My Day Out at Yellow Creek State Park

I  visited Yellow Creek State Park in Indiana, during COVID-19 restrictions.

Even though all the facilities were closed, including the office, bathrooms, and playgrounds, I still had a great time exploring the trails, lake, and creeks.

Located in Penn Run, western-central Pennsylvania, the park was established in 1963 to provide outdoor recreation for nearby residents.

In 1969, a dam was built to create the 720-acre lake where visitors can swim, boat, kayak, and fish.

There are about 5-7 miles of hiking trails around the lake and creeks, some of which also accommodate mountain biking.

While Yellow Creek State Park doesn’t have a campground, they offer 6 camping cottages (2 dog-friendly) and 4 yurts for overnight stays.

However, there are no hot showers available, which might be a deal-breaker for some.

Whole Day Outside

Yellow Creek State Park early in the morning

The Yellow Creek State Park website claimed they had five miles of hiking trails, but since the park mainly emphasizes the lake, we weren’t sure what to anticipate.

The park map turned out to be quite confusing, with many trails overlapping and intersecting, making navigation a bit tricky.

We decided to start our hike at the double-loop parking lot in the bottom-right quadrant of the map since it provides access to most trails.

Our goal was to take the Simpson Trail to reach the dam.

Map of the Simpson Trail at Yellow Creek State Park

However, we ended up at the Waterfowl Observatory instead.

Once we got back on track, we crossed so many trails that we realized we were probably heading in the wrong direction and wouldn’t make it to the dam anytime soon.

Simpson Trail - Can be Confusing

It’s worth noting that the loops and signs can be confusing, with trails heading in various directions and not always clearly marked on the map.

Many intersections offer three or four options, but only two are shown on the map.

We decided to backtrack on the Ridge Top Trail to check out a few footbridges.

However, somehow we ended up on the other side of Ridge Top Trail and came down the hill right back where we started.

For day trips, it’s always smart to pack a picnic, and there are plenty of spots to stop for lunch or snacks at Yellow Creek State Park, including pavilions and a small beach area.

After enjoying a picnic lunch at the pavilion located at the bottom of Simpson Trail, we decided to drive down Campground Road to Grandpap’s Cove, a boat-access area with limited parking.

Yellow Creek State Park Beach

We took a brief, muddy hike to Grandma’s Cove along the dirt road, where we spotted a few fishermen and boats before heading back to the car.

To cap off the day, we parked at the Park Office and embarked on a quick half-mile loop on Laurel Run Trail.

Even before reaching the trailhead, we noticed we weren’t the first visitors of the day.

Megan (my wife) spotted what looked like a giant bear print, but luckily, we didn’t encounter the owner during our hike!

Laurel Run Trail turned out to be a hit with the dogs.

About half of this flat trail runs alongside a dog-friendly creek, allowing our furry companions to splash around and clean off after a day of muddy hiking.

In terms of wildlife, we came across two little puppies along the way… alongside with some interesting mushrooms!