My dad grew up vacationing on the lake at Rocky Fork, so the place always held an air of familiarity. It is therefore surprising I have never camped there. I think it mostly escaped attention because there is very limited hiking in the park. But the park is located only about 15 minutes from one of my favorite hiking spots in Ohio and definitely has the best cell service of the state parks in the area.
The hiking at the Arc of Appalachia Highland Nature Sanctuary is spectacular year-round but is legendary in the spring. The Arc hosts the annual Wildflower Pilgrimage, a celebration of one of the most lush and diverse displays of wildflowers in North America. The official event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021, but the area became my personal haven during some of the rougher times of the pandemic. In 2020, I took multiple weekend day trips to the region. In 2021, when the state park campgrounds opened back up I booked a week at Rocky Fork to work from the region while exploring the trails evenings and weekends. I booked another week in 2022 for the official return of Pilgrimage and this time Mom joined me.
The sites at Rocky Fork are arranged into the Upper and Lower Campgrounds. The lower campground is on the shore of Rocky Fork Lake and seems to attract a lot of the big rigs. What the sites lack in the way of trees, they seem to make up for in the number of geese.
The Upper Campground is aptly named as it is at the top of a sizable hill. Some of the sites have a nice view of the campground and lake below. In general, the area is more wooded and some of the primitive site loops are beautifully wooded but back up to the road. The loop in camping area 2 features electric sites and some have some great views, but the inner sites are very odd. Each of these “pull-through” sites is obviously two old small tenting sites that have been connected. The campfire rings and electric are on the same side, so one is going to be on the wrong side.
My biggest complaint about the campground it the closeness of the sites that back into each other. In 2022, the sites on either side of me were more than 100 feet away. However, the back of my trailer was probably about 25 feet from the back of the trailer behind me. Some large fifth wheels use these sites and hang over the back of the pad a dozen feet or so. I can imagine that the back of a large fifth wheel might only be a few feet from your picnic area. I have been in tighter areas, but it is frustrating that with all the land, the sites weren’t space further apart.
Aside from the workable cell service (which is nonexistent in a lot of surrounding areas if you are dependent on Verizon), the other advantage to Rocky Fork for an extended stay is the full hook ups in some of the sites. These sites are interspersed through one of the inner loops of the upper campground and the first loop of the lower campground.
Rocky Fork is not the prettiest campground in the area, but it probably the most convenient for visiting the great area. I know I will be back lots of nights in the future.