STROUDS RUN STATE PARK
STROUDS RUN STATE PARK
11661 State Park Rd
Athens, Ohio 45701-9781
Phone: (740) 384-4474
Acres of uninterrupted hardwood forest sprawl over the many hills and coves of Strouds Run State Park. The rugged terrain and scenic lake provide visitors a unique wilderness escape in southeastern Ohio.
Strouds Run State Park is located in the scenic forested hills of Athens County, in the midst of the unglaciated Appalachian Plateau. Although untouched by the vast ice sheets that moved across portions of the state over 12,000 years ago, the effects of the glaciers can be seen today in the deep ravines and high hills of Strouds Run. Stream valleys served as outlets for torrents of glacial meltwaters. The erosion power of these waters began carving valleys and hillsides into the familiar topography Ohioans know today. Large deposits of glacial outwash, primarily sand and gravel, were deposited along these streams and strongly affected the type of biological communities present today at the park.
Sandstone, the principal bedrock outcropping in the region, is very resistant to erosion and forms the uplands and steep sides of the valleys. Twisting roads and forest trails pass through these deep ravines and lead to dense stands of beech, hickory, oak, maple and tuliptree. Seasonal displays are offered by flowering dogwood, redbud and spring wildflowers--with fall presenting a pageant of colorful foliage. These woods are home to white-tailed deer, fox, raccoon, opossum, squirrel, wild turkey and a variety of songbirds. Woodthrush, white-breasted nuthatch, scarlet tanager, pileated woodpecker and the rufous-sided towhee inhabit the forest canopy. These rugged hills and woodlands are truly reminiscent of the wilderness that characterized the Ohio country in the days of early settlers.
Several mounds and ancient fortifications were found in this area by early settlers telling us that the Adena Indians once lived here. In more recent history, this was home to the powerful Shawnee Nation until the Treaty of Greenville forced them to abandon their lands in southern Ohio.
The first settlers arrived in the Athens County region in 1796. Two townships of land in the area had been apportioned by the Ohio Company in 1795 for the benefit of a university. Settlers were encouraged to settle on these college lands so as to make them attractive, productive and to form a fund for the institution.
This venture led to the founding of the town of Athens and Ohio University, the first college in the Northwest Territory. Settlers came by way of flatboats from Marietta down the Ohio and up the Hocking River to an attractive bluff where the town of Athens is now located.
With the discovery of rich coal fields in the area, Athens County soon developed into one of the leading coal producers in the state. The Hocking Canal and railroads provided easy means for shipping coal to distant markets. Clay tile, brick and salt were other industries that brought prosperity to the area.
The park derives its name from the Strouds family who settled in the area in the early 1800s. The land was purchased by the state for forest conservation purposes from 1948 to 1953. The dam creating Dow Lake was completed in 1960. The lake bears the name of C.L. Dow of Ohio University who was instrumental in initiating the project.