Ohio is full of rich history and stories of buried treasure dating back to the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. For example, in Henry County, there’s a legend of lost Native American gold buried on the inside bend of Turkeyfoot Creek.
This legend is just one of several stories that make the beautiful state of Ohio one of the best locations for treasure hunting. Here are some of the best spots to get treasure hunting without further ado.
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To make things easier, we will list these places according to the cities and, finally, some off-the-grid spots that you can make a road trip out of during your treasure hunting.
1. Jeffrey Park – Columbus, Ohio
Jeffrey Park is the first park on this list for various reasons. First off, Jeffrey Park sits at the heart of Columbus, it’s accessible, and it offers several recreational amenities like trails to the public.
Secondly, Alum Creek runs through the park. Why is this special? 2000 years ago, an Indian tribe, the Adena, settled along Alum Creek. They were a pre-Columbian Native American culture that existed from 500 BCE to 100 BCE.
Alum Creek is pretty long, but this park would be a great starting point if you’re looking for Native American artifacts.
2. Wolfe Park – Columbus, Ohio
Next on the list is Wolfe Park; it also sits along Alum Creek and makes it another hot spot for Native American artifacts. It’s also a few miles away from Jeffree Park, and you also have access to Alum Creek.
Wolfe Park is also convenient because it also sits at the heart of Columbus, making access to local treasure hunters easier.
3. Three Creeks Metro Park – Columbus, Ohio
Three Creeks Metro Park is on the south side of Columbus, filled with large tracts of land for treasure hunting, and what makes this spot a highlight is that Big Walnut Creek runs through the park. Three Creeks is the name of the confluence where Alum, Big Walnut, and Blacklick creeks join.
Furthermore, the park offers other excellent amenities like trails, biking, canoeing, and picnicking. It’s an excellent spot for treasure hunters, and if you want to make the treasure hunting a family event.
4. Walnut Woods Metro Park – Columbus, Ohio
Walnut Woods Metro Park is a scenic and beautiful spot for treasure hunters. The park offers 1,455 acres of woodlands and fields, bordered by Walnut Creek to the north. The park’s most significant feature is the tall pine areas that are pretty hard to miss.
This park offers incredible and easy trails to visitors and other incredible park amenities.
5. Alum Creek State Beach Park – Ohio
North of Columbus is the Alum Creek State Beach Park that borders Alum Creek Lake. The park offers beaches and access to the lake, making it a great location during the summer. Moreover, the park may contain archeological artifacts because it is within the area where the Adena people lived and the Delaware tribe.
Both of these cultures are Native American, and the probability of finding an artifact is pretty high because of the history surrounding this area. Furthermore, the park comes with excellent recreational amenities like trails, picnic spots, and beaches.
6. East Fork State Park – Cincinnati, Ohio
Moving on to some of the best spots in Cincinnati, we start with East Fork State Park. This park is the largest in Cincinnati, boasting trails and beaches, and it sits on the edge of William Harsha Lake.
It is on the outskirts of Cincinnati, but the trip is worth it. There are several camping grounds in the area. You could make it a fun treasure hunting trip with your family.
Another reason that makes this enormous park great for treasure hunters is the Little Miami River that runs through the park. In 1869 there were two active gold mines on the East Fork State Park project. One, located on the north bank in the vicinity of Elk Lick, consisted of a flume for washing glacial deposits. The other was a tunnel mine in the vicinity of Twin Bridges.
7. Avoca Park – Columbus, Ohio
Next on the list is Avoca Park, a small park that sits on the edge of the Little Miami River. According to the Terrace Park Historical Society, in the early 1900s, there were summer homes in the area. Of course, by now, the homes and cottages aren’t there. But there may be some treasure in the park that holds their memories. – Source
This park holds some historical significance, but there are also recreational activities for the public to enjoy. There are trails and water fountains available to the public.
