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


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

Located just west of Pittsburgh in Beaver County, it’s a respite for nature lovers to escape the hustle and bustle found in the Steel City.

I made a stop there on March 31, just a couple days before trout season officially opened statewide. Fortunately this park’s lake is open to year-round fishing opportunities.

Jim Panik of Kennedy Township in Allegheny County, holds up a trout he caught March 31 at Raccoon Creek State Park. The lake has year-round fishing opportunities.

I met Jim Panik of Kennedy Township in Allegheny County, who was having a great afternoon catching trout on spinners. The fishing was catch and release until the season began on Saturday. “The park is well maintained and the lake is stocked pretty good. It’s a nice family park,” he said about his adventures there over the past decade. By late afternoon, he reeled in and released six trout.

Parks are ready for youPennsylvania’s 121 state parks have facility improvements, more job opportunities planned

The only improvement he could suggest was hoping the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission would have more trout stockings through the spring months. In addition to the preseason stocking, the commission has trout stockings April 9, April 29 and Oct. 4 The later fish release is good for those who like to fish during the winter, including through the ice.

Fishing is good throughout the year as anglers can also target bluegill, sunfish, bullhead and channel catfish, yellow perch, walleye, muskellunge, crappie, sauger, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

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

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

The lake is also a good spot to watch wildlife. He said you can see eagles passing through. Panik said birds of prey enjoy the fish, too, especially the brightly colored golden trout.

Economic and health benefitsAnglers, hunters significantly impact Pennsylvania’s economy

The park, which has been serving the public for about nine decades, is an escape from traffic, skyscrapers 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 includes 7,562 acres of mostly forested land, including the 101-acre Raccoon Lake.

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

In the spring and early summer, the park has more than 700 species of plants that can be seen in the wildflower reserve.

In the summer months, visitors can enjoy the beach amenities, including a sand volleyball court.

Step back into nature on one of the trails in Raccoon Creek State Park in Beaver County.

If you like explore the forested areas, the park has 44 miles of trails for hikers to explore, including sections that are open to horseback riding. In the fall, hunters have the opportunity to pursue small game, deer and turkey on most of the park’s acreage.

It’s a place you can stay for more than a day. The park has 172 tent and trailer campsites that have access to flush facilities, warm showers and the option of electricity. Each site also has a picnic table and fire ring. Pets are permitted on some of the campsites, too.

Go campingPlan many small weekend trips or live the van life with an RV

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 that have furnished living areas complete with heat. You do have to bring your own cooking and eating utensils as well as bed and bath linens.

Why you should campThe camping lifestyle grows in popularity

The sleeping accommodations fit almost anyone’s needs. Backpackers can venture along the 19.5 miles where there are five Adirondack shelters and five tenting sites that can be reserved. 

If you need a reminder that civilization is close by, you will occasionally see large aircraft flying over the area as they leave and take off from the Pittsburgh International Airport. Even though I was in the woods, the airplanes were a fun distraction.

Contact info

3000 State Route 18; Hookstown, PA 15050-1605

Phone: 724-899-2200



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

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


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