Information on:

Akron - Portage Lakes State Park

5031 Manchester Road

411-acre Portage Lakes State Park offer visitors a variety of outdoor recreational experiences. Boating, swimming and fishing are popular on the several surrounding lakes. The wetlands of the park attract waterfowl and shorebirds providing visitors enjoyment whether hunting or observing wildlife.


Portage Lakes is named after the old Indian portage path which connected the Cuyahoga River flowing north to Lake Erie and the Tuscarawas River which through the Muskingum, flows south to the Ohio River. This proved advantageous for the Indians and early settlers as navigation from Lake Erie to the Ohio was possible with only one eight-mile portage overland. Portage Lakes State Park lies at one of the highest points of the state and on a major watershed divide in Ohio. Some water from the lakes reaches Lake Erie and some flows to the Ohio River.

The area became an important trading post for settlers and Indians. It was a recognized landmark during the War of 1812, serving as a rendezvous point of American troops. The old Indian portage path was part of the ancient boundary between the Six Nations and the Western Indians.

The city of Akron was laid out in 1825 and was first settled by Irish laborers and others working on the Ohio Canal. Once the canal was completed, the town flourished. Several important industries brought prosperity to the area including stoneware potteries, sewer pipe manufacturing, the match industry and, most recently, the tire and rubber industry. At one time, the Blue Diamond Match Company in Akron used three million board-feet of white pine lumber per year for the manufacture of its matches.

Several of the Portage Lakes were built as feeder reservoirs for the canals to maintain the required depth of four feet. The lakes were used for this purpose until the canals were abandoned in 1913. The lakes were then used to meet the water needs of the local industries. Some portions of the remnant canals in the Akron area can still be boated.

The Ohio Department of Public Works maintained the canal lands for recreational purposes until 1949 when the Portage Lakes were transferred to the newly formed Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Recreation.


Louis Gehm

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018
Beautiful park, with a scenic drive through a decently wooded area before you reach the main parking and lake area. Plenty of parking. Beaches are good size and seem to be decently kept up. Fishing is open to the public with a state fishing license. Patrolled by park rangers and the game warden. Swimming is at your own risk. There are playgrounds and swing sets for the children over looking the lake with bench seating. There are also a few picnic tables available. Bathrooms are outhouse style with no running water but they are larger, permanent structures, newer, and not in bad shape. I come here for smoke school with Eastern Technical Associates at least twice a year to be certified with the EPA to read visible emissions.

Jeremy Wagner

Sunday, April 1, 2018
Portage lakes is a beautiful area. A lot of little restaurants and shops in the area. The bars in the area are always pretty full on the weekends. The lakes are beautiful and provide good opportunity for photography. Check out the area, you won't be disappointed.


Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018
I have enjoyed the park over the years from the time I was a teenager. I hadn't been there for quite a few years until I began kayaking a year ago and launched several times from the park boat launches. They were in good condition and well maintained and I will continue to use them. My wife and I decided to try the hiking trails last summer. Unfortunately we found that the trails were not well maintained. They are scenic, well laid out trails but there were quite a few trees down across them and they were in places nearly overgrown.

Geoffrey Whidden

Saturday, March 24, 2018
An urban state park. Observatory is neat. Very difficult disc golf course. Mostly a flat park. There is a beach.

Josh Walker

Sunday, March 18, 2018
Great park! It has everything but camping, observatory, dog park, great hiking trails, beach and boat ramp to a fantastic lake. Dog park could use a fourth fenced in side during the winter because the lake freezing over.

Portage Lakes State Park is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media