Yellow Creek State Park
The 2,981-acre Yellow Creek State Park is in Indiana County along one of the first “highways” in the state, the Kittanning Path. This trail was used by the Delaware and Shawnee nations and by early settlers.
Today, visitors enjoy the sand beach, picnicking and educational and recreational programs. The 720-acre Yellow Creek Lake is a destination for boaters and anglers. The lake and park are an important rest stop for migrating birds.
The park is named for Yellow and Little Yellow creeks, which flow into the lake. Both creeks contain yellow clay in their banks and bottoms.
Hiking - Mountain Biking - Picnicking - Swimming - Boating - Fishing - Hunting - Orienteering - Education - Cross-country Skiing - Sledding - Snowmobiling - Ice Fishing - Ice Skating - Yurts - Camping Cottages
Picnicking: The beach/day use area has parking for over 4,000 people. Picnic tables, modern restrooms and a limited number of charcoal grills are scattered throughout the area. Visitors are encouraged to provide their own grills. Open ground fires are not permitted in the park. Pets are permitted in the day use area and must be controlled and attended at all times and on a leash or otherwise safely restrained.
Three picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
A small picnic area on the north shore is near the North Boat Launch and another picnic area is near the park office.
Make a reservation.
Swimming: The 800-foot beach is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules. A changing house with an outdoor shower and a snack bar are in the beach area. Pets are prohibited on the beach.
Boating: up to 20 hp motors permitted
Overnight mooring of boats is permitted in the park by special permit only. For your safety, please be certain that required U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices are on board for all passengers.
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.
Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Boat Rental: Located in the main day-use area, the boat rental is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The hours of operation are 11 a .m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends. It rents pontoon boats, motorboats, canoes, peddleboats, kayaks and paddleboards. Boats are rented first-come, first-served, and can be rented by the hour or by the day. Weekly rates are available for our overnight guests. The concession is operated by Yellow Creek State Park with staffing provided by Indiana University of Pennsylvania. For more information, contact the park office 724-357-7913.
Fishing: The 720-acre Yellow Creek Lake is well stocked with most warm-water game fish and panfish. These include smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, muskellunge, northern pike, tiger muskellunge, yellow perch, bluegill and catfish. There is an ADA accessible fishing pier on the north shore. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission big bass regulations are in effect on Yellow Creek Lake.
Laurel Run, Yellow Creek and Little Yellow Creek are stocked with brown and brook trout and provide excellent trout fishing.
The breast of Dragonfly Pond is usable by many people with disabilities, and is also for children 12 years and younger. Access ramps and benches are provided.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Fishing is not permitted in the swimming area, from boat launching docks or in the boat mooring area.
Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Visit the U. S. Geological Survey Web site for the water level of Yellow Creek near Homer City . http://waterdata.usgs.gov/pa/nwis/uv/?site_no=03042280&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00010
Hunting and Firearms: Most of Yellow Creek State Park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, bear, turkey and waterfowl.
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 car, trailer or leased campsite. 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: 5 miles of trails
Ridgetop Trail is a challenging 2-mile trail. It begins in the beach/day-use area and winds through a variety of habitats.
Damsite Trail is a 2.5-mile trail that offers a view of the Yellow Creek Dam. To drive to this trailhead, follow PA 259 south from the park office. After taking a right turn on PA 259 toward Brush Valley, turn onto Hoffman Road, the second road on the right. This road ends at a small parking area where Damsite Trail begins.
Mountain Biking: 18 miles of trails
Orienteering: A small orienteering course is on the north shore near the camping cottages.
Camping Cottages: Six 13’ by 15’ cottages are along the lakeshore near McFeaters Cove. Each cottage sleeps five people in bunk beds. The cottages have wooden floors, windows, porch, picnic table, fire ring, and electric lights and outlets. Restrooms are nearby.
Make a reservation.
Yurts: These round, canvas and wood walled tents have a wooden floor and deck and sleep five people in bunk beds. Yurts have a cooking stove, refrigerator, microwave oven, countertop, table, chairs, electric heat and outlets, fire ring and picnic table. Restrooms are nearby.
Make a reservation.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing: While no special area or trail system has been developed for these winter sports, the park has many opportunities for cross-country skiers and snowshoers of all experience levels.
Sledding: An area for sledding and tobogganing is maintained opposite the south shore boat launch. If you decide that another hill looks more inviting or challenging, please be alert for old fences that may still be in the area.
Snowmobiling: Registered snowmobiles are allowed in one area that is about 350 acres in size. This designated area consists of forests and open fields. The access to this trail area is from the beach/day use area.
Ice Fishing: Sunfish, perch and pike are caught most frequently through the ice at Yellow Creek. Wooden devices for ice rescue are located around all ice use access areas. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply and anglers must display a valid fishing license.
Ice Skating: The lake near the boat rental building in the beach/day use area is available for ice skating. There are facilities here for a warming fire and winter picnics.
Iceboating: Iceboating is permitted on the lake provided the boat displays a launch permit. Iceboats are not available for rental.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
The park offers a variety of environmental, recreational and interpretive programs from April 1 to October 31. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation and understanding of the park’s natural resources. A schedule of activities is available at the park office. The Environmental Learning Classroom is near Dragonfly Pond.
Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Teacher workshops are available. Group programs must be arranged in advance.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of events from today forward.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Wind Turbine: The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) installed small-scale wind turbines to show how alternative energy can reduce pollution and lessen our dependence on fossil fuels.
For hundreds of years, traditional windmills harnessed wind energy to pump water or grind grain. Today's modern equivalent – the wind turbine – uses wind energy to generate electricity which has far less impact on the environment than energy generation based on fossil fuels.
To see how much energy is generated by the park's small-scale wind turbine, and how much energy is used daily, weekly and monthly visit the wind turbine page.
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.
As part of its plan to have a state park within 25 miles of every resident of Pennsylvania, the former Department of Forests and Waters began acquiring land for a park in 1963. An earth and rock dam, creating a 720-acre lake, was completed in 1969. The park was dedicated in 1976. An additional 159 acres of developed land were purchased in 1982.
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.
Join a Friends Group
The non-profit Friends of Yellow Creek (FOYC) aims to include visitors in conserving, protecting, and enhancing the natural, educational, and recreational resources of the park. The Friends conduct activities and projects, as well as host opportunities to volunteering. Any money that donated to the FOYC benefits Yellow Creek State Park directly. As an affiliate chapter of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forestry Foundation, contributions are deductible under the fullest extent of the law. www.foyc.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 Natrual 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.
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Yellow Creek State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Indiana County Tourist Bureau. www.visitindianacountypa.org
State game lands 273 and 248 provide areas for public hunting and general recreation.
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:
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.
Yellow Creek State Park Bird Checklist(.pdf) (1,978 kb, 3/11)
Yellow Creek State Park is along PA 422 between the towns of Ebensburg and Indiana.
GPS DD: Lat. 40.57818 Long. -79.00095
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.
Yellow Creek State Park