lake Hope State Park is 24 miles north off State Route 278. Cabins, a camp area, dining lodge and other recreational facilities are provided there
- Lake Katherine State Nature Preserve in Liberty Township on County Road 60 is a 1,467-acre botanical preserve. Lake Katherine contains the largest and finest colonies of both the bigleaf and umbrella magnolias. The rich forested ravines of the preserve contain communities of hemlock, sweet gum, birch and beech. The drier ridgetops support mountain laurel, Virginia pine and oak. Many rare plants including several species of native orchids are found here
- Lake Rupert of Wellston Wildlife Area, four miles south of McArthur, provides excellent opportunities for fishing • Pike, largemouth bass and bluegill provide good catches while the wildlife area offers good hunting for rabbit, deer and squirrel
- Leo Petroglyph State Memorial is located southwest of the park on County Road 28 • The area features rock carvings made by Fort Ancient Indians • Trails and picnic facilities are provided
- Buckeye Furnace State Memorial, located southeast of Wellston, is a reconstructed iron furnace of the Hanging Rock district • The complex includes the changing house, charcoal and casting sheds and the company store
- For more information on area attractions, visit
- Vinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau website or call 740-596-5033
- Ohio Tourism Division website or call 800-BUCKEYE