Kettle Creek State Park, Cllinton County, PA

by William E. Conti
(West Hollywood, CA)

Kettle Creek State Park/Alvin Bush Dam

Kettle Creek State Park/Alvin Bush Dam

Kettle Creek State Park

Kettle Creek State Park consists of 1,793 acres along Kettle Creek in western Clinton County. The park is in a valley surrounded by mountainous terrain and wilderness.

Many of the existing recreational facilities arose from a joint flood control project developed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources.

Hiking - Mountain Biking - Horseback Riding - Picnicking - Boating - Fishing - Hunting - Education - Cross-country Skiing - Sledding - Snowmobiling - Ice Fishing - Camping

Picnicking: The picnic area is below the park office along Bearfield Run and Kettle Creek Reservoir. Many picnic tables with charcoal grills, hot coal disposal and water hydrants are scattered throughout this area. Sunny and shaded picnic sites are available. Restrooms are near the parking area and at the park office.

Softball and volleyball areas are provided along with playground sets at several locations. Several large open fields provide excellent play areas for groups of all sizes.

The Pine Grove Picnic Area is available for reservations. A large memorial picnic pavilion with electric hook-up, overlooking the lake, is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Boating: electric motors only

The 167-acre Kettle Creek Reservoir is an ideal place to kayak and canoe. A boat launch and boat mooring for 60 vessels are at the northern end of the lake. An overnight mooring permit is required. Sailboards and sailboats are permitted. Overnight mooring for park campers is also available, free of charge.

Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Fishing: The 167-acre Kettle Creek Reservoir is noted for its trout and bass fishing. Also found in the lake are brown bullhead, sucker and panfish. The Lower Campground is beside the seven-acre Kettle Creek Lake, a very popular fishing area. Kettle Creek is noted for its excellent water quality that supports a healthy aquatic population. Mine drainage limits the fishing quality below the Lower Campground.

Many excellent native trout streams surround the park. Additional information on fishing is available at the park office.

Hunting and Firearms: Most of the park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, grouse, squirrel, bear and turkey.

The adjacent Sproul State Forest also permits hunting and trapping. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers lands are managed in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of State Parks and Bureau of Forestry.

Hiking: 2 miles of trails

Novice and experienced hikers will find an abundance of trails in the park area. Short day-hikes are possible on the many park trails. Backpackers can enjoy the 53-mile Donut Hole Trail with an access parking lot across from the Lower Campground. This trail connects onto several other trail systems. Trail maps are available at the park office.

Horseback Riding: 22 miles of trails

An equestrian trail, 22 miles in length, starts at Beaverdam Run and travels through the Sproul State Forest before returning to the trailhead. Overnight camping at the trailhead is by permit only. Contact the park office for information. Trail maps are available at the park office.

Stay the Night

Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
The park has two camping areas with level sunny or shady sites that accommodate tents or trailers. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. Water spigots are scattered throughout the campgrounds.

The Lower Campground is along Kettle Creek and has 41 sites with electricity and also modern restrooms with showers. The Lower Campground is open from early April to the end of antered deer season mid-December.

The Upper Campground overlooks the Alvin R. Bush Dam and Kettle Creek Reservoir and has 27 sites, 12 with electric hook-ups and vault toilets. Pets are permitted on all sites. The Upper Campground is open from early April to the end of deer season in mid-October.

Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 2 host positions
The campground host site amenities include 50-amp electric service. Hosts are required to assist park personnel for 40 hours per week, which includes a two-week minimum stay. Contact the park office for additional information and availability.

Winter Activities

The park is open throughout the winter. The day use area provides access to all trails and activities. Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.

Cross-country Skiing: Cross-country skiing is permitted throughout the park.

Sledding: The gentle slopes below the park office make for excellent tobogganing/sledding.

Snowmobiling: Snowmobiles must stay on designated trails and have a current registration. Park trails connect to many miles of trails in the surrounding Sproul State Forest.

Ice Fishing: The 167-acre Kettle Creek Reservoir is stocked with trout for the winter season.

Environmental Education and Interpretation

During the summer months, Kettle Creek State Park shares an environmental interpretor with Ole Bull State Park. The history and environment of the area are topics for educational programs for park visitors of all ages. Children’s programs, guided walks and campfire programs are scheduled throughout the week. Program schedules are available at the park office. Special requests are welcome and may be directed to the park office.

Access for People with Disabilities

If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.

In an Emergency
Contact a park employee or dial 911.
For directions to the nearest hospital, look on bulletin boards or at the park office.

Nearest Hospital

Bucktail Medical Center
1001 Pine Street
South Renovo, PA 17764

The remote nature of Kettle Creek State Park makes it a wonderful place to see wildlife. Black bear, white-tailed deer and wild turkey are common residents. Elk, river otter and fisher are elusive animals that can be found in the park.

Kettle Creek Reservoir is a beacon for waterfowl, especially in the spring and fall migrations. Loons, grebes, ducks and gulls use the lake and wetlands as a rest stop. Bald eagle, kingfisher, great blue heron, wood duck and merganser can be seen year-round. Osprey are common summer visitors.

The field and edge habitats of the park are nesting spots for bluebird, indigo bunting, goldfinch, cardinal and common yellowthroat.

In 1962, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Alvin R. Bush Dam for flood protection for the lower Susquehanna watershed. The area above the dam was developed for recreation and administered by the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks.
Keep in Touch

4.5 miles of natural, scenic shoreline. This is one of four dams in the flood control plan for the West Branch Basin of the Susquehanna River watershed.

Kettle Creek Vista: Three miles west of the park, this vantage point provides a breathtaking view of the Kettle Creek Valley.

Pennsylvania Flaming Foliage Festival: In Renovo, Pa., the second full weekend in October.

Nearby Services
Services, including medical, are available at Renovo, 16 miles southeast along PA 120.

Explore Pennsylvania Wilds
Pennsylvania Wilds is two million acres of public lands for hiking, biking, fishing, boating, hunting and exploration in northcentral Pennsylvania. Within the twelve-county region are: 29 state parks, eight state forest districts (1.3 million acres); 50 state game lands and Allegheny National Forest (500,000 acres).

Westport and three miles west of PA 144.

Comments for Kettle Creek State Park, Cllinton County, PA

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Mar 27, 2015
hey there
by: kelly

This is actually a wonderful place to spend an evening. I used to go to this place when I go to my grandparent’s house. My grandfather used to take me here with our Labrador. The scenery is just so awesome that I used sleep there.

Sep 28, 2013
Response to Kettle Creek Commentator from Arizona
by: William Conti

Thank you for your response and recollections of your visits to Kettle Creek State Park. My family visits were also during the 1950's and '60's before modern plumbing. The park never closed but, as you noted, some activities were moved and many more have been added over the years. I spent a lot of time around the Altoona-Johnstown area years ago and even lived in Johnstown briefly during the 1970's. All the best to you and thank you for checking out this great site.

Sep 27, 2013
I've been here many times ...
by: Jean in AZ

It was in the 1950's. Nearly every summer my family would drive to Kettle Creek from Johnstown. I have so many great memories, even though it was before flushing toilets and hot showers! When the dam project flooded the area, I was under the impression that the park was gone. ( We moved out of state.)
I am to understand that it was reopened at a location near the original site? Thanks for this write up. Pennsylvania certainly is a beautiful state.

Sep 20, 2012
Response to Patricia
by: William

You are certainly welcome. Thank you for your response. I grew up going to Kettle Creek State Park during the 1950's and 1960's. It was always a day with promise of fun and appreciation of nature when our family headed out from Renovo on Route 120 west and, after driving six miles, turned north at Westport where Kettle Creek empties into the Susquehanna River toward the park. Of course, the park has added many additonal activites over the years, including boating and horseback riding. When you go, I know you will be one who can appreciate one of the last great stretches of unspoiled wilderness in the Eastern United States.

Sep 20, 2012
PA Kettle Creek State Park
by: Patricia

Hi William,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share one of your favorite PA State Parks with us. I loved seeing the beautiful picture of Kettle Creek State Park in Clinton really makes me want to go camping and spend some time exploring this beautiful PA Wilds area.


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