Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area contains a 143 acre lake, two campgrounds, picnic areas, group camping, fishing, boating, hiking and an archery trail. It is named for the historic Vesuvius Iron Furnace and is the Wayne National Forest's premier developed site. This complex is located 6.5 miles north of Ironton, just off State Route 93.
The historic Iron Furnace is located at the base of the dam. In 1939 the narrows of Storms Creek offered a site for this lake, which were dammed by the Civilian Conservation Corp. The rugged hills and out-cropping cliffs provide a scenic backdrop for this historical and beautiful site. The site offers a variety of opportunities for outdoor activities. A variety of trails are offered.
At a Glance
The day use picnic areas, boat dock and hiking trail are open year-round. Camping, picnic shelters, and beach are closed during the winter.
Reservations for camping in the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area (Oak Hill and Iron Ridge Campgrounds) can be made by visiting https://www.recreation.gov/ .
Rentals & Guides:
Kountry Kayaks is a local vendor who has a Forest Service Outfitter Guide Permit to rent canoes and kayaks from May through September at the Lake Vesuvius Boat Ramp. Contact this vendor for more information.
Year-round (Portions closed seasonally)
Only boats with electric motors are allowed on Lake Vesuvius.
Flush (Furnace Area: Apr-Oct) and Vault at Boat Ramp (Year-round)
Ironton Ranger District, 6518 SR 93, Pedro, OH 740-534-6500
Directions: Located 6.5 miles north of Ironton, Ohio, just off State Route 93. Turn on County Road 29 and follow the signs to the Recreation Area (1 mile). GPS Lat/Long coordinates for the area are 38 deg 36' 38" / 82 deg 38' 06".
This area is scenic for many reasons. It's topography lends itself to panoramic views from the roads, trails, and overlooks. The lake is a beautiful backdrop to the forested rolling hills and the furnace and historic Civilian Conservation Corps era buildings lend an air of nostalgia to the site. There is even the famous "Indian head" rock near the entrance - which is a giant rock formation which looks like the profile of a Native American overlooking the lake.
lake, furnace, Indian head rock, dam, boardwalk
Areas for Viewing Scenery at Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area
This large lake nestled in the wooded hills is encircled by over 25 miles of hiking trails. These trails travel through some of the most striking landscapes that Ohio has to offer with a variety of vegetation and spectacular array of spring wild flowers and fall color.
Interpretive hikes are given as part of the nature center programing on plants
Various upland and bottomland species.
This large lake nestled in the wooded hills is encircled by over 25 miles of hiking trails. These trails travel through some of the most striking landscapes that Ohio has to offer with a variety of vegetation, rock outcrops, and many species of wildlife.
Interpretive programs are occasionally given on wildlife viewing
Woodland songbirds, deer, beaver, and turkey are commonly seen. Soaring above the lakes or perched in shoreline trees you may also see hawks and osprey.
Areas for Viewing Wildlife at Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area
This area has a 1/2-mile barrier free archery trail with 18 field targets, more may be added in 2009. Each site has 2-D and 3-D targets. It is located across from the boat ramp at Lake Vesuvius. The project has been possible due to funding by the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the contribution of hundreds of volunteer hours donated by many local organizations and individuals who have assisted with installing trail bridges, shooting targets and signs, brushed trails, and built fence. The fee-free walking archery trail is approx. 0.5 mile set in a natural wooded environment. An additional eight shooting lanes are being constructed that will be fully ADA compliant.
Hours of Operation:
sunrise to sunset
Areas for Target Shooting at Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area
During the summer months the nature center is open at the recreation area and staffed in partnership with Ohio University Southern Campus. Various programs are offered to visitors. A schedule is posted at the recreation site and on the website.
There are two picnic shelters at the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area.
Areas for Group Picnicking at Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area
The Big Bend Beach is closed till summer 2012 due to road landslides. Once opened in 2012, the beach area has a bath house and offers swimming opportunities in season. No life guards are present but the site has picnic tables, sand, and is an enjoyable place to spend an afternoon in the water.
$3 for parking
Areas for Swimming at Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area