Elk State Park
The 3,192-acre Elk State Park is in the rugged mountains of northern Pennsylvania. The 1,160-acre East Branch Lake is large enough for unlimited horsepower boating and is great for waterskiing. The lake and nearby streams are stocked with warm-water and cold-water fish.
Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. Contact the Kinzua Bridge State Park office for facility seasons and hours.
Picnicking: Picnic tables are available at the Instanter Drive Boat Launch. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a picnic area and playground by the dam.
No Swimming: Swimming is not permitted in the lake. A swimming pool is available at Bendigo State Park, about 13 miles away on PA 1004.
Boating: unlimited horsepower motors permitted
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.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Fishing: The 1,160-acre East Branch Lake is a cold-water fishery. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocks muskellunge, walleye, smallmouth bass, brook, rainbow, brown, and lake trout in the lake. Five Mile, Seven Mile, Straight, Middle Fork and Crooked creeks are all stocked streams. Many smaller streams abound in native brook trout.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: About 3,151 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are black bear, deer and turkey. Hunting is also permitted on the adjacent Elk State Forest and State Game Land 25.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s vehicle or enclosed trailer. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Camping: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates a campground with facilities by the dam.
Ice Fishing: The 1,160-acre East Branch Lake is a cold-water fishery. Common species are muskellunge, walleye, smallmouth bass, and brook, rainbow, brown and lake trout.
Iceboating: Iceboats must display a current state park launch permit. Ice thickness is not monitored.
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 1948, the United States Corps of Engineers started construction of the flood control dam and created East Branch Lake. The dam inundated the two settlements in the valley. The town of Instanter was a depot on the Johnsonburg &Clermont Railroad and also was the site of the Schultz and Hoyt Tannery. The second village was Straights, from which the nearby Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp 83 got its name. Development of Elk State Park was completed in 1963 and in 1970 the Bureau of Forestry turned 2,022 acres over to State Parks and increased its size to a total of 3,192 acres. Remnants of both Instanter and Straights can be seen during low pool levels.
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Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
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DiscoverE has programs for young people ages 4 to 17, provided by Pennsylvania State Park educators. By combining recreation and education, we hope to motivate children to learn more and return often, leading to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment and conservation leadership.
In Watershed Education, teachers and students assess water quality of a local stream on a quarterly basis and develop strategies to solve local water quality problems.
ECO Camp - Exploring Careers Outdoors - is a week-long residential camp for a cross-section of high school youth from across Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Participate in action-packed, hands on activities and recreational adventures in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests that expose youth to conservation, recreation and careers in natural resources. Learn how people make a living working in the outdoors.
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Elk State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Northwest Pennsylvania Great Outdoors. www.pagreatoutdoors.com
Bendigo State Park: Located 13 miles away on SR 1004, Bendigo State Park provides swimming, picnicking, fishing and playfields.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Recreation Area: The East Branch Dam of the Clarion River was finished in 1952 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dam provides flood protection and recreational opportunities. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates a recreation area by the East Branch Dam that has camping, food concession, sanitary dump station and boat launch.
State Game Land 25: This 24,523-acre wooded area consists of long, narrow valleys and flat mountaintops. Visitors are welcome to hunt, fish, hike and birdwatch on state game lands.
A large stone marker at the entrance to State Game Land 25 in Glen Hazel commemorates the first purchase of land by the Pennsylvania Game Commission from the proceeds of hunting license fees. The purchase took place in 1920. Sportsman friends of John MacFarlane Phillips erected the marker in 1948 in recognition of this member of the Game Commission’s (1905-1924) untiring efforts to develop a statewide system of public hunting grounds and game refuges.
Elk State Forest: The western section of this 195,911-acre forest is adjacent to Elk State Park. Hiking, birding, fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation is permitted on state forest land. 814-486-3353
Explore Pennsylvania Wilds
Pennsylvania Wilds is two million acres of public lands for hiking, biking, fishing, boating, hunting, and exploration in northcentral Pennsylvania.
Highlights of the area are elk watching at the Elk Country Visitor Center, scenic PA Route 6, Pine Creek Gorge (PA Grand Canyon), the darkest skies in the east at Cherry Springs State Park, and hundreds of miles of backpacking trails, bike paths, and trout fishing streams. www.pawilds.com
Maps and Downloadables
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Interactive GIS Map
The Interactive GIS Map uses Geographic Information Systems to create a map that does not need to be downloaded and features driving directions, searchable park amenities and customizable maps. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Elk State Park is about eight miles east of Wilcox on SR 1006 and about nine miles south of Clermont on SR 1001.
GPS DD: Lat. 41.60621 Long. -78.55995
Driving Directions: The Interactive GIS Map has turn-by-turn driving directions to the park office from the Park Information Window. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Elk State Park