Yellow Creek State Park: Why you should visit
(Editor’s note: The following is part of an ongoing series about Pennsylvania’s state parks.)
If you are wanting an outdoors escape in central part of western Pennsylvania, you need to plan a trip to Yellow Creek State Park.
I explored this park on Sunday and it’s easy to realize this is a year-around destination. It’s located off Route 422 near Indiana making it a relatively short trip for everyone in the western half of the state and easily a destination you can make with one tank of gas from most anywhere in the commonwealth.
I spent a few minutes talking with Robert and Laura Jeffery who live near the park in Lucerne Mines. They enjoy walking their cream-colored retriever “Angel” there most Sundays. “The trails are well-marked and and maintained,” Laura said. “And it’s all free,” she said about most of the things everyone can do at state parks.
Robert said they also like renting canoes and taking advantage of the variety of fishing opportunities.
Lee Manning, a teacher from Homer City, said he looks forward to spending time on the lake. On Sunday, he and his friend Shane Haney caught about 30 crappie. “We fish all year,” he said.
Yellow Creek includes 2,981 acres and the park’s web page reports it is located along one of the first highways in the state, the Kittanning Path. This “highway” was used by the Delaware and Shawnee nations and by early settlers.
The park though is named for the Yellow and Little Yellow creeks that flow into the 720-acre Yellow Creek Lake.
What’s attractive about this waterway is that there’s something you can do no matter the time of the year.
In the winter, people ice fish and hike on the frozen lake. If you have an iceboat, bring it along.
In the spring, trout are stocked in the streams. In the summer, you can enjoy the lake’s beach and playground. The lake is also large enough for boats with gasoline engines up to 20 HP to cruise around the scenic area. The waterway is known for warm-water fishing for crappie, bass and pike.
Dragonfly Pond is also available to those with disabilities or children under the age of 12.
If you want to stay off the water, there are trails for hiking and mountain biking. Laurel Run Trail is a half-mile loop that starts at the park’s office. Ridgetop Trail is a 2-mile trail that starts near the beach and meanders through various types of habitats, and Damsite Trail is a 2.5-mile course that offers a view of the lake. The trailhead is located off Hoffman Road.
At day’s end, there’s also camping to consider. There are six cottages that are big enough to sleep five. The website also mentions yurts – round canvas and wood walled tents.
The park is large enough to appeal to all types of nature lovers. In addition to what’s already been mentioned, there’s a blind for bird watching, property set aside for hunting, and the picnic tables with views of the lake are placed in areas with easy access from your car.
If you haven’t taken a day to visit Yellow Creek, you should. It’s an expansive facility that caters to most anyone who enjoys time outdoors.
Yellow Creek contact info.
170 Route 259 Highway
Penn Run, PA 15765-5941
Brian Whipkey is the Pennsylvania Outdoors columnist for Gannett. Contact him at email@example.com or 814-701-6542.