Raccoon Creek State Park
Raccoon Creek State Park is one of Pennsylvania’s largest and most visited state parks. It began as a Recreational Demonstration Area operated by the National Park Service in the 1930s during the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) era. The park encompasses 7,572 acres and features the beautiful 100-acre Raccoon Lake. Facilities are a mix of modern and rustic with group camps from the CCC era.
Hiking - Mountain Biking - Horseback Riding - Picnicking - Swimming - Boating - Fishing - Hunting - Recreation Hall - Education - Cross-country Skiing - Ice Fishing - Ice Skating - Snowmobiling - Organized Group Cabin Camps - Organized Group Tenting - Backpacking - Lakeside Lodge - Cabins - Camping
Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. The beach, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.
Picnicking: About 200 picnic tables are available throughout the park. All picnic areas have grills, drinking water, and modern restrooms.
Swimming: The 500-foot, ADA accessible, sand/turf beach is open from late May to mid-September, 8:00 AM to sunset. Please read and follow posted rules for swimming. Swim at your own risk. A bathhouse and a concession stand are nearby.
Explore swimming for more information.
Boating: electric motors only
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: Raccoon Lake has bluegill, sunfish, bullhead and channel catfish, yellow perch, walleye, muskellunge, crappie, sauger, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. The lake is open to fishing year round. Coldwater fish like brown and rainbow trout are stocked and found both in the lake and in feeder streams. An ADA accessible fishing peninsula is located on Raccoon Lake near the beach. The twelve-acre Upper Lake provides catch and release fishing year round. A short stretch of Traverse Creek near the park office is regulated specifically for children under 12.
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: Over 7,000 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, rabbit, pheasant and squirrel. Early and late goose hunting is permitted.
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.
Hiking: 44 miles
Mountain Biking: 17 miles
Horseback Riding: 16 miles of equestrian trails
Recreation Hall: Located in the Modern Cabin Area, the Recreation Hall can be rented for group meetings or family reunions. It accommodates 100 people. The facility is a large hall with modern bathrooms, kitchen, and fireplace. Reservations for the hall can be made for a fee at the park office. The hall is ADA accessible.
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
Camping: rustic sites
Explore camping for more information.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: one host positions
Backpacking: 19.5 miles
Modern Cabins: The ten modern cabins contain a furnished living area, kitchen/dining area, full bathroom, two or three bedrooms, and sleep six or eight people. The cabins have electric heat and are available for rent year round. Cabin 10 is ADA accessible. Cabin users must bring their own cooking and eating utensils and bed and bath linens. Pets are prohibited.
The summer season rental period begins the second Friday in June and ends the Friday after the third Thursday in August. During this time, all cabins must be rented for a one week period, beginning on a Friday. All other rental periods are considered off-season and cabins must be rented for a minimum of two nights, up to a maximum of 14 consecutive days.
Explore cabins for more information.
Lakeside Lodge: This three-bedroom cottage sleeps ten people. The lodge has a full kitchen with cookware and table ware, dining room, one and one-half bathrooms, living room with a fireplace, laundry facilities, central heat, and air conditioning. It also has a large patio area with an outdoor gas grill. Renters must bring their own linens. Pets are prohibited.
Items the renters need to bring with them are bed linens, pillows, blankets, towels, dish soap, laundry detergent and first aid kit. Optional items to consider bringing are a bow saw, matches, lawn chairs, cell phone, TV w/antenna, and radio.
The summer season rental period begins the second Friday in June and ends the Friday after the third Thursday in August. During this time, the lodge must be rented for a one week period, beginning on a Friday. All other rental periods are considered off-season and the lodge must be rented for a minimum of two nights, up to a maximum of 14 consecutive days.
Organized Group Tenting: There are six group tenting areas in the western side of the park. Sioux A and Sioux B are located within the Sioux Rustic Campground and accommodate 20 and 60 people respectively. Sioux is open year-round and pets are permitted.
The more remote Pioneer area is divided into four group tenting sites: Apache, 60 people; Blackfeet, 20 people; Cherokee, 60 people; and Mohawk, 40 people. Pioneer areas are open from mid-April to the end of November and pets are prohibited.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Organized Group Cabin Camps: These three camps are rented from mid-April (earliest) to mid-October (latest), for a nominal fee to nonprofit, organized, adult and youth groups like scout, YMCA, school, church, or other organizations. The camps contain rustic lodges, dining halls, cabins, and utility buildings. Camp #1 holds 30 campers. Camp #2 holds 130 campers. Camp #3 holds 80 campers. Reservations are made at the park office for long or short rental periods. Seasonal availability varies.
Maps and rosters for the group camps are on the maps tab, above.
Explore organized group cabins for more information.
Spectacular ice formations may be seen at the Frankfort Mineral Springs in the winter.
Cross-country Skiing: Most trails are open to cross-country skiing, however it is recommended to avoid trails rated "most difficult." A designated 2.2-mile cross-country skiing trail is located between the beach access road and the roadside east picnic area.
