Lake Hope State Park
"There is only one way to tackle life, enjoy a day at the beach, and jump into a Great lake: Headfirst!" ~ Viola Shipman
LAKE HOPE STATE PARK - PENINSULA TRAIL
Lake Hope State Park is a large park that sits in Zaleski State Forest. In 1937, Lake Hope Forest Park was formed by the Division of Forestry. In 1949, the same year that The Division of Parks and Recreation was created, Lake Hope Forest Park became Lake Hope State Park. The Park was named after the original mining village, Hope. The town was flooded and now stands under the lake.
Lake Hope State Park consists of 2983 acres. There are over 17 miles of hiking trails and multi-use trails. The park also has a dining lodge, swimming, boating and camping.
There are many trails located throughout the park. You cannot find all of these on Google Maps. So we have tried to get you as close to the trailheads as possible. Click on the link to find the trails on Google Maps.
7 Hiking Trails:
Habron Hollow 1.5 Miles
White Oak .25 Mile
Buzzard Cave .5 Mile
Greenbriar .5 Mile
Peninsula 3 Mile
Olds Hollow 1.5 Mile
Hope Furnace 3.2 Mile
There are 8 Bike Trails
Copperhead 7.2 Miles
Little Sandy 4.5 Miles
Wildcat 3.5 Miles
Slidewinder 2.5 Miles
Yosemite Falls 3.5 Miles (Located off Copperhead)
Yosemite 1.5 Miles (Between Copperhead and Bobcat)
Bobcat 2 Miles
Red Oak .5 Mile
THE PENINSULA TRAIL
The Peninsula Trailhead parking area is very small and gravel. There is only enough room for around 6 to 8 vehicles. There are no ADA parking spots.
You can either enter the trailhead at the parking lot and head left, or cross the road and enter on the other side. The trail is completely natural. The first half of the trail is well-kept and for the most part an easy to moderate walk. There are some ups and downs, but they are right up and back down, not too difficult to deal with.
Walking close to the water was a nice feature. However, there was no space along the path that had a clear view of the lake. There were a few areas where you could walk down to get a better view. You were able to see boaters, plenty of wildlife, and tons of water lilies.
After the first half of the walk, near the end of the lake, the trail gets quite a bit narrower. In certain areas, you will have to push the growth out of your way. These patches of growth go on for quite a distance.
After reaching the split, near the Hope Iron Furnace, the trail got steep. It continued to go up and up. You are walking through a small ravine area, and it is cool and calming. And there is no cell service.
The trail comes out on the other side of Park Road about 300’ away.
Lake Hope is 120 acres. Boating is allowed on the lake. No gas motors are allowed. You can rent canoes and rowboats from mid-May through October.
Swimming is also permitted on the lake. The beach is located near the dam. There is a bathhouse with restrooms and a concession building.
YELLOW LADY'S SLIPPER
The Yellow Lady’s Slipper can be found secluded in the hollows of the park. This beautiful, native orchid is one of the rarest orchards.
Another park that you can see the Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchard bloom is Clear Creek Metro Park. This flower is protected by a metal enclosure to protect it from deer (and of course people). If you want to see this flower in bloom, you can find it on the Cemetery Ridge Trail. You can find more information about that trail by clicking HERE.
HISTORICAL KEETON CEMETERY
Just up the road from the Peninsula Trail is an old Cemetery. This is an interesting stop in the park. The Keeton Cemetery is a small cemetery that has very old graves as well as a few newer ones.
There are some old tombstones that have been broken and need to be repaired. If you know anyone that goes into old cemeteries and cleans and fixes stones, this one needs a little help. There are also a few gravestones propped up against a tree. You can see where the graves are next to the tree. However, these poor people no longer have a marker. I hope that someone took the time to plot out the graveyard before these stones were moved.
Lake Hope State Park is a nice place to visit. There are plenty of walking trails and biking trails. There are cabins for rent, or you can enjoy RV or primitive camping.
Driving through the park, we drove past some of the cabins. There were a lot of parties going on. Loud parties! And this was just after noon. If you are planning a peaceful escape with your kids, try to get a cabin that sits back away from the rest. Or use the campground.
We really enjoyed visiting Lake Hope State Park, and we cannot wait to go back to check out additional trails and more of the attractions.
But as always, the day ran short, and we had to head back home. We are looking forward to our next trip.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT AT LAKE HOPE STATE PARK
Please note that trail rules and regulations can change at any time. The following information was in effect for Lake Hope State Park in McArthur as of July 2021.
There are no bathrooms located on the Peninsula Trail. There are bathrooms located throughout the park.
Bicycles are allowed on certain trails.
There was quite a bit of activity. It should be a great place for birding during migration.
Several small wooden foot bridges located along the trail.
Concealed carry is permitted.
Dogs are allowed. They must be kept on a leash.
Trail surfaces are natural. The trails are steep in places. The trails are easy to mildly difficult.
The Peninsula Trail parking lot is gravel and very small.
No picnic tables at the parking area or on the trail. There are picnic areas setup throughout the park.
No playground on the Peninsula Trail. There are playgrounds in the park.
There were no benches along the Peninsula Trail.
A lot of shade.
No shelter house near the Peninsula Trail.
Trails were not well marked. However, since there was only one "main" trail in this area, it was very easy to see.
No trashcans at the parking lot or along the trail.
No ADA parking spots at the Peninsula Trail