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 the educational 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 create the lake. The creeks have lots of yellow clay in the banks and bottoms.
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 urged 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. There is a small picnic area on the north shore near the North Boat Launch and another is near the park office.
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 large, modern bathhouse and a snack bar are in the beach area. Pets are not permitted on the beach.
Boating: up to 20 hp motors permitted
The 720-acre Yellow Creek Lake has boat launching ramps on the north shore, the south shore, in the beach/day-use area and also a small launch in Grampaps Cove. A boat rental in the beach/day use area offers motorboats, canoes, rowboats, paddleboats, pontoon boats and small sailboats.
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.
Located in the main day-use area, the boat rental is open from Memorial Day through the end of September. 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, peddle boats, sailboats, and kayaks. 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.
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.
Hiking: 5 miles of trails
Laurel Run Trail is a 0.5-mile loop which starts at the park office. This easy hike is especially beautiful in the spring when wildflowers abound. 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 get to this trail, follow PA 259 south from the park office. After taking a right turn at the stop sign, turn onto Hoffman Road, the second road to your right. This road ends at a small parking area where Damsite Trail begins.
The mountain bike trails on the north and south shores are for hikers and bikers. The trails are easy riding with some challenging sections, which have alternate routes to bypass the obstacles.
Stay the Night
Pets are prohibited in the cottage/yurt area.
Six 13’ by 15’ cottages along the lakeshore near McFeaters Cove are available for rent the second weekend in April through the first weekend in November. Each cottage sleeps five people in single bunks and double/single bunks. The cottages have wooden floors, windows, porch, picnic table, fire ring, and electric lights and outlets. Showerhouses are nearby.
These four Mongolian-style tents are round, on a wooden deck and sleep five people in single bunks and double/single bunks. Yurts have a cooking stove, refrigerator, countertop, table, chairs, electric heat and outlets, fire ring and picnic table. Restrooms are nearby. Yurts are available for rent the second weekend in April through the first weekend in November.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
While no special area or trail sy stem has been developed for these winter sports, the park has many opportunities for cross-country skiers and snowshoers of all levels of experience. Trails, open fields, forested areas and abandoned roads may all be used for exploring the park in winter.
An area is maintained opposite the south boat launch for sledding and tobogganing. If you decide that another hill looks more inviting or challenging, please be alert for old fences that may still be in the area.
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.
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.
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.
Ice boating is permitted on the lake provided the boat displays a launch permit. Iceboats are not available for rent.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
Educational programs are offered to the public from April 1st to October 31st. 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.
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.
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 on July 4, 1976. An additional 159 acres of developed land were purchased in 1982.
170 Route 259 Highway, Penn Run, PA 15765-5941More Info