Snowmobiling: Snowmobiling is permitted on four miles of Nichol and Pioneer Camp roads, conditions permitting. Parking is available in a lot off PA 168 and Nichol Road. Please use caution because these roads are also open to hunters with disabilities.
Sledding: Sledding is permitted.
Ice Fishing: Ice fishing is permitted on the 101-acre Raccoon Lake as conditions permit. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Ice Skating: Ice skating is permitted on the 101-acre Raccoon Lake as conditions permit. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
The park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks, and evening programs participants gain appreciation, understanding, and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources.
Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Teacher workshops are also available. Group programs must be arranged in advance and may be scheduled by calling the Wildflower Reserve Interpretive Center. Programs are offered year round. The center has exhibits and brochures on natural history and historic areas of the park. For more information, contact the Wildflower Reserve Interpretive Center at 724-899-3611.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming events.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
The area near the western edge of the park is named for Robert Doak who was born in Ireland in 1750 and immigrated to eastern Pennsylvania with his brothers in 1767. In 1772, he arrived here and began homesteading until enlisting in the Colonial Army during the Revolutionary War in 1776. After the war, he left the army and met and married Sarah McKibben. Their 800-acre homestead was soon busy with ten children helping with the many chores.
The farm was handed down to Robert and Sarah’s descendants. The last Doak to live on the farm was Emma, who married Victor Nickles. The farm house, barn, and other buildings are gone. However, the current building stands on the original barn foundation from the early 1800s.
Today, Doak Field is the site of many park programs on outdoor recreation and local history. For more information, call the Wildlife Reserve Interpretive Center at 724-899-3611.
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.
Many opportunities exist at Raccoon Creek State Park to see a variety of wildlife. When observing wildlife, remember to maintain a safe distance and never feed wild animals.
For birders, the Audubon Trail in the Wildflower Reserve is great for warblers. Waterfowl are abundant around Raccoon Lake and Wetland Trail. In winter it is common to see large flocks of turkeys near the campground and roadside picnic areas.
Deer and raccoon are common throughout the park. Most of the larger stream valleys have active beaver, muskrat, and mink. In the more remote western side of the park, you may encounter the elusive red fox, skunk, and opossum.
Raccoon Creek State Park Wildflower Reserve
The 314-acre Wildflower Reserve contains one of the most diverse stands of wildflowers in western Pennsylvania. Over 700 species of plants have been identified in the Reserve.
Trails lead through a variety of habitats like, oak-hickory forest, pine plantations, woodland meadows and flood plain forest along Raccoon Creek. Peak wildflower blooms occur in late April and August.
The creation and development of Raccoon Creek State Park is directly linked to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal plan to stimulate the economy in the 1930s and to start the nation on a sound conservation program.
Raccoon Creek was chosen as one of five Recreational Demonstration Areas (RDA) in Pennsylvania developed under the federal Emergency Conservation Work act. RDA sites were developed on primarily deforested, non-sustainable, and over-used agricultural lands with the goal of reclaiming the area to a natural state. Another goal was to provide outdoor recreation for large urban populations. Only 25 miles from Pittsburgh, the area that is now Raccoon Creek State Park was an ideal choice.
Land acquisitions began in 1934 and by 1935 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) along with local men under the Works Progress Administration began developing the area for the National Park Service. Projects included three organized group camps, picnic areas, roads, trails, the dam for the upper lake, the establishment of nurseries for reforestation, and the quarrying of stone for bridges and culverts.
Between 1935 and 1941, over 700 men from the CCC worked at Raccoon Creek. The men were housed in two camps, SP-6 and SP-16. Local experienced men, commonly referred to as LEMs, provided day labor and training in trades such as carpentry and masonry for the younger men.
The park remained with the National Park Service until September 1945, when it was transferred to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The history of this RDA is appreciated today in the forests, group camps, stone work, roads, and stories of the men who built Raccoon Creek State Park.
For more information on the CCC explore the CCC Years.
Before the footsteps of early settlers, herds of elk, white-tailed deer, and even woodland bison roamed the forests and meadows. Streams teemed with fish and fur-bearing animals, such as mink, fox, and beaver. In the rock crevices, cougars and wolves made their dens and hunted beneath old growth stands of hemlock, white pine, and oak.
In the early to mid-1700s, the Shawnee inhabited villages along the banks of the Ohio River. The Delaware, also known as Lenape, moved into western Pennsylvania after being pushed westward by settlers in the expanding east. An American Indian trail became today’s PA 168 following the western boundary of the park.
During exploration of the Ohio Valley, the French contended that the explorer of a river was entitled to all lands watered by its tributaries. They defended their claim to the Ohio River region by their discovery of the Mississippi River in the late 1680s. The English insisted that the various independent American Indian nations owned the lands.
The English had strong alliances with the American Indians and these tribes and lands were under the protection of the British Crown. The rivalry between the two countries eventually sparked the French and Indian War from 1754-1763.
With defeat of the French and later defeat of the American Indians during Pontiac’s Rebellion of 1763, the lands south of the Ohio River became relatively free of conflict. Settlers began homesteading in this area in the early 1770s. Levi Dungan became the first settler in what became Beaver County. He claimed 1,000 acres within present day Raccoon Creek State Park and established his homestead at the head of Kings Creek in 1772.
Hostilities between the American Indians and the settlers led to many tragedies in the region. Most attacks occurred at the settlements of Levi Dungan and Matthew Dillow, located in modern-day Hillman State Park.
King's Creek Cemetery: The cemetery on the park’s southwestern boundary, off of PA 168, is the final resting place of many of the first settlers of the area. There are 142 tombstones. The first tombstone is that of James Leeper, who died in 1810, and the last is that of James Cameron, who died in 1906. Some of the men buried in this cemetery served in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Some common pioneer family names include: Cameron, Gibson, Harper, Leeper, Martin, Miller, Ralston, Ramsey, and Standish.
Frankfort Mineral Springs: The springs are located at the upper end of a wooded ravine with a U-shaped shale and sandstone grotto. The stream carved the small grotto from solid rock over thousands of years, forming a picturesque waterfall spilling over the rim of the ravine.
The springs are located opposite the falls, emerging directly from the shale and sandstone. The water in the stream originates from surface drainage, while the spring water comes from an underground reservoir. The stream water may dry completely, whereas the spring water flows year round.
In 1827, land including the springs was sold to Edward McGinnis. He found the mineral waters “healing to his ailments” which led to the development of a health spa and resort.
The nearby small village of Frankfort saw rapid growth after development of the springs and adopted the name Frankfort Springs. The springs later became known as the Frankfort Mineral Springs.
Hike the short Mineral Springs Trail from the parking lot on PA 18 or from the park office. A detailed brochure is available at the park office.
Keep in Touch
Add yourself to the DCNR's online community to receive info on this park, or parks in general.
Like to spend time in the outdoors, meet friendly people and help make Pennsylvania State Parks great? Volunteering at a park might be for you.
Becoming a Conservation Volunteer is easy.
Scouts and organized groups can earn free camping by completing service projects.
Join a Friends Group
The Friends of Raccoon Creek State Park is a non-profit group that works to further the goals of Raccoon Creek State Park. www.friendsofraccoon.org
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Believing that each generation is responsible for leaving behind a better legacy of good conservation, the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) was created in 1999 to give supporters and users of Pennsylvania's parks and forests a positive way to contribute to the conservation of our publicly-owned properties. The Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation welcomes the support of individuals and businesses who share a commitment to conserving, protecting, and enhancing the natural, scenic, and recreational areas of this commonwealth. www.paparksandforests.org
Make a Donation
To a park - find this park's address below
To a park's friends group - see above
To a park or the Bureau of State Parks - Pennsylvania Parks and Forestry Foundation www.paparksandforests.org
Through a purchase at a park gift shop
Thank you for your support!
We love when young people ask us how to get involved!
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.
Explore education for more information on these and other programs.
Explore the Calendar of Events to find a program near you.
Do you take conservation personally? iConservePA is a Web site managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whose vision is to inspire citizens to value their natural resources, engage in conservation practices and experience the outdoors. Take conservation personally.
Come Work with Us
Pennsylvania State Parks and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources offer a wide range of civil service and non-civil service jobs, from foresters, to rangers, to engineers, to educators, to botanists and so much more. Learn what is currently available.
Tell us What You Think
Contact this park with compliments, concerns and issues about the park.
Raccoon Creek State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Beaver County Recreation and Tourism Department. www.visitbeavercounty.com
Hillman State Park provides hunting and a radio-controlled model airplane field.
State game lands 189 and 117 provide hunting and general recreation. 724-238-9523
Linsly Outdoor Center is affiliated with the Linsly School and offers organized summer camps for adults and children. 724-899-2100
Maps and Downloadables
Below are many of the maps and publications for this park. You can read them or download them and might need special software (all free) to view the publications.
You must have the free Adobe Reader to view the maps and brochures that are in pdf format (.pdf).
Alternate versions of the text of the brochures are in rich text and text formats. Click on the files to view them. To download (.rtf) files:
Raccoon Creek State Park Map (.pdf) (2,813 kb, 6/16)
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.
Raccoon Creek State Park cabin map (.pdf) (694 kb, 12/13)
Organized Group Cabin Camp Maps
Camp1 Organized Group Cabin Camp Map and Roster (.doc) (610 kb, 6/14)
Common Birds Brochure
Common Birds of Raccoon Creek State Park (.pdf) (322 kb, 7/16)
Lake Depth Map
Raccoon Creek State Park is in southern Beaver County. Access the park from the east and west on US 30, or from the north and south on PA 18, which passes directly through the park.
GPS DD: Lat. 40.50353 Long. -80.42473
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.
Raccoon Creek State Park