Description - Ancient history is recorded in the sandstone hills that comprise Great Seal State Park. It lies upon the Appalachian escarpment, a line of hills stretching across Ohio's mid section which outline the edge of the Appalachian plateau in the state. North and west of the line are glaciated plains while south and east rugged hills extend to the foothills of the mountains. This definition is obvious from the trails in the park where one can see Columbus on a clear day to the north and unbroken forested ridges to the south.
Copyright: Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Great Seal State Park
These sharply etched ridges harbor a fine stand of hardwoods. Due to the underlying rock strata, one unexpectedly finds chestnut oaks on the slopes and sugar maples on the crests of the hills where the opposite are more common. Spring wildflowers are abundant in the moist coves, while pawpaws and persimmons entice wildlife in autumn.
- Twenty miles of challenging trails take hikers and horseback riders to scenic vistas of distant ridge tops and the Scioto Valley below. These very hills are depicted on the Great Seal of the State of Ohio, from which the park gets its name. The terrain varies from steep to gently rolling, therefore, it is advised that horses and hikers be well conditioned. The yellow-blazed Sugarloaf Mountain Trail extends 2.1 miles climbing through dense maple-dominated forests to the crest of Sugarloaf. The loop is short and rises almost 500 feet in less than a quarter mile. The blue-blazed Shawnee Ridge Trail travels 7.8 miles comprising Bald Hill, Sand Hills and parts of Rocky Knob. Several steep sections are part of this forested trail. The strenuous Mt. Ives Trail is blaze orange winding 6.4 miles along Mt. Ives while providing several scenic vistas. Grouse Rock and Picnic Loop are limited to hikers only while Spring Run accommodates both hikers and cross-country skiers (weather permitting).
Those wishing to stay overnight will find a 15-site campground offering pressurized water, vault latrines and a shelter. The campground is scenically located adjacent to Sugarloaf Mountain, offering a view of the Scioto Valley below. Pets welcome.
The picnic area is scenic as well offering water latrine, playground and shelter which is non-reservable.
Great Seal invites hunters to use the designated areas when carrying a valid Ohio hunting license.
Recreation - Five miles of hiking trails and 17 miles of bike and bridle path invite the visitor to explore this beautiful semi-developed park. Fifteen non-electric campsites provide the traveler with an overnight location. Picnicking, including picnic shelters offer an enjoyable and scenic outdoor dining experience. Hunting is available in designated areas. Cross-country skiing is the only winter sport offered.
Climate - This state has four distinct seasons and a brilliant fall foliage display in it southern woods during mid October. Winter lasts from December through February with average temperatures near 25 degrees F. Low temperatures dip to single digits, but do not often drop below zero. Northern regions of the state receive average snowfall amounts of 55 inches, while the central and southern regions of the state receive lesser amounts with averages near 30 inches. This difference is caused by lake-affect moisture patterns.
Spring temperatures begin to warm the landscapes of Ohio by mid March and are in full swing by April. Temperatures range from 40 through 70 degrees F through the spring months. This season often brings the most rainfall, before the drying heat of summer. Summer can be extremely hot and humid in the interior of Ohio. Temperatures reach above 90 degrees F frequently through July and August. Cooler fall temperatures don't reach the region until mid to late September. This is a pleasant time to visit as the air is crisp with low humidity levels. Ohio's annual precipitation usually reaches slightly above 50 inches.
Great Seal State Park is located just north of the town of Chillicothe off U.S. Highway 23 at the Delano exit.