The amenity-filled Alum Creek State Park is a popular destination. One of the big draws of the lake (a reservoir, technically, with a dam on the southern edge of the park) is its sandy beach—the largest inland beach in all of Ohio. There’s also a campground, an equestrian camp and 38 miles of bridal trails, a revamped marina with scores of slips for sailboats and motorboats, hiking trails, a dog park, ample fishing, disc golf and…a whole lot of people enjoying all those activities, especially on summer weekends.
However, that’s all to say that a peaceful day of paddling presents the best option for getting your own slice of the immense 3,387-acre lake to yourself. And to up the odds of seclusion in your favor, launch onto the northern section of the lake, above the Cheshire Road bridge: It’s the no-wake zone. The lake narrows the farther north you go, where there are cliffs, birds of prey (including osprey) and plenty of calm waters that offer a more peaceful atmosphere. This section of the Alum Creek State Park is a near-urban oasis and a popular destination for paddlers in the know.
There are three prime northern launch spots for canoes, kayaks and SUPs, as you travel north from the Cheshire Road bridge to the little village of Kilbourne. The first put-in spot is just above the Cheshire Road bridge, off Africa Road, on the east side of the lake. Next, as you head north, is the launch site just off Howard Road, also on the east side. Both sites have large, paved parking lots, restrooms and picnic areas. There are docks for paddlers and a cement ramp for boats at each location. The third spot is off state Route 521 (Kilbourne Road), in the village of Kilbourne, on the east side of the lake, which at this point, has narrowed back to creek-size. Launching here is a bit more rustic, and potentially muddier and more challenging than the first two, with only creek-bank access—meaning that there’s no ramp or dock.