Lake Milton (NE)
16801 Mahoning Avenue
Lake Milton, Ohio 44429
Call or reserve online: 866-644-6727
Lake Milton’s 1,685-acre reservoir offers the best in water-related recreation. Boating, swimming and fishing are popular. The scenic shoreline provides a habitat for waterfowls and shorebirds for visitors to enjoy.
Nature of the Area
1,006-acre Lake Milton State Park lies in the portion of the Appalachian Plateau in Ohio that was overridden by glaciers some 12,000 years ago. This glaciated plateau contains a great variety of plants, animals and natural habitats. The plateau’s rolling hills are interspersed with forests, bogs, old fields, streams and lakes.
The plateau is a major meeting ground of plants and forest types from the southern Appalachians and northern Allegheny regions. For instance, it is possible to see substantial stands of white oak and hickory which are typical of the southern Appalachians as well as northern hemlock forests which are more common in the northern Allegheny region. This tension zone accounts for the great diversity of plants in the area. Star flower, spring beauties, mountain maple, anemones and wood aster grace the floor of beech-maple woodlots.
Animals suited to this area include cottontail rabbit, red fox, raccoon, muskrat and woodchuck. Bird life is diverse with robins, warblers, pine siskins, hawks and owls being commonly seen. Reptiles found here include the midland painted turtle and the northern watersnake.
History of the Area
Before settlement of Ohio, dense forests covered much of the region. The forests were inhabited by Indians and wild animals including wolf, elk, bear and mountain lion. Indian trails and rivers provided access to the area. When settlers started moving west, they traveled the same routes as the Indians. Historic records recall only a few incidents between settlers and the Indians.
John and Mary Young traveled to this area from New York and in 1797 platted a town on the bank of the Mahoning River. In 1803, the Youngs left the area due to homesickness, but the town (Youngstown) still bears their name. Shortly after the Young’s departure, iron, coal and limestone were discovered in the nearby hills. In 1826, the first coal mine opened in the valley. After Lake Superior’s extensive iron ore deposits were discovered, the Mahoning Valley steel industry grew at a rapid rate. Union Iron and Steel Company, the first Mahoning steel plant, opened in 1892. Additional mills and fabricating plants drew immigrants of all nationalities to the valley.
In 1910, the city of Youngstown acquired 3,416 acres in Milton Township to construct a reservoir to be used as a water supply. A 2,800-foot dam was completed in 1913 impounding 1,640 acres on the Mahoning River. Lake Milton included a small amusement park at Craig Beach with a swimming beach, roller coaster, boat trips and a busy midway. The east side of the lake included taverns, a dance hall and a skating rink.
During the 1970s, mounting problems with the Lake Milton dam demanded attention. Considering safety factors, the gates were opened in the spring of 1986 and the lake was drained. State assistance was sought and shortly thereafter repairs to the dam began. Within two years, the dam was ready to hold water again.
Lake Milton was officially dedicated as a state park in 1988.
- Nature Trail • 1.25 miles • Easy
- 1,685-acre lake is designated for unlimited horsepower
- Boaters have access to a section of the Mahoning River at the south end of the lake
- 3 launch ramps and seasonal dock rentals are available
- Fuel & 100 seasonal docks are available at the marina
- Check for water quality advisories
- Boating laws and information
- Fishing is popular and anglers enjoy nice catches of different fish species
- The ODNR Division of Wildlife has stocked the lake with walleye, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and channel catfish
- Also added were smaller numbers of smallmouth bass, brown bullhead, yellow perch, white bass and muskellunge
- Valid Ohio fishing license is required
- 4 shelterhouses can be reserved online or by calling 866-644-6727
- 600-foot beach has restrooms, change booths, showers, playground, basketball court and sand volleyball court
- 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
- Hunting is permitted in designated areas
- Valid Ohio hunting license is required
Winter Recreation (conditions permitting)
- Cross country skiing
- Ice fishing
- Nearby state parks include West Branch (Ravenna), Nelson-Kennedy Ledges (Garrettsville) and Quail Hollow (Hartville). West Branch offers camping facilities while Nelson and Quail Hollow are both day-use areas
- Youngstown’s attractions include the Arms Museum which highlights local history; Butler Institute of American Art, one of the country’s first museums of art; and Mill Creek Park which offers trails, lakes, formal gardens and a restored mill.
- Kyle Woods in Mahoning County is a state nature preserve with an 80-acre beech-maple woodlot with unique woody species. Visitation is during daylight hours only.
- For more information on area attractions, visit
- Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website or call 800-447-8201
- Ohio Tourism Division website or call 800-BUCKEYE