Clear Creek State Park: Why you should visit
If you have an opportunity to visit Clear Creek State Park in Jefferson County, you'll soon understand why it received its name.
Clear Creek is a relatively shallow stream that flows through the park. When I recently visited, the water was as clear as could be expected of a waterway in Pennsylvania. It was easy to see trout, especially the golden ones, swimming in the lake and stream.
Bob Sechrist of Indiana, Pennsylvania, was fly fishing in an area where it was easy to see a half dozen trout swimming in a pool where mountain laurel hung over the water. "It's clear. It's clean," he said about why he makes the trip to Clear Creek two or three times a year. When asked if it was worth the trip, he said, "When they're biting, it truly is."
Jim Sines of Sigel was enjoying the day fishing at the lake. Sines has formed a special connection with the facility. As a member of the Heath Township Sportsmens Club, he is one of the volunteers who works with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to raise trout for the park and other waterways through a cooperative agreement. He said they put trout in a variety of waterways including Clear Creek. In addition to the sportsmen stocking the area, the Fish and Boat Commission also provides its own trout to the streams and lakes.
This northern Pennsylvania state park includes 1,901 acres and is just 11 miles from Cook Forest State Park.
"What makes this park unique is the riverfront campsites and cabins," said Ryan Borcz, park manager.
Clear Creek flows into the Clarion River and the scenery makes a relaxing atmosphere for those staying in the 22 rustic cabins and many tent sites that were strategically placed with calming views of the water.
There are 52 campsites, each with a picnic table and fire ring and 41 of the campsites have electric hookups. Pets are permitted at designated sites for a fee.
People have been enjoying the facility. Borcz said data show visitations were up 25% last year, and he said that's in line with an increased attendance at parks across the commonwealth. "People like to sit and watch the river and watch the boaters," he said.
For those passing through on the water, the park has a special campsite area set up to accommodate them. "If you canoe camp at Clear Creek, you get some of the best river frontage in the entire state park," he said.
The park has two high-walled yurt tents to rent. "They are tucked away, very private. You have the experience of a tent, but you don't have to set up your own," Borcz said about the cross between a tent and a cabin. The yurts have beds, a refrigerator, electric heat, stove and microwave.
In addition to camping, fishing and swimming at the 180-foot long beach, there are many short trails that are less than a mile or two to explore. Combined, there are more than 20 miles where you can adventure through the wilderness area.
In the winter you can snowshoe on the trails and cross-country ski on the Clear Creek Trail Saw Mill Trail and portions of Truby Trail.
It’s also a good place for hunting. There are about 1,000 acres of the park open to hunting, trapping and training dogs. It’s home to deer, turkey, squirrel and black bear.
The park is located next to much larger tracts of land including Cook State Forest. A short walk to Beartown Rocks Overlook on a clear day provides a feeling of being on top of the world.
Whether for a day or a week, this park is a great place to step back into nature and enjoy a calm sunset or sunrise over the water.
Brian Whipkey is the Pennsylvania Outdoors columnist for Gannett. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.