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Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve

Preserving 2,019 acres in Jackson County

Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve is a magnificent natural area in southeast Ohio's Jackson County. It was dedicated as a state nature preserve through the foresight and generosity of two long-time business partners, Edwin A. Jones and James J. McKitterick.

The focal point of this preserve is a clear water lake surrounded by towering sandstone cliffs.

The rich Appalachian forest is cut by three deep ravines in which are found magnolias, eastern hemlock, sweet gum, birch and beech.

The dry ridge tops support an association of mountain laurel, Virginia pine and oak. The preserve has many native orchids as well as diverse spring flora.

Lake Katharine harbors the state's largest and finest populations of both bigleaf and umbrella magnolia trees, both state-listed species.

Local Directions

Located in Jackson County, 2 miles west from Jackson on State Street (County Road 76 or Beaver Pike); turn right and proceed 2 miles north on County Road 85 (Lake Katharine Road).

Special Features

Geologic Features
Spring Wildflowers
Summer Wildflowers
Bird Watching

  • Diverse spring wildflower display
  • Rare bigleaf and umbrella magnolias
  • Sandstone cliffs
  • Permit-only access to lake


Trail Map
  • Parking lot
  • 6-mile trail system.

Lake Use Policy

Lake Use permits are required for all watercraft using Lake Katharine. There is a $10 processing fee per permit. Reservations for permits may be obtained by telephoning the preserve office (740) 286-2487 on the LAST Friday of each month between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Each caller may make only one permit reservation per call and not more than one reservation in their name per month. Dates for the following month will be filled on a first call basis, until all available times have been reserved.

Five daily permits will be given for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday only—April through October. Each Lake Use Permit will be for one day and one boat only. Please note—the preserve is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Lake Use Regulations

  • Consult area bulletin boards for complete set of state nature preserve rules and regulations. Please report all violations to the preserve manager.
  • All lake users must register at the registration board before going on the lake.
  • All watercraft and boaters using the lake must observe state regulations regarding boating safety and registration.
  • All persons fishing must comply with current Ohio fishing laws and regulations.
  • Boaters must use designated trail and carry their boats 110 yards to the water’s edge.
  • Motorized watercraft (including electric trolling motors) are prohibited.
  • Boats can only be landed at put in/take out area.
  • Fishing with minnows is prohibited.
  • Cleaning fish within the preserve is prohibited.
  • Bank fishing, swimming and picnicking are not permitted.
  • Please keep Lake Katharine clean—carry out all trash.
  • Please notify the preserve manager of cancellations at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Any violation of lake use regulations will result in suspension of all lake use rights for one (1) year.

Tell Your Preserve Story