William H. Harsha Lake and East Fork State Park offer an extensive trail system for hikers, bikers and horseback riders, with over 70 miles available for short rambles or several-day jaunts. In the Corps Operations Area, hikers will find access to three trails. The North Entrance to East Fork State Park gives access to many miles of bridle trails open to hiking plus two walking trails in the Campground. The South Trailhead Access Parking Lot is the main staging area for hikers, backpackers and mountain bikers alike. Also located in the South Entrance to East Fork State Park are three walking trails. Trail Maps showing trailheads may be obtained from East Fork State Park and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Corps Operations Area Trails:
Deer Ridge Trail – Located across from the Visitor Center, this ½ mile trail tells the story of change in the East Fork River Valley. Maps of this interpretive trail are available from the Visitor Center and at the trailhead.
Tailwater Trail – Located below the dam near the restroom building, this one-mile loop climbs a steep hill through mature woodlands and an open field. Spring wildflowers are plentiful, and deer and other wildlife may be seen year round. (White Blazes)
Steve Newman World Walker Perimeter Trail – The park’s longest trail may be accessed from the Spillway Entrance Parking lot by hikers and horseback riders. It is a challenging 31.5 miles and is blazed in green. A section of the Buckeye Trail follows this same portion of the Perimeter trail. For more information, contact the Buckeye Trail Association at P.O. Box 254, Worthington, OH 43085, or visit their website.
North Entrance Trails – Bridle Trails open to Horseback Riding and Hiking
Perimeter Trail – This 31.5 mile loop trail for riders and hikers alike is East Fork’s longest and most demanding trail. It provides beautiful scenery and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities year-round. It can be accessed from Horseman’s Loop A and via the Campground Trail.
Cascades Trail- Named after a steep-sided ravine. Sparkling waters tumble over limestone bedrock, forming miniature waterfalls. This three-mile loop trail winds through hardwood forests and offers challenging ravine crossings. (White Blazes).
Pin Oak Trail – A three- mile loop through mostly flat fields and woods, this trail offers good viewing of wildlife. (Red Blazes).
Twin Bridges Trail – This nine-mile loop takes the rider along rocky, picturesque creeks with miniature waterfalls and offers scenic views of Harsha Lake. It has many steep ravine crossings. (Yellow Blazes).
Red Fox Trail – This challenging five-mile loop crosses many steep ravines and winds along the hilltops high above Harsha Lake, offering spectacular views. (Orange Blazes).
Campground Trail – This two-mile trail connects the Horseman’s parking lot with the Horseman’s Camp Loop. (Medium Blue Blazes).
Connector Trails – These trails allow the rider to shorten a loop or switch to a different trail, and are marked by white squares with a colored dot in the center.
Campground Walking Trails
Whippoorwill Trail – Park in the Camp Office parking lot and find the trailhead just to the west. This trail traverses wooded hillsides and bubbling creeks. Look for wild turkey in the mature woods. Access to the Perimeter Trail is located across from the Camp Office lot.
Fern Hill Trail – This moderate but challenging two-mile trail provides hilly terrain and many stream and ravine crossings. The trail is located just north of the Camper’s Beach parking lot, and is open to registered campers only.
South Access Trailhead Parking Area Trails
Backpack Trail – This 12-mile trail, blazed in red/orange, provides a moderate hike through oak-hickory forests and open fields. Two overnight areas are accessible from this trail, and all backpackers must register with East Fork State Park.
East Fork Ridge Mountain Bike Trails – Dedicated to mountain bikers, these trails are also open to hikers. Three loops of varying skill levels take the adventurer through wooded hillsides and beautiful meadows. A map is available at the State Park Office and Corps of Engineers Visitor Center.
Steve Newman World Walker Perimeter Trail – Popular with hikers and equestrians alike, this is the park’s longest and most challenging trail at 31.5 miles. It is blazed in green, and circles the entire lake. Four overnight areas are provided, and registration is required.
South Entrance Area Walking Trails
Cedar Pond Loop Trail – An easy loop trail located just west of the Turkey Ridge Shelter area on Park Road # 1. It offers a great opportunity to view wildlife and is one-half mile long.
Prairie Trail – Located across Park Road # 3 from the Blackberry Thicket picnic area, this trail is one mile long. It was developed through the cooperative efforts of the Division of Wildlife, the National Wild Turkey Federation and East Fork State Park.
Lake Trail – This moderate one and one-half mile trail begins at the south end of the Lake Overlook parking lot on Park Road # 3. This woodland trail offers abundant spring wildflowers and spectacular vistas of Harsha Lake year round.