8. Mt. Airy Forest Park – Cincinnati, Ohio
Mt. Airy Forest Park is on this list because it gives access to the West Fork Mill Creek. According to historical accounts, early European settlers settled along the creek and built stations in areas where it was easy to cross. This information applies to Mill Creek and West Fork Mill Creek.
With this information in mind, Mt. Airy Forest Park comes across as a probable location for treasure. Furthermore, the park sits conveniently at the heart of Cincinnati.
You can enjoy numerous other activities, such as trails, biking, and picnics in Mt. Airy Forest Park.
9. Chagrin River Park – Cleveland, Ohio
Kicking things off in Cleveland is Chagrin River Park. Chagrin River Park offers access to the Chagrin River because it passes right across the park. The river held a lot of importance in the early 1800s, with entrepreneurs building mills along its edge.
For treasure hunters, it would be in your best interest to search along this river if you’re looking to find any artifacts or lost treasure. You’ll be sure to find something thanks to the historical significance of this river.
You can also enjoy the recreational amenities the park offers. There are several trails, picnic shelters, and fishing spots.
10. Lost Nation Municipal Golf Course – Cleveland, Ohio
Parks are a great place to go treasure hunting, but golf courses can be a spot for prospecting. Lost Nation Municipal Golf Course is a golf course, and what makes this one interesting is that a stream passes through it. The Ward Brook stream passes through this golf course, connecting to the Chagrin River.
It would be in your best interest to contact the golf course beforehand to get a clear picture of their rules and regulations about treasure hunting. Treasure hunting rules in Ohio are pretty obscure, and it would help if you also checked with your local authority before proceeding, but more on that later.
11. Huntington Beach – Cleveland, Ohio
Last but not least is Huntington Beach. A good rule of thumb for any metal detectorist is to go treasure hunting along beaches. Beaches have the highest rates of success because of the ever-moving tide. Huntington beach is such a location with amazing beaches that make great vacation spots in the summer.
12. Salt Fork State Park – Lore City, Ohio
Salt Fork State Park is the biggest state park in Ohio. The park encompasses 17,229 acres (6,972 ha) of land and 2,952 acres (1,195 ha) of water. Before the state of Ohio procured the land to build the park, several homes, churches, cemeteries (the state moved the graves), several buildings occupied the space that we know now as Salt Fork State Park.
If you walk around the park, you can still find signs showing some of these old structures. Salt Fork Park also offers access to Salt Fork Lake. The park offers several recreational amenities such as trails, beaches, golf, and other activities.
13. Zoar – Tuscarawas, Ohio
Zoar is a village in Tuscarawas County, Ohio; now, the village is a ghost town. Initially, German religious immigrants settled in the town in 1817. They operated in the town until their disbandment in 1898. You can now visit this ghost town, but it would be in your best interest to call and inquire about the village’s laws behind regarding hunting.
14. Fairport Harbor – Lake County, Ohio
Fairport Harbor isn’t precisely an off-the-grid location, but its story is intriguing. According to the locals, about 100k worth of gold bars was stolen from a Canadian bank in 1862. Locals believe that the thieves buried the gold on the west bank of the Grand River, about 2 miles from Lake Erie.
15. Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge – Ottawa County, Ohio
The final spot that you should check out is the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. There’s a story that British Soldiers buried $250,000 in current value gold at Locust Point. Locust Point is just a few miles away from the Wildlife Refuge, and the refuge would be an excellent place to start hunting.
The legend of the 1755 lost French gold is the most mysterious story of any treasure in the state of Ohio. Till today, the gold is still missing, and efforts to find the gold have been fruitless. Despite these obstacles, treasure hunters try their best to find this treasure. – Source
There are several other stories of treasure in Ohio. For example, in 1924, in Morgan County, thieves robbed a bank and buried the paper currency. Today, that bounty is worth $125,000.
Metal detecting is prohibited and legal in the state of Ohio. The laws on metal detecting are pretty vague in Ohio. However, different counties have different laws when it comes to metal detecting.
Some counties prohibit metal detecting, while other counties are partial to it. Here are some of the counties that prohibit metal detecting:
- Auglaize County – New Bremen
- Butler County – Metro Parks
- Columbiana County – Columbiana, East Palestine
- Cuyahoga County – Shaker Heights
- Erie County – Erie County Metro Parks
- Fairfield County – Lancaster Parks
- Franklin County
- Geauga County – Chardon
- Greene County
- Hancock County
There are several other county parks, but contacting the parks beforehand would be in your best interest. It would save you time and effort to know if your local parks prohibit metal detecting.
The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 determines whether you keep or give up artifacts. This federal law states that any “archaeological resources” found on the state’s land belong to the government. This law extends to just about anything over 100 years old.
However, this law does not apply to any artifacts found on private property. Any treasure found on private property is for the keeping. If you find treasure on state land, you will have to contact the relevant authority.
Here are some of the top news stories of treasures found in Ohio.
- Treasure hunters found $500 Million worth of Civil War Gold in Ohio. – link
- In 2015, former deep-sea treasure hunter Tommy ‘Thomas’ G. Thompson found 500 gold coins. – link
- A couple from Cleveland, Ohio, found $33,000 under the floorboards of their house. – link
Here are some Ohio treasure legends; some may be true, and others may be false or exaggerated.
- On December 29th, 1876, A train reportedly carrying $2 million worth of gold bullion plunged 70 feet into the Ashtabula River om/Abandoned-Ohio-Ghost-when a railroad trestle collapsed during a blizzard. – Source
- In 1755, a group of 10 French soldiers was moving the army payroll from Fort Duquense in Pennsylvania to Fort Detroit in Michigan. The payroll was around a ton of gold, and they were keeping it away from the British. The French soldiers buried the payroll before a skirmish broke out, with 8 of the 10 French soldiers dying. The French couldn’t retrieve the gold because they had lost control of the area. – Source
- Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and his men buried their spoils of war before surrendering somewhere between Gavers and West Point, Ohio. The treasure is of unimaginable quality and quantity but is still missing. – Source
Metal Detecting Tip: Treasure hunting doesn’t mean making a mess, digging holes and destroying historic sites. Use some ethics and preserve history. Sharing pictures and documenting the location and researching the back story is the most important part of finding treasure. Read my article 👉 Metal Detecting Rules, Ethics and Laws
Our most recommended books are here if you’re in Ohio and are looking for books to start treasure hunting.
1. Abandoned Ohio: Ghost Towns, Cemeteries, Schools, and More by Glenn Morris
This book is excellent because it offers historical knowledge and locations in Ohio. Most importantly, it focuses on ghost towns and stories of treasures. It’s a book we highly recommend if you’re looking to get started with whichever treasure hunting method in Ohio.
2. How to Research for Treasure Hunting and Metal Detecting: From Lead Generation to Vetting by Otto von Helsing
This book is ideal for anyone interested in utilizing all the essential treasure hunting skills. This book will inform you on the research aspect of treasure hunting, how to use old maps from the 1800s, and what to do with this information.
3. A Guide Book of United States Coins 2021 by Jeff Garrett
One of the main treasures you may find will be coins. This book will help you identify the coins, year, and value. This book is also great because it contains pictures of the coins to help in the evaluation process. Most treasure hunters will have the latest version of this book, and the next one will be coming out in 2023.
4. Permission Impossible: Metal Detecting Search Permission Made Easy by David Villanueva
This book will teach you how to acquire permission from private landowners. Treasure hunting can take you into the wildest of places that may be private property, and you may need permission to go prospecting on their land. If you need that extra push to learn how to do it, check out this book.
Searching For More Ohio Treasure
- Wondering where to metal detect in Ohio? I’ve got you covered, read -> The Best Places to Metal Detect in Ohio
- Lots of rivers run through Ohio learn how to detect the right way in -> How to Metal Detect Rivers and Streams
- Something really cool I found was an old button. Read about-> How to Identify Old Flat Buttons