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Shawnee State Park, Portsmouth

#24 of 109 in Nature in Ohio
State Park · Nature / Park
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Shawnee State Park is truly a park where you can "get back to nature." Shawnee is unique in that its 1,100 acres of parkland are located within the 63,000 acre Shawnee State Forest. Birdwatching, backpacking, canoeing, and hiking are just some of the ways to enjoy this most "natural" of parks. Not to mention the beautiful 18-hole golf course located on the banks of the Ohio River or the 50-room lodge overlooking Turkey Creek Lake. Come see us - we'll make you feel at home.

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Breathtaking view of the surrounding hill country

50 guest rooms

Elegant dining room

Meeting rooms

Indoor and outdoor pools

Game room



Tennis, basketball and shuffleboard courts


25 two-bedroom family cottages

Sleep up to 6

Bath with a shower

Living room

Double-wide rollaway bed

Complete kitchen, microwave, telephone, dining area, screened porch and charcoal grill

2 premium cottages also offer Jacuzzis

Lodge facilities are available to cottage guests

Pets are permitted in select cottages, call 800-282-7275 for details


107 sites suitable for tents or trailers

Features electric hookups, waste disposal, heated shower houses, flush toilets and laundry facilities

Pet camping is available throughout the campground

Boat rental

Games and sporting equipment to loan to registered campers

A group camp that can accommodate up to 45 people is available by reservation

57-site equestrian campground with latrines is available near Bear Lake on state forest land

Download the Campground Map

Getaway Rentals

2 camper cabins are available

Each sleeps up to 5 people on two sets of bunk beds and one adult full bed

Outfitted with outdoor picnic table, campfire ring, charcoal grill, porch light, porch swing and covered porch

Unit contains inside electric service, lights, heater/AC unit, smoke/carbon detectors, bed frames with mattresses, table with chairs, mini-refrigerator, microwave and fire extinguisher

No linens or cooking supplies are provided

No pets or smoking are permitted inside the cabin unit

Water fountains, shower houses and a laundry facility are available nearby in the campground area

It is recommended that you bring bed linens or sleeping bags, pillows, towels, cooking utensils, dinnerware, cooler, containers for water and a clock/radio


Roosevelt and Turkey Creek lakes, totaling 68-acres, offer boating with electric motors only

Launch ramps are provided for access to the lakes

Rowboats, canoes, kayaks and pedal boats are available for rental at the camp store

Marina facility offers access to the Ohio River

75 seasonal docks

8 transient docks

2 jet ski docks

Check for water quality advisories

Boating laws & information


2 well-stocked lakes provide good catches of largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie and trout

A trout derby is held annually at Turkey Creek Lake

Valid Ohio fishing license is required for anyone over 16 years of age


6 hiking trails

Tree Trail • 1/2 Mile • Self-guided, easy, wheelchair accessible

Beach Trail • 1/2 Mile • Easy

Shawnee Forest Day Trail • 7.2 Miles • Moderate

Lampblack Nature Trail • 1 Mile • Moderate

Knighton Nature Trail • 2 Miles • Moderate

Look-Out Trail • 2 Miles • Moderate

Shawnee Backpack North Trail

Shawnee Backpack South Trail

2 bridle trails

Lampblack Bridle Trail

Mackletree Bridle Trail

60-mile Shawnee backpack trail, operated by the Division of Forestry, takes hikers to some of the best wilderness areas in Ohio

Additional 75 miles of bridle trails are located within Shawnee State Forest

Portion of the Buckeye Trail goes through the state forest


Public beaches are situated on Roosevelt Lake and Turkey Creek Lake

Swimming is permitted 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


18-hole championship golf course and pro-shop are located near the marina on the Ohio River, within a short drive of the main park area


5 picnic areas with tables and grills are located in many secluded and scenic areas of the park

2 accessible picnic shelters are available at Lake Roosevelt, and both may be reserved online or by calling 866-644-6727

Nature Center

Nature Center is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day

Visit the naturalist and critters at the park office after Labor Day until Memorial Day

This is a "Carry In Carry Out" area • No trash cans are available • Please bring trash bags with you


Hunting is permitted in the state forest

Winter Recreation (conditions permitting)

Ice fishing

More To Do

Miniature golf, located at the camp store and open to all park visitors

Volleyball and basketball courts

Horseshoe pits and playground equipment

Tennis courts and shuffleboard can be found at the lodge

Area Attractions

Many historic attractions can be found in the Shawnee area including Tremper Mound, Serpent Mound, the Olde Wayside Inn, the 1810 House and the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center • The Bonyfiddle section of nearby Portsmouth is a historic district containing numerous antique shops and historic architectural buildings

Adena State Memorial, the restored home of Thomas Worthington is one of The Ohio Historical Society's premier sites • It includes Worthington's newly-restored 1807 mansion and a 13,000 square foot Museum/Visitor Center

Shawnee State Forest is the largest of Ohio's twenty state forests • The forest contains impressive stands of oak, hickory, sassafras, buckeye, black gum, pitch pine and shortleaf pine • Other forest features include a 42-mile backpack trail with primitive campsites, over seventy miles of bridle trails, horsemen's campground, and an 8,000-acre wilderness area and five small fishing lakes

