Naming of Dillon Lake followed a long standing US Army Corps of Engineers tradition of naming the lake after the closest town. Dillon was started by Moses Dillon, a Quaker from Maryland. While on his way to bring Christianity to the Indians in the early 1800s he saw the falls on the Licking River and noticed that nearby there was coal and iron ore. He settled here and built what was one of the worlds largest iron foundries.
Restrooms are located at the Project Office, below dam, and the playground/picnic shelter area. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and maintains the dam, the lake and most of the land surrounding the lake for flood management purposes. Areas for recreation and wildlife management are leased to the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources.
Universally Accessible facilities are provided at the Project Office, including our playground, picnic area, fishing pier and most restrooms.
The Adena people lived in this region from approximately 1000 BC to 4000 AD They lived in semi-sedentary villages and hunted game and gathered wild fruit for subsistence. The Nashport Mound, a large conical-shaped earthen structure, has been attributed to the Adena culture. The mound, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was excavated by the Ohio Historical Society. Dillon Dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938. Work began in June 1946 but was delayed due to insufficient funds and later the outbreak of the Korean Conflict. Construction of the Dam itself began in June of 1958 and was completed in September 1961. The cost of the whole project totaled almost 30 million dollars.
Bicycles are permitted on main roads and ODNR state campground areas and mountain bike trails. Contact a Park Officer for the location of areas conducive to off-road bicycling.
Launch ramps for the boating enthusiasts and fishermen are located throughout the area, including the state park marina, and Big Run boatramp.
A popular spot for fishermen is at the outflow below the dam, the pond area and lakeside at the intake, giving anglers an area all to themselves year round, unless closed due to severe inclement weather. Call (740) 454-6137 for updated lake and project information. The below dam area has been modified with paved roads and parking lots, a universally accessible fishing pier and restrooms. The area below the dam is well lit at night for the avid fishing persons.
A fitness trail is located at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Office and Visitor Center. The trail loop extends approximately 1/4 of a mile with stations for exercising.
The wildlife indigenous to this area have benefited from the improved habitat in and around the lake. Deer, turkey, doves, waterfowl, squirrel and rabbit are the most popular game species around the lake area. Hunters must abide by Ohio State Hunting Regulations.
Picnic facilities are located at the areas above and below the dam including our new shelter next to the playground.
The swimming area and beach are located within the Dillon State Park. A children's wading pool is available. The beach is seasonal and is open from mid May to September. No lifeguards are on duty.
For a greener environment solar panels have been installed on our Visitor Center and shop. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Visitor Center is located at the Dam site area. The center features information of historical, fish and wildlife and flood management. Open Monday -Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m and intermittently during summer weekends; Memorial Day thru Labor Day.
Restrooms and the picnic shelter at the dam are universally accessible