The wooded hills and scenic valleys of the Dillon area offer a picturesque setting for outdoor adventure. Whether boating the quiet coves and inlets of the lake or hiking the forest trails, Ohio's rural hill country provides an outstanding recreational experience at 2,285-acre Dillon State Park
Much of the history of the Dillon region can be attributed to the effects of transportation through the park. The Licking River provided transportation for Native Americans on their way to Flint Ridge where outcroppings of flint were found. In the Blackhand Gorge, carved by the Licking River, a sandstone cliff bore a soot blackened engraving of a human hand. This mysterious petroglyph is thought to have served as a guide marker for Indians searching for Flint Ridge. Specimens of Flint Ridge flint have been found as far east as the Atlantic seaboard, as far south as Louisiana and as far west as Kansas City.
Other methods of transportation affected the Dillon region. The Old National Road, just south of the park, was partly responsible for the establishment and growth of nearby Zanesville. The Ohio-Erie Canal followed the route of the Licking River for several miles and boosted trade and commerce to surrounding towns. An inter-urban railroad that connected Zanesville and Newark with Columbus passed through Blackhand Gorge. Steamboat traffic was busy through Zanesville on the Muskingum River.
In 1803, Moses Dillon purchased the land bordering the Licking River where the park is located. This industrious, early American built and operated a local iron foundry, founded the village of Dillon Falls and dammed the Licking River to provide water power for the community. Moses Dillon is probably most noted for his contributions toward the design and construction of the world-famous "Y" bridge in Zanesville.
Dillon Reservoir was constructed for flood control by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was completed in 1961. The park was dedicated in August 1968.
183 electric sites
12 non-electric sites
Showers, flush toilets and a dump station
Commissary with grocery items and laundromat is located near the check-in station
Free WiFi access is available at the Campground Store to registered campers
Pets are permitted on designated sites, check the campground map for locations
One youth group camp, reservations required
20 non-electric equestrian camp sites are available on a first-come, first served basis
The 1,560-acre lake allows unlimited horsepower boating. Two boat ramps provide access to the lake. The state park marina offers 95 docks for lease on a seasonal basis, as well as four overnight rental docks. Canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards are available for rent at the Campground Store.
Largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, saugeye, hybrid, striped bass and catfish are plentiful. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
Hunting is permitted in designated areas of the park and in the surrounding Dillon Wildlife area in season. A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
Built in September 2009 as Brenton Reed's Eagle Scout project, the archery range is located at the Sled Hill parking lot. 10-, 20-, 30-, and 40-yard targets as well as a 30-yard broad head target are available. Backstops are made from recycled plastic from Coconis Furniture.
The park’s Woodchuck Ridge disc golf is a 61 par 18 hole course with a variety of challenges for all experience levels. The course begins up the steps behind the campstore, loops near camp areas, and finishes back at the campstore. Maps, score sheets and rental discs are available, as well as discs for purchase at the store.
The course is free and open to the public due to the Eagle Scout project of Matt Tellez, the generosity of Boy Scout Troop 14, and donations by the Friends of Dillon State Park.
Two picnic areas complete with tables and grills are located at pleasant and scenic spots throughout the park. Shelterhouses are available: The Jim Dunn shelterhouse is "first come, first served;" two other shelterhouses (Beach and Big Run) can be reserved online or by calling (866) 644-6727. If not reserved, these shelterhouses also are available on first-come, first-served basis.
A 1,360-foot swimming beach is located near the park office. A wading pool is also available. Swimming is permitted in designated areas during daylight hours only. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach.
There are two restroom facilities in the beach area. A new ADA accessible facility is located near the wading pool.
A game area is adjacent to the beach offering a playground area as well as lighted courts for tennis, pickleball, volleyball and basketball.
Dillon Sportsman Center is a full-featured public shooting facility, located at 5200 Pleasant Valley Road in Nashport, OH. This facility includes a 100-yard outdoor rifle range, a 25-yard outdoor pistol range, firearms instruction, and regulation skeet and trap fields.
Seven trails traverse the park, giving visitors a chance to view a variety of landscapes. One multi-use trail allows hiking, biking and/or horseback riding
Paved: Black Locust Loop - .5 mi, easy
Bridle: 19 mi, wooded
Hiking: 8.9 mi, moderate
Mountain Biking: 18 mi, color-coded for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders
Some portions of trails are multi-use (allow hiking, biking, and/or horses). Prohibited activities ("no hikers", "no bikes" or "no horses") are marked.
Licking Bend - 4.4 mi, moderate
Blackberry Ridge - .6 mi, moderate
King Ridge Loop - 1 mi, moderate
Eagle Ridge Loop - .8 mi, moderate
Ruffed Grouse Loop - .6 mi, moderate
Bog Loop - 1 mi, easy
Under the proper conditions, park visitors can enjoy sledding at the Sled Hill.