For more information about area attractions, visit the

Portsmouth-Scioto County Convention and Visitors Bureau website or call 740-353-1116

Ohio Tourism Division website or call 800-BUCKEYE

Nature of the Area

Several hundred million years ago, a general upheaval of eastern North America made changes in the terrain that are evident in Ohio today • South and east of Ohio, the layers of bedrock folded and buckled, giving rise to the Appalachian Mountains • The forested hills of Shawnee are a part of the Appalachian Plateau • Here, the bedrock layers were uplifted but no real distortion occurred; for this reason, Shawnee never had true "mountains" • In fact, all of Ohio's hill country is a feature of stream erosion on this prehistoric raised plain and is often referred to as the foothills of the Appalachians

The hills of Shawnee have also been dubbed "Ohio's Little Smokies" • Looking toward the Ohio River, one can certainly see how the region acquired such a nickname • From the highest points in the forest, ridge after ridge appears to roll away toward the horizon in a gentle blue haze • This distinctive color comes from moisture in the air which is generated by the thousands of acres of forest

The hardwood forest is host to a variety of flora and fauna • Wildflowers are abundant including several rare types of orchids such as the tiny whorled pogonia and the showy orchis • Forest wildlife includes white-tailed deer, wild turkey, raccoon, various songbirds and rare sightings of bobcat and black bear

History of the Area

The 63,000 acres of Shawnee State Forest and Shawnee State Park encompass a part of the former hunting grounds of the Shawnee Indians • Historians note that the Shawnee name means "those who have silver," as the tribe conducted considerable trade in this precious metal • A major Shawnee village, known as Lower Town, was located near the confluence of the Ohio and Scioto rivers • The Scioto River provided access to the heart of the Shawnee country in central and southern Ohio

The Ohio River was the gateway to frontier settlement in the Ohio region as well as for Indiana and Illinois • This expansive waterway, the Spaylawitheepi in Indian tongue, was the site of many confrontations between incoming pioneers and the Native Americans • The Shawnees monitored the influx of the white settlers from the line of ridges that overlooked the mighty Ohio River

During the 1700s, the Shawnee Indians were gradually displaced as the settlers continued to build their cabins and clear land in this new and fertile country • The face of the region changed a great deal in the years to come, but through effective timber management practices by the state's Division of Forestry, Shawnee State Forest has regained much of its original appearance • Similarly, resource conservation programs coupled with wise land use practices at Shawnee State Park have assured that this 1,168-acre recreational facility will continue to maintain its natural beauty

Lands were acquired for the park in 1922 and it was first operated as Theodore Roosevelt State Game Preserve • In the 1930s, six Civilian Conservation Corps camps were located in the area • It was at this time that many of the roads and lakes of the area were constructed • In 1949, with the creation of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Division of Parks and Recreation, the area became a state park and forest • The name was changed to Portsmouth State Park in the early 1970s, but has since been changed back to Shawnee State Park
Use our Portsmouth attractions planner to visit Shawnee State Park on your trip to Portsmouth, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Shawnee State Park reviews

TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
163 reviews
  • My husband and I did a day trip to the Shawnee State Park, near Portsmouth OH. We went to the fire tower, but it appears the rangers don't want anyone climbing up. We honored the "wet paint" sign... 
    My husband and I did a day trip to the Shawnee State Park, near Portsmouth OH. We went to the fire tower, but it appears the rangers don't want anyone climbing up. We honored the "wet paint" sign...  more »
  • Lots of activities and amenities. Went here to hike during fall color. Park is well maintained. Clean lakes, clean grounds, stinky portipotties: (, well-maintained trails. We came from out of town... 
    Lots of activities and amenities. Went here to hike during fall color. Park is well maintained. Clean lakes, clean grounds, stinky portipotties: (, well-maintained trails. We came from out of town...  more »
  • Beautiful area, great campground potential. That being said, a lot of the camping sites are poorly designed. One, they tend to be much smaller than the lengths listed on the reservation page. A lot... 
    Beautiful area, great campground potential. That being said, a lot of the camping sites are poorly designed. One, they tend to be much smaller than the lengths listed on the reservation page. A lot...  more »
  • We enjoyed a beautiful day at Shawnee State park in June. When approaching Turkey Creek Lake, I was met with an ethereal cloud of swallowtail butterflies, like being in a fluttering snow globe. We enjoyed our lunch at the lodge. Catfish with an excellent homemade tarter sauce. Check their website for catfish buffet dinners.
  • It's a large and beautiful park! We stayed in a cabin, which are very well-maintained even though they are older. The only part I can't in good faith recommend is the campground. It isn't open for the season yet, so we drove through to check it out. (We have a camper.) It's very tight, the slips are small and unlevel, and there is no full hook-up--only electric. But otherwise, I highly recommend this park!
  • Stayed in a cabin for 2 nights. Cabin was kinda dirty and icky... Not the cleanest and the beds were not comfortable. Website mentions "newly removed cabins"...I'm thinking renovation occurred maybe 10 years ago. However, we were impressed with the food and staff at the lodge. Everything was tasty and service was great!
  • The lakes, the campground, the lodge are all beautiful and a great getaway. The food could be better but you won't starve.
  • Great state park to visit to get away from the hustle of life. Fish at the lakes or creeks, lots of hiking trails or just set back and relax for a few days.

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