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“Lake Hope Cabins - run....”

Lake Hope State Park
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in McArthur
Attraction details
Columbus, Ohio
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Lake Hope Cabins - run....”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 16, 2013

I enjoy the outdoors and cabins and have stayed at many. However, these were some of the worse but I'm sure some would have been fine with it. I am not a picky person. My husband and I decided to stay in one of the larger ones (long story there...) which sleeps 8 people. The place was very very worn. The furniture was very dirty and you couldn't help but wonder what all it had been through. Furniture very stained, dirty and worn. The paneling through out the place was worn and 12" up from the floor board the whole paneling has extremely worn. The flooring was so worn (very creaky) and so bad that you would definitely want some house slippers, floors all way worn. Not that big of deal but it felt like you were staying in a shack. Place was dark and old.

But, the even worse part of it was.....it felt like a "communion". The cabins are very close together (we were in number 30) and depending on which room you decide to sleep in ....there really isn't a lot of privacy. The outdoor fire pits are sort of in a communion circle so you can see and hear others that are really close. We were wanting a peaceful, sort of secluded, private anniversary celebration. We got to our cabin, stayed 15 minutes and ended up coming home.

The upside - great perhaps for younger folks looking for a large cheap place for people to hang out. Place sleeps 8 at $100+ per night. I guess you get what you pay for.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank outdoor girl a a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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94 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
57 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Do your homework with regard to cabin selection”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 15, 2013

I think there must be nicer cabins than the one we stayed in. Cabin 39 felt more like a tool shed or a fish camp..
The floors are bare, unfinished wood that cannot be cleaned,, therefore, they are dirty. You want to keep your shoes on. The air return for the air conditioner was choked with white lint? My husband took the screen off to clean it...didn't want to breathe that nasty air. There was mold in the shower also.
Maybe because we are an older couple, we don't camp or "rough it" so that may be why we didn't appreciate the cabin, but we have stayed at other Ohio State Park cabins and they have been excellent...that's why I believe there must be better cabins here.
On the Pro side,,, the lake was nice, the security was very visible and kept the area quiet and booze-free. Our neighbors had a birthday celebration and they had liquor bottles on the picnic table and security stopped (it was dark) and walked over to them and asked them to put the bottles out of sight. Also, the Lodge restaurant was excellent. The building is new and beautiful. The food was excellent. We had breakfast and dinner. The pulled pork was great.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank jessiejames_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Xenia, ohio
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Lake Hope State Park Campground”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2013

A beautiful location BUT....pros - hiking, beautiful surrounds, quiet. Cons - pit toilets, 10 mph speed limit not enforced (protect your children & pets), nature center and check in were closed until Thursday, site 39's description on line is not exactly accurate due to the damage of the asphalt we were not able to use the full length of the pad (If the park had used gravel to fill in the space, we would have had a better site.), most sites are not adequate for RVs, water through out the park but the faucets do not allow you to connect a hose to refill your RV when you are staying longer than a few days, buy your supplies before arriving (ice, firewood, food). Extremely disappointing state park campground.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank PRSXenia_ohio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterloo, Ontario
Level Contributor
26 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Our yearly visit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2013

We love the hand-feeding of the hummingbirds and watching the little birds enjoy our own feeders at our cabin. The lake is lovely for kayaking. The swimming tends to be a problem due to the algae bloom in the summer. Hiking and bird watching are highlights! (Don't miss the beavers slapping their tales at you when you go out on the lake!)

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Ronald R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Lake Hope State Park Campground”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 13, 2013

Some pics at: http://walkerinet.blogspot.com/p/review-lake-hope-state-park-campground.html

Don't let that rating fool you. I loved this palace. The campground is not "modern" but... If you want a more out of the way place, are ok with less than full hookups, and actually being in the country, then Lake Hope will not disappoint. Besides all the park has to offer the location serves as a good home base for activities in nearby Athens, Nelsonville, and McArthur.
Stay: 7/12--7/14, 2013
Site: 154
Would we stay there again: Heck yes!

For our second voyage out with the new camper we choose Lake Hope State Park. The criteria was sort of simple... I stayed there once as a kid tent camping and I wanted to go back. I also wanted to get a feel for how the camper works in a less than full hookup site. And... We wanted to take the kids to nearby Nelsonville to ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway.

So the "bad" news out of the way right up front. This is not exactly a modern campground. No cable, no wifi, no pull through sites, no full hookups, a lot of pit toilets, in fact you are in some serious wilderness (by Ohio standards) and even cell phone service was very spotty at best.

Some of the sites are small and spaced close together. I think this campground was built in the day of much smaller campers and our camper, while not the largest, is not small by any measure... I saw larger rigs than my 36 footer, but not very many. I completely admit that at this point I'm still very inexperienced at navigating but I can't imagine a setup much larger than ours being able to fit at many of the sites. The State's online reservation system seems a bit optimistic about just how large of a rig will fit in a given site. The size of the pad was accurate but just past the curb and end of the pad was a least a foot of drop. So be sure to have plenty of material on hand for under the stab jacks and leveling. The ground around the pad at my site was also eroded and once parked there was no asphalt visible on either side of my rig. We stepped off of our steps onto dirt - which might be mud in the rain. Many, many sites are steeply sloped in one direction, or the other, or both! Read the online descriptions of the sites carefully especially if you have a larger rig. In order for my camper to fit in the site I had to back the end of it up over the end of the asphalt pad. That still left the hood of my truck completely blocking one lane of the road. I could have parked barely off the road by parking my truck crosswise in front of the camper, but luckily there were several marked parking spaces about 30ft away for the playground and toilet that were rarely used and I kept the truck there.

