Crooked Creek Lake sits in Western Pennsylvania, not far from Pittsburgh. The lake provides flood control for the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. Construction of the lