Web Content Viewer
Actions
Winter at Ohio State Parks
Snowy trees near a lake
Winter at Ohio State Parks
Ohio State Parks are open year-round, and offer a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities in winter when conditions permit.

Try one of our popular guided winter hikes, or strike out on your own. Check with the park to make sure conditions are favorable for your activity. Be sure to take extra caution on the ice! No ice is safe ice.

Winter Activities

Check the calendar of events for a variety of special events and activities that provide an outstanding opportunity to enjoy winter scenery and stay active.

Cross-country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is permitted on multiple-use trails at the following parks:

Special Notes
  • Trails are not groomed.
  • If conditions permit, many parks may also allow cross-country skiing where there are expanses of open areas such as picnic areas, shoreline areas and golf courses.
  • Skiers must provide their own equipment.

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is allowed on designated trails at the following parks:

Snowmobiling and ATVs are permitted on these lakes when ice conditions are suitable:

Special Notes
  • Hours of operation are 6am to 11pm.
  • Operate at your own risk.
  • Snowmobiles/ATVs must be registered with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent state bureau for out-of-state park visitors).
  • Children under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult, and youth ages 12 to 15 must be closely supervised by an adult when operating in Ohio State Parks.
  • Snowmobiles/ATVs are permitted on frozen lake surfaces in designated areas when posted.
  • There is no such thing as safe ice. Lakes may be under active water management, which may result in cracking, open water, or weak spots in the ice.

Sledding

Sledding hills are offered at the following state parks:

Special Notes
  • Come prepared for cold weather, and be sure the path ahead of you is clear before taking the plunge.

Ice Skating

Ice skating on small ponds or outdoor rinks is available at the following parks:

Special Notes
  • Many state park lakes also accommodate ice skaters when conditions permit.
  • If you skate on a state park lake, stay near the shoreline, and be on the lookout for open or thin ice.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is permitted at the following state parks:

Special Notes
  • Ice fishing holes are limited to 12 inches in diameter.
  • Temporary ice fishing shelters must display the owner's name and address.
  • Check with the park office on the condition of the ice and any restrictions.

Ice Boating

Ice boating is permitted on designated areas when the lake has been posted for ice boating at the following parks:

Special Notes
  • Ice boating hours are limited to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Check with the park office on the condition of the ice and any restrictions.

Important Information

Enjoy Winter Fun Safely

Come prepared, be aware, and know when to go indoors.

  • Dress warmly in layers, keep your head, neck and hands covered, and wear waterproof boots.
  • Wear wool or quick-drying synthetic fabrics.
  • Drink water to prevent dehydration, and avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Be alert for symptoms of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, drowsiness, slow or slurred speech, memory lapses, or clumsiness.

Winter Ice Safety: There is no such thing as Safe Ice!

A minimum of five inches of ice is recommended for safe enjoyment of ice skating, ice fishing, ice boating and snowmobiling on state park lakes. However, even if the ice is several inches thick, ice-covered water is never completely safe. Thick ice can be weakened by thawing and refreezing, and pockets of air can form under the ice on lakes where the water levels are raised and lowered for flood control.

Never venture onto the ice alone, and follow these ice safety practices:

  • Let someone know when you will be on the ice and when you will return.
  • Wear a life jacket or float coat.
  • Carry two screwdrivers, ice picks, or large nails to help gain a firm grip, should you have to pull yourself out of the water.
  • Avoid areas of thin ice or open water.

Be aware and know how to respond

If you feel the ice begin to crack beneath you, follow these steps:

  • Do not run.
  • Lie on your stomach and spread your arms and legs (like an airplane).
  • Stretch your arms over your head and bring them together.
  • Bring your legs together and slither like a snake away from the crack. Do not bend your knees or elbows.
  • Roll to safety.

If someone has fallen through the ice:

  • Do not go onto the ice - if it broke once, it will break again.
  • Call for help.
  • Tell the victim to hold their hands close to their face and breathe into their hands.
  • Toss them something that floats (try a cooler, or empty plastic bottle).
  • Encourage them to use car keys, a pen, or other object in their pocket to begin to pull themselves onto the ice.

If the victim is close enough to shore, you can help pull them in:

  • Kneel or lie face down on solid ground.
  • Extend whatever you can find - a stick, fishing pole, rope, twirled blanket, coats tied together or jumper cables.