Getting there... The good, the bad, and the scenic.
Heh. Again, if you are inexperienced and towing a large rig this drive will have your attention. Luckily my hitch setup and truck both seemed up to the task. Slow and easy wins the race no matter which route you choose. There is no way to approach the park on flat straight roads (LOL) but its not like the Rockies would be or even the Smoky's... I will say that if you are coming in from the North don't go all the way to Nelsonville on 33E to get to 278. I think that approach is probably the hardest. The easiest approach from the North (IMHO) is 33E-->328S-->56E-->278S. Once in the park the signs are fairly clear and easy to navigate. The entrance to the camping area is a fairly twisty climbing two lane road up to the check in/registration/shower house. When we arrived I stopped to register and the attendant said I was good to just go straight to my site. She then directed me just a few feet up the way to the fresh water fill, which is directly across from the dump if you also need to empty your tanks on the way in. The road continues as a two lane paved road for a good deal of the way into the campground. The roads on some of the side areas are much more narrow. Signs warn of sharp, tight turnarounds. Pay serious heed if you have a very long rig. My site (154) we picked because we fit (mostly), it was close to the playground, and as best as I could tell using Google Earth it would not be impossible for me to park (Drivers side back in).

As luck will have it, and as a testament to how friendly campers are... As I pulled up past the site and sent my wife out on her "make sure I don't hit anything duty" - one of the guys in the campsite next to us jumps up out of his chair, walks over to my wife and says "I drive a Semi Truck for a living, want me to help him park?"

My wife - knowing a good deal when she sees one said yes, and this guy gave me expert direction and had me dead center of the pad and ready to level in less than 90 seconds, 60 of those seconds were me trying to remember which way to cut the wheel! LOL. Very friendly folks and I very much appreciated the help. He must have known not to try to give "too much" help because once I was parked and leveled he went back to his camp and allowed the wife and I to get the rest of the way unhitched and set up. Again much appreciated help. They were a friendly group. Several tounge in cheek jokes about our version of roughing it... Great folks to be next to for a weekend, lots of laughter and fun loving, but by 10PM, the whole place got very, very, very quiet. Marred only by the occasional running of my AC... Sorry tent folks. Roughing it for me no longer includes trying to sleep in 100 percent humidity. ;)

It is what it is... Everything worked as it should. The electric post was tilted over at a pretty odd angle but tested ok and worked without issues. Never noticed any power related issues.

Our site sat directly next to a set of pit type toilets. Frankly speaking. If the wind was right you could smell the smell of Pinesol or something like that and nothing offensive. Clean for what they are and no problem.

There was a playground for the kids that was newer equipment in good condition, nicely mulched. The kids loved it and spent a lot of time there. Very nice to have right there!

Also located nearby were both fresh water fountains/faucets and grey dump basins which made me feel a lot better since this was our first time without full hook ups.

Shower facilities are located at either end of the campground. One at the check in station along with a ice and soda machine, the one at the other end of the camp is more modern and includes laundry if you have need.

Several hiking and biking trails are directly accessible from the camp. We didn't get the chance to try any of these out on our short trip.

Not located in the camp, and sadly not very close to it either, is the parks new dining lodge. This lodge replaced an older building that burned. Just opened last November according to the staff. The Lodge is not to be missed - even if you don't want to eat there, go just to check out the excellent view of the lake.

It is a beautiful modern facility that fits in well with it surroundings, the food is great, the prices are reasonable, and there are great views of the lake and dam as well as a small gift shop if you have the need. It's too bad that its not within easy walking distance of the camp. But make a visit if you can. It is worth a short visit at least - very well done.

Also at the entrance to the camp is a nature center which offers an outdoor theater and various programs such as "Hand Feeding Humming Birds" in progress while we were there. Sadly with small kids and their attention spans being what they are I figured it would not end well so we did not participate.

After so much rain in recent weeks we were also not able to get up close to the Hope Furnace from which the park gets its name. It's on the list for our next visit.
There is a beach for swimming, benches for just hanging out at the dam, a picnic area, boat launch, boat rentals if you have a interest in these activities as well as the afore mentioned hiking and biking trails. One hike on my list to take someday is to the nearby "Moonville" tunnel.

In short. We had a blast! I loved that the park is sort of out of the way and does not seem as ever crowded as say Old Mans Cave. The sky is fairly free of city light pollution and the stars are stunning on a clear night. At least when we were there it was quiet after 10PM and the people and staff we encountered were friendly. We will be back for sure.

We didn't scratch the surface of Lake Hope but we made some great memories.. The kids got their first go at fishing for real... For the five minutes that it lasted. Heheh. But overall - you know you've done something right when the kids never once ask for electronics and actually volunteer to go to bed! We spent a good deal of our time on Saturday visiting the Railway which ate into our park time but the kids enjoyed the train.

Visited July 2013
6 Thank Mike W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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