West Branch State Park's large 2,650-acre lake with its many forks and coves is extremely popular with fishermen, boaters and swimmers. The park's 5,379-acres of meadows and woodlots provide an excellent backdrop for camping, hiking and horseback riding.
West Branch State Park is located on the west branch of the Mahoning River in Portage County. The river was named for the Delaware Tribe word mahonink meaning "at the salt lick." In early days, a salt works was located southeast of present-day Warren along the river. The salt, which attracted a variety of wildlife, was harvested by Indians and early settlers.
At the west end of the park is a crossroads known as Campbellsport, named for Captain John Campbell who mustered militia for the War of 1812 at the site and then marched them on Cleveland. Captain Campbell originally came to the area in 1805 as a surveyor and land agent for proprietor Samuel Hinckley. Captain Campbell also served as Portage County sheriff from 1810 to 1813. He constructed what is said to be the oldest brick land-office building in Ohio (circa 1810). Prior to the flooding of the reservoir, this building was moved to a site at the Portage County Historical Society where it has been preserved and restored.
In 1965, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed construction of the Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir. The reservoir was developed for flood control, water supply, recreation and fish and wildlife management. West Branch State Park was formally opened surrounding the reservoir in 1966.
29 full service sites
155 sites with 50-amp electric hook-up
14 non-electric sites
Pets are permitted at all sites
Heated showers, flush toilets, laundry facilities and a trailer dump station
Small beach and boat launch in campground. Some lakeside sites offer carry-in boating access.
Campground office loans games and sporting equipment to registered campers
Group camping; 3 group camping area are available, two with electricity, one primitive, for organizations of up to 25 people
Winter camping usually occurs from November into April each year.
The 2,650-acre lake is designated for unlimited horsepower. A no-wake zone extends 300 feet from all shorelines. The entire area west of Rock Spring Road causeway is also a no-wake zone.
Boat rentals, gasoline and supplies are available at the marina.
Five launch ramps provide access to the lake, one within the campground. Dock are rented seasonally. Dock 9 is wheelchair accessible. A life jacket loaner board is found at the west boat ramp.
There are two boat swimming areas. They are located in Silver Creek Bay, southwest of the beach, and Jay Lake, across from the campground boat ramp.
An 18-hole disc golf course is available near the beach and a 9-hole course can be found in the campground area. Discs and bags can be rented at the camp office with a $20 refundable deposit. There are concrete pads at each tee.
Year-round fishing at West Branch offers large and smallmouth bass, walleye, crappie, bluegill, catfish and trophy-class muskellunge. Fishing access is available at three paved and two gravel launch areas as well as numerous shoreline access points. A wheelchair-accessible fishing pier is located by the marina. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
The park is open for hunting, in season, with small game, waterfowl and deer being most common.
The northeastern section of the park, bound on the west by Rock Spring Road and on the south by the lakeshore, is closed to hunting. This no-hunting area includes the park office, camp area, horse camp, picnic areas, beach, marina, dam and East Boat Ramp. A 400-foot no hunting/safety zone extends from all other developed facilities.
Hunting is limited to shotguns and primitive implements for most game.
Target shooting is prohibited.
A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
Six non-electric picnic areas are situated in scenic locations around the lake, plus six shelterhouses are available by reservation online, or by calling (866) 644-6727.
The park features a 700-foot sand beach. A beach house has restrooms with changing booths, a snack vending area and outside showers. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are NOT allowed on swimming beaches.
The park features more than 14 miles of hiking trails. A portion of the state's Buckeye Trail passes through the park and is linked to the campground by a 2-mile spur trail.
Bridle Trails (seasonal)
Twenty miles of bridle trails traverse woodlands and meadows. Riders must provide their own horses.
Mountain Biking Trails (seasonal)
Mountain biking is permitted on snowmobile trails and designated single track trail. After leaving the parking area and riding up to Cable Line Road there are six loops that provide approximately 12 miles of single track and double track.
Under the proper winter conditions, park guests can enjoy cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and ice boating. In addition, extensive snowmobile trails start at the west boat ramp.