Hueston Woods State Park
Millions of years ago, a shallow sea covered Ohio, depositing fossil-rich limestone and dolomite bedrock. Fertile soils, left behind by glaciers thousands of years ago, created a productive land that attracted early Native Americans, including the Miami people, and settlers.
In 1797, Matthew Hueston, after serving with General "Mad" Anthony Wayne in the Indian wars, bought land for a farm in Butler and Preble counties. He left a remnant of the woods standing for his descendants.
When the last of the Huestons died in the 1930s, Morris Taylor, a conservationist, purchased the woods and held it in trust, while Cloyd Acton, a Preble County legislator, influenced the state legislature to buy the land in 1941. Hueston Woods was designated a state forest, and in 1945, money was appropriated to buy additional land.
In 1952, the Oxford Honor Camp was located here, housing honor-status inmates for 12 years. In the summer of 1956, an earthen dam was completed across Four Mile Creek, creating Acton Lake. Hueston Woods became a state park in 1957. The old-growth forest was added to the National Registry of National Landmarks in 1967, and became a state nature preserve in 1973.
Hueston Woods State Park located in southwest Ohio has an enormous wealth of natural resources. The limestone bedrock of the area is evidence of an ancient shallow sea that once covered Ohio. Much of the limestone is the magnesium-bearing type called dolomite. Fossilized remains of ancient marine animals are so abundant that people from all over the world come to Hueston Woods to collect them.
The rich soils of the area are part of the glacial till plains of western Ohio. Early settlers cleared the dense woodlands to farm the fertile soil. Nearly all of Ohio’s original forest has since vanished. However, one unique stand of virgin timber remains at Hueston Woods. Over 200 acres have been protected and provide visitors with a glimpse of Ohio’s primeval forest. Stately beech and sugar maple tower above the abundance of ferns, wildflowers and other woodland species. In 1967, the 200-acre forest was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.
228 campsites with electrical outlets
Showers, flush toilets, laundry, and trailer waste station
137 non-electric campsites, with vault-type latrines
Equestrian camp area offers 20 electric and 29 non-electric sites. Riding arena is available for practice or horse shows
Group camp areas for youth and adult organizations are available for reservation
Pets are permitted on any site
Free WiFi access is available at the camp store to registered campers
An archery range is available at the park.
The 625-acre Acton Lake is open to boats of any motor size, but speed is restricted to “no wake.” One launch ramp provides access to the lake. The park offers boat rentals, 168 docks and fuel during the boating season.
The park features a 36-hole disc golf course. Bring your own equipment, rental equipment is not available. No fee is charged to play.
The park offers a three-acre dog park with lake access for dogs to play off-leas
The best fishing includes largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, saugeye, and bluegill. Fishing pier on the west shore is accessible. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
The park is home to an 18-hole, 7,005-yard, par 72 golf course. Driving ranges are open from March until November.
Deer hunting with bow and muzzleloader is allowed in season. Waterfowl and raccoon hunting is allowed by permit. A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
Many picnic areas with tables and grills are located throughout the park. Four shelter houses are also available, one can be reserved and is ADA accessible. All picnic areas are first-come, first-served basis.
Park visitors can sunbathe and swim along the 1,500-foot public swimming beach. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are not permitted on swimming beaches, except at the designated dog beach area
12 hiking trails cross through the park:
Sycamore Trail - 0.7 Miles - Easy
Cedar Falls Trail - 0.8 Miles - Moderate
Cabin Trail/Pine Loop - 1.3 Miles - Moderate
Mud Lick Trail - 2.2 Miles - Moderate
West Shore Trail - 1.5 Miles - Moderate
Sugar Bush Trail - 0.8 Miles - Moderate (0.5 Miles Handicap Accessible)
Blue Heron Trail - .6 Miles - Moderate
Big Woods Trail - 1.1 Miles - Moderate
Hedge Apple Trail - 0.8 Miles - Moderate
Indian Mound Trail - 1.2 Miles - Moderate
The bridle trails, at 18 miles long, is available to riders with their own mounts.
The Mountain Bike Trail is 20 miles ranging from easy to difficult. Races are held periodically throughout the season.
The American Discovery Trail also passes through the park.
At the Nature Center, you can view native Ohio animals and attend nature programs. Birders can enjoy watching for some of the park's 150 bird species.
The Hedgerow Project is a 14-acre managed wildlife habitat featuring native grasses, wildflowers, an observation blind and vernal pools, along Hedgerow Road. Foot traffic is welcome on the 0.33-mile path through the area. This project was created and is maintained for the public’s enjoyment by the Shady Hollow Longbeards, Preble County’s chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
In the right winter conditions, park guests can enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, and ice boating.
Hueston Woods State Park is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media