This is by far my favorite campground I’ve been to yet. The view of the river was unbeatable and the hike up the mountain way beyond worth it. I already can’t wait to come back.
Like most PA State Park campgrounds, prime sites cater to RVs, including all of the creekside lower campground. Which isn't to say tent and hammock campers don't have some nice options in the upper campground — including site 50, which is secluded and spacious enough for 2-3 tents — but if you want flush toilets and showers, you'll need to pay $4 and head to the lower campground. (It would be nice if the DCNR added some walk/hike-in sites, or even Adirondack shelters along the long-distance Donut Hole Trail that cuts through the park south of the dam.) Nice day hike: you can make a 7.5 loop out of the Nature Trail that starts at the upper campground, linking with the Butler Trail to the Kettle Creek Vista and returning on the Donut Hole. (Be sure to take the high water crossing unless you feel like wading into the lower campground.)
The upper campground has a rustic feel, beautiful views and is a great location for wildlife encounters. While it has some amenities (electric on a few RV sites; scullery area near the pit toilets; showers available at lower campground), these grounds are away from the bustle of the outside world. We are tent campers, and without the need for hookup and never having been there, we reserved site 45--but do not recommend it for its challenging slope. When a loud, disrespectful family set up nearby that first night for a long weekend, we spoke with the camp host (helpful, amenable Jim), who suggested we ask about site 71, the most removed of all the sites. Went to the camp office and obtained it for the rest of our week-long stay--and it was perfect. (While it had a hookup that we didn't need/use, we did pay extra for it--but well worth the seclusion.) Super quiet back there and totally private. Some of the rustic tent sites looked lovely, too (did not note best site numbers; sorry), but we cannot recommend #71 enough. If you're an RV camper, however, the sites with the vista views overlooking the reservoir are amazing, if not somewhat close together.
We wanted to encounter wildlife; went looking for it and found it! Everything seemed to be about an hour or more away on winding roads, but that was okay; love the meandering. We went to:
- Hyner View (gorgeous vistas -- and also came across a mama rattlesnake sunning on a back road and took photos from the safety of our car!);
- Pine Creek Gorge (Leonard Harrison State Park) more amazing views;
- Benezette to find elk (wild herd at dusk on Winslow Hill, complete with mama and baby--then three buck sauntering through town!); and
- lovely nearby Kettle Creek Vista. We also saw a few elk and lots of deer as we drove along the river's edge over the Leidy Bridge.
Pennsylvania is gorgeous!
We also enjoyed meeting Julie at the Lock Haven Visitors' Center and had our only meal out at Deb's in Cross Fork. For ice cream treats (a weakness): Ice Shack near Lock Haven; Old Bull Cafe in Benezette; the kiosk at the top of Pine Creek Gorge.
A very restful, quiet week in early June was just what we needed, and Kettle Creek State Park Upper Campground was wonderful.
great lake for kayaking or fishing. Nice campground and picnic area too. some very pretty views. lots of wildlife and trails too.
So relaxing! Small state park campground. Lower campground has 50 amp electric. Well-kept, clean restroom/showers. Creekside sites let you drop kayak directly into creek. 40 ft max campers due to space/turning contraints. Not for class A rigs. Long campers up to that size should use south loop of lower campground. Large reservoir lake part of park 3 mi up from lower campground for more fishing/kayaking/electric trolling motors. Lots of wildlife; PA elk , Bald eagles. Be aware of timber rattlesnakes in area. Upper campground rustic, up on hill overlooking reservoir; no showers, must come to lower campground. Renovo closest town for fuel/groceries about 20 minutes away. No concession/supplies at park. State forest roads & trails for hiking & ATV's. Playground for kids. Reservoir area has large picnicking area, volleyball, lots of space, and best launch.There is cellular service, but it drops in some areas of park. The large damn up above lower campground keeps creek level steady even with heavy downpours. Creek by campground is gentle current, shallow. No swimming or wading allowed in creek campground area. Fishing from kayak/canoe or shore only. Gave it 4 stars only because they need more gravel in some sites and because DCNR should give more info on size contstraints.
Have been 2x this summer with a 3d trip booked after Labor Day. All sites gorgeous with Lower Campground #25 the best, also 3-6 very nice, right on the water. Awesome kayaking in creek above & below reservoir as well as res itself. Great fishing too!
Small enough place to not be crazy even on weekends/holidays. Haven't stayed at Upper Campground but it's beautiful too. Plenty of room to play in this creek valley in remotevPA mountains.
Excellent facilities, well maintained. No water on sites but bibs near by to fill campers & jugs.
Cindy in Admin VERY helpful.