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
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.
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.
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. www.nab.usace.army.mil/recreation/bush.htm
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.
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). www.pawilds.com
Westport and three miles west of PA 144.