National Park

Creek State Park in Beaver County offers fishing, camping, hiking

If you’re looking for a quiet place to go fishing and maybe have a picnic in western Pennsylvania, you should visit Raccoon Creek State Park.

Located just west of Pittsburgh in Beaver County, it’s a nature lover’s respite from the hustle and bustle of the Steel City.

I stopped here on March 31, just days before the official statewide trout season opened. Luckily, the lake in this park is open to fishing opportunities all year round.

I met Jim Panik of Kennedy Township in Allegheny County who was having a great afternoon catching trout on spinners. Fishing was catch and release until the start of the season on Saturday. “The park is well maintained and the lake is fairly well stocked. It’s a nice family park,” he said of his adventures there over the past decade. At the end of the afternoon, he brought in and released six trout.

The parks are ready for youPennsylvania’s 121 state parks have upgraded facilities and planned more employment opportunities

The only improvement he could suggest was to hope that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission would have more trout stocks during the spring months. In addition to the pre-season stocking, the commission has trout stockings on April 9, April 29 and October 4. Late release is good for those who like to fish through the winter, including through the ice.

Fishing is good year-round as anglers can also target bluegill, pumpkinseed, bullhead and channel catfish, yellow perch, walleye, muskellunge, crappie, walleye black, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

Enjoy a picnic while admiring the beach and lake at Raccoon Creek State Park in Beaver County.

The lake invites boaters and kayakers, but only electric motors are allowed. There are two launching places and 48 mooring places for people who want to leave their vessel for a while. If you don’t have a boat, there is a dealership during the summer months to rent canoes, rowboats, kayaks and hydro bikes.

The lake is also a good place to view wildlife. He said you can see eagles go by. Panik said birds of prey also enjoy fish, especially brightly colored golden trout.

Economic and health benefitsAnglers and hunters have a significant impact on Pennsylvania’s economy

The park, which has served the public for approximately nine decades, is an escape from the traffic, high-rises and congestion found in Pittsburgh. The park began in the 1930s as a recreational demonstration area by the National Park Service during the Civilian Conservation Corps era.

If you don't have a boat, you can rent one at Raccoon Creek State Park.

It comprises 7,562 acres of mostly forested land, including the 101-acre Lake Raccoon.

There is a combination of rustic and modern group camps that include the legacy of CCC workers.

During spring and early summer, the park has over 700 species of plants that can be seen in the wildflower preserve.

During the summer months, visitors can take advantage of beach amenities, including a sand volleyball court.

Get back to nature on one of the trails at Raccoon Creek State Park in Beaver County.

If you enjoy exploring wooded areas, the park offers 44 miles of trails for hikers to explore, including sections open to horseback riding. In the fall, hunters have the opportunity to hunt small game, deer and turkey over most of the park area.

It is a place where you can stay more than one day. The park has 172 tent and trailer campsites that have access to flushing facilities, hot showers and optional electricity. Each site also has a picnic table and a fire ring. Pets are also allowed on some campsites.

To go campingPlan many short weekends away or live the van life with a motorhome

Rustic camping opportunities are available as well as group camping sites.

If you don’t have access to camping gear, the park has 10 modern cabins and a lakeside lodge with furnished, heated living areas. You must bring your own kitchen and table utensils as well as bed and bath linen.

why you should campThe camping lifestyle is gaining popularity

Bedrooms meet the needs of almost everyone. Backpackers can venture along the 19.5 miles where there are five Adirondack shelters and five tent sites that can be reserved.

If you need a reminder that civilization is near, you will occasionally see large planes flying overhead as they depart and take off from Pittsburgh International Airport. Even though I was in the woods, the planes were a fun distraction.

Contact information

3000 State Route 18; Hookstown, Pennsylvania 15050-1605

Phone: 724-899-2200

Email: [email protected]

Online: dcnr.pa.gov

Brian Whipkey is the Pennsylvania Outdoors columnist for the USA TODAY Network.

Brian Whipkey is the outdoor columnist for USA TODAY Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at [email protected] and sign up for our weekly Go Outdoors PA newsletter via email on your website homepage under your login name. Follow him on social media @whipkeyoutdoors.