Dillon Lake Zanesville, OH
The Dillon State Park hosts this popular 1,376-acre lake and offers numerous opportunities to enjoy the great out-of-doors. Bicyclists travel the campground and area roads or hit the mountain bike trails. There is unlimited horsepower on the water and water sports like skiing, sailing, pleasure boating and fishing are popular. There’s no shortage of things to do on Dillon Lake.
Dillon Lake is six miles northwest of Zanesville in Muskingum County and was impounded in 1958. Access to the area is by State Route 146 on Dillon Dam Road via State Routes 16 and 586 from the north and Interstate 70 and U.S. Route 40 from the south.
The state park campground is one of the more popular things to do here. It offers 183 electric and 12 primitive sites. Campers have easy access to flush toilets, showers, dump station, Laundromat, camp store, and youth camp area. Pets are allowed on designated sites.
The state park also offers your choice of 29 cottages overlooking the lake in a wooded area. Amenities include an all-electric kitchen, utensils, cable television, linens, towels, two bedrooms, air conditioning, gas heat, screened porches, and in one cottage handicapped accessibility. Pets are permitted in some cottages.
Day use of the lake’s overlooked surrounding land areas includes several activities. Marked trails lay out the landscape for hikers. Equestrian riders can travel the specially designated horseback trails. Bird watching with a good pair of binoculars is frequently productive and picnic shelters are available to keep the rain from spoiling your outing.
The extensive trail system has something for everyone. Bridle trails alone stretch for 15 miles. Hiking trails include a moderately difficult ¾ mile trail and a handicapped accessible half-mile trail. Mountain bikers willing to risk life and limb have 12 miles of bike trails to enjoy. Multi-use trails extend for nearly 10 miles.
The Visitor’s Center near the dam has solid information on the lake’s flood management program, history and area wildlife.
The lake’s 1,360-foot swimming beach is a beauty but no lifeguards or staff are on site. In the same area is a child’s wading pool and games such as lighted basketball and tennis courts and volleyball.
Shooters enjoy the lighted skeet and trap fields, 100-yard rifle and 25-yard pistol ranges with tables and shelters on the Sportsmen’s Area.
Seven day-use picnic areas are furnished with grills and tables. Two picnic shelters can be reserved while the Jim Dunn shelter is available only on a first come, first served basis.
The Woodchuck Ridge Disc Golf 9-hole course is located behind the campground store. If you prefer archery then check out the designated range with distances ranging from 10 to 40 yards.
Fishing is good for largemouth bass, panfish, channel cats, hybrid stripers and saugeyes.
Fisheries biologists found that nearly half the bass sampled during the last Ohio Division of Wildlife’s electrofishing survey were at least 12 inches long. Fourteen percent of the bassm topped the 15 inch mark.
Crappies are slab-sized and great sport on light fishing gear. The ODOW fish survey showed that 64 percent of the white crappie population was eight inches or longer and of these fish, 23 percent were at least 10 inches. Bluegills and orange spotted sunfish round out the panfish offerings.
Dillon is a great channel catfish lake. Over 10 percent of the fish are at least 16 inches in length.
The hybrid striped bass are 12 inches long and eight percent have reached 15 inch mark.
Anglers occasionally hook one of Dillon’s toothy muskies. Being unprepared for the fight a muskie will give you by using light gear generally results in snapped line and strained reels.
Water levels fluctuate quickly and drastically during heavy rains. Two launch areas are open to the public.
Hunting is another way to enjoy the lake area. Whitetail deer, turkey and grouse hunting are available on the Dillon Wildlife Area but prohibited in the state park. Duck hunting is allowed on the lake.
History buffs are fascinated by the Nashport Mound. The area’s earlier inhabitants were the Adenas who are believed to have resided in the area from approximately 1000 BC to 4000 AD. The mound is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Other points of interest include the National Road/Zane Grey Museum in Norwich or an outing on the Lorena Sternwheeler docked at the Zane Landing Park.
Visitors to the park need to know that dock services, boat rentals and supplies are now available at the state park camp store. The old marina structure was torn down due to being in poor condition. The old snack bar and shower house have met the same fate as the marina and are no longer in existence.
Call the Dillon State Park at (740)453-4377 for additional information. Call the U.S. Corps of Engineers recorded message at (740)454-6137 for current lake conditions. For information on the Sportsmen’s Area call (740)452-3529.