National Forest Service’s
Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area

Credit: National Forest Service


6.5 miles north of Ironton, just off State Route 93

Website  |  Get directions to this location

Site Overview

Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area encompasses 1,200 acres and features a 143-acre lake, two campgrounds, picnic areas, camping, fishing, boating, hiking and an archery trail. In 1939, the narrows of Storms Creek were dammed by the Civilian Conservation Corps to form the lake. Lake Vesuvius is named for the historic Vesuvius Iron Furnace, located at the base of the dam.

Since 1989, The Nature Conservancy has helped to protect 5,500 acres of the Wayne National Forest—Ohio’s only national forest. 

Why It Matters

Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area helps to protect a key region of Ohio forestland, which is part of the most biologically diverse forest system in North America. This eastern deciduous forest system harbors a rich array of flowering and medicinal plants, dozens of tree species, songbirds, game species like ruffed grouse and wild turkey, and other wildlife including bobcat, black bear, bats, salamanders and snakes.

In addition to supporting a host of wildlife, these forests also clean our air and drinking water, help to regulate our climate, support jobs and offer valued outdoor recreational opportunities like camping, fishing and hunting. 

Natural Treasures Landmark

Join hundreds of others who have chronicled their adventures! Take a picture of yourself at the Lake Vesuvius Dam (pictures should be from the boardwalk with the dam in background) at Wayne National Forest and upload it to our site.

Fun Things to Do and See

While on the hunt for the landmark, enjoy the abundant adventures this Ohio treasure has to offer. The thrill of nature can be experienced at any level!

Patio Dweller

  • The Lake Vesuvius Boardwalk Trail is about a third of a mile. Bring your binoculars to check out the fish during your stroll.
  • Follow the cliff face on the three-quarters of a mile Rock House Trail. Take in breathtaking views of rock overhangs and follow a cliff face. How many different varieties of wildflowers can you spot during your walk?

Backyard Camper

  • Take aim on the half-mile Longbow Archery Trail. This barrier-free experience offers 25 field targets and is not for the faint of heart.
  • Extend your day visit into an overnight stay at one of the area’s four campgrounds. Not quite up to roughing it in the great outdoors? Iron Ridge Campground and Oak Hill Campground accommodate RVs.
  • Get out your poles and bait for the 143-acre lake. Visit the three lake and pond fishing areas at Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area and let us know which one was biting during your stay!

Frontier Explorer

  • Combine the eight-mile Lakeshore Trail and Backpacking Trail for a 16-mile hiking adventure. Be on the lookout for deer, beaver and turkey. And turn your eyes to the sky for woodland songbirds, hawks and osprey.


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