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“Melting, cracking ice on the lake sounded like Star Wars weapons...”

Salt Fork State Park
Ranked #1 of 10 things to do in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The 20,000 acres of Ohio's largest state park include a 3,000-acre lake and a 2,500-foot beach.
Level Contributor
38 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Melting, cracking ice on the lake sounded like Star Wars weapons...”
Reviewed February 21, 2011

My husband and I recently spent a couple of nights at the Salt Fork State Park Lodge and a couple of days hiking the park trails. We picked the park as a good halfway spot to meet some Maryland relatives and were pleasantly surprised to find plenty to entertain us outdoors and in, despite the time of year. The lodge room was spacious and comfortable with a small fridge - clean, nice mattress/ pillows, and a balcony view of the woods. The lodge staff were all pleasant and helpful - "And how is your stay going?" they asked often with a smile - nice; the dining room food was tasty and reasonably priced. We did not use the large indoor pool and hot tub, the game room, or the numerous couches and rockers gathered near fireplaces and lake-view windows, but lots of others did.

The first morning we picked up a free trail map at the desk and set off for the short Hosak's cave trail - an easy climb (despite some ice) to a cave created by a waterfall - pretty neat. Our next trail was the almost two mile Stone House Loop to see the early 1800's stone house converted to historic attraction. While it was not open due to the time of year, you could see the historic rooms through the windows, wander the yard to enjoy the lake overlook, and go inside the original root cellar. There's a nearby boat dock for those who prefer less walking (when the lake isn't mostly frozen!). We also walked downhill from the lodge to explore the lakefront cottage area - all cottages have wonderful lakeviews, small yards, grills, and boat docks nearby - a nice option in warmer weather.

The second day hiking was the best. We set off east of the lodge and south of the horse camp to hike several trails meandering between the edge of the lake and the woods. Coming near the lake, my husband couldn't resist the urge to throw a few stones into the water and try to break the thinner ice at lake's edge. The stones easily popped through the crust of ice and clunked satisfyingly into the water. After a few throws, we were both frozen in place by noise - it started as a rolling rush of sound like far off traffic, followed by a pinging and cracking echoed from far across the ice. The final noise I can only describe as the sound of an alien gun battle, like the tasers in an old Star Wars movie. My husband was mesmerized and had to recreate the noise numerous times before we could continue.

Later, we drove into nearby Wheeling, West Virginia to try our luck at the casino. I left with my $20 transformed into $56, so I had a grand time. The buffett there was crowded but great food for an $18 all-you-can-eat spot.

When the weather is warmer, there are many more things to do nearby - the Wilds (10,000 open acres of endangered species), Cambridge Glass Museum & local glass blowers, a scenic railway, many historic Guernsey County attractions - check out guernseycounty.com. We will definitely return to try them out.

Visited February 2011
3 Thank dneumann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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191 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Leesburg, Fl
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“So Much To Do”
Reviewed September 21, 2010

This state park is one of the best we have stayed in. We travel in a 40' RV and have been all over the US. This park has so many things to do; hike on the many well marked trails, kayak/canoe/boat on the huge lake, bike the gentle rolling roads, swim in lake or pool, play golf on Golf Digest rated course, ride your horse on the trails while you stay in the equestrian area or stay in the lodge and have your meals at the restaurant. We did some hiking, had dinner at the lodge and played golf. If we had known a head of time how nice the campground and amenities were we would have planned a longer stay.

5 Thank gouldam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Very Dissapointed”
Reviewed September 3, 2010

We just visited for our 45th Anniversary and rented a cabin. We called the front desk before leaving to see if our cabin was ready or could check in early and the lady that answered the phone was very short with me and said check in is 4:30. You will have to call back today and I said it is today and she just repeated check in is 4:30. We went down anyway and must have gotten the same girl we went got there as she said the same thing and would not even check to see. We walked around awhile and went back to make sure we could check in after going to Mass at 5. It was between 1 and 2. This time got a nice guy who checked right away and said it was ready now. The cabin was nice but shower was full of mold and coffee pot was very dirty. The trails left a lot to be diesired as they were hard to navigate with being blocked by trees and weeds. We walked to the Stone House and the husband and wife there were probably the nicest people that explained the house history and were more than helpful. Also going into the lodge gift shop very nice girl who waited on us. We thought we would have a special dinner in the lodge on our Anniversary. The waitress started out nice and ended up being very rude putting our bill down before we were even half done and asking if we wanted desert. She came back to see if it was ready shortly after. We had a Visa $25 gift card and were going to put the rest on debit card and told her this. She came back and said the gift card was declined twice and tried to show her the receipt which she said made no difference and did we want to put it all on our debit card. I was very upset at this point and called about the gift card and she tried to put it through twice for the whole amount which you cannot do. I complained the next day and had a note to go to the desk and all they said was we could use the Visa toward our room. The windows in the dining room and cabin were very dirty and looked they had not been cleaned in along time. The food was good though but will not go back. We went into Cambirdge and visited shops which were very nice and very friendly people.

4 Thank nascar17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shaker Heights, OH
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Great Family Place - rooms are tired”
Reviewed August 7, 2010

We spent a long weekend at Salt Fork. We were told that the room we were being given was the NICEST in the entire property. Because we had booked at the last minute, we realized we would be paying a bit more. Our room per night was nearly $200. For that price, we were expecting something on the level of a marriot. We were suprised as the room was more like a tired motel 6. It was a very large room, but it had a dated walpaper border around the ceiling, the tile in the bathroom which was new and khaki(and nice) did not match the pink linoleum countertop. The room itself was fairly clean. The carpeting had seen better days...The room also had a sliding glass door to a lovely outdoor deck overlooking the woods. Sitting on the deck was amazing. The cleaning staff might want to consider cleaning the sliding glass doors as it looked as though it had been a few years since they had seen any windex :). There are a TON of activities - all of which are staffed by friendly employees. We took a 1 hour pontoon boat ride with our 2 yr old - and it was only $7/person. We also did the "build a friend" (which is like build a bear but much more reasonable), there was tie dye t-shirt making, an indoor and outdoor pool (both of which were nice) paint ball, archery, cupcake decorating, make your own sundae and the list went on and on. We brought out bikes and burley but there arent any dedicated bike trails so we rode on the road.

We definitely liked all the amenities, we will go back and will book in advance so we can take advantage of the specials offered by the lodge. Because there is a frig in most rooms, i would suggest bringing breakfast/lunch food. When we wanted dinner off the resort we headed to the Forum which had incredible food and terrific service.

All in all a wonderful experience, you just need to set your expectations at a lower level (for the hotel rooms and price) than what you would expect.

3 Thank bkath2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
77 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“A real disappointment”
Reviewed January 13, 2010

The lodge could use a thorough cleaning thoroughout and a few repairs; the staff could benefit from a course in Customer Service. Reservations were difficult to make; food was good, but service was uneven and at times totally absent; people in nearby rooms were smoking despite the No Smoking policy and the management seemed unconcerned; hiking trails were difficult to find on the map provided by the lodge. Not a place to go if you want a quiet and/or romantic getaway - lots of families with rowdy kids.

Thank cless
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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