A small, quiet park nestled in beautiful 9,000-acre Scioto Trail State Forest, this 218-acre state park is an undisturbed wooded refuge just south of Chillicothe.
The ridgetops and winding forest roads offer breathtaking vistas of the Scioto River Valley. The beauty and remoteness of Scioto Trail offers the best of escapes to park visitors.
Scioto Trail State Park is nestled in an area rich with reminders of Ohio's prehistoric peoples. These Mound Builders left extensive earthworks throughout the Scioto River Valley and its tributaries. Serpent Mound, in northeastern Adams County, is a 1,000-foot snake effigy mound built by the Adenas. Other smaller Adena mounds exist in Ross County. The Adena culture is named after the estate of early Ohio statesman Thomas Worthington. Adena, near Chillicothe, was the site of the first mound excavation attributed to these prehistoric people.
Other extensive earthworks exist north of Chillicothe on the Scioto floodplain. Mound City is attributed to a more advanced culture called the Hopewells. Other Hopewell mounds in the Scioto Trail region are Seip Mound, Spruce Hill and Fort Hill. The importance of the Scioto River to the early development of Ohio carried through from these prehistoric peoples to the Shawnee and first pioneer settlers.
The Shawnee utilized the river as their primary means of transportation from one village to another. The Scioto Trail was an Indian trail that followed the Scioto River from northern Ohio to the Kentucky hunting grounds. The trail was later used by settlers who came upriver from Portsmouth to the first capital of Ohio--Chillicothe. There is a replica of the first church in the area, Chillicothe's First Presbyterian, in Caldwell Lake Hollow. This plain log structure gives testimony to the simple lifestyle of early Ohioans.
The first European settlers came to the area in the 1790s. In 1796, General Nathaniel Massie and a small group of settlers started the town of Chillicothe. Many of these first Ohioans were veterans of the Revolutionary War. The land west of the Scioto River and east of the Little Miami River was set aside for Virginia veterans of the Revolution. Land allotments were based on time served and rank of these soldiers.
Initial purchases of land for the park and forest began in 1922. Most of the major development took place in the 1930s during the original Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) days. They constructed most of the roads, lakes and the original recreational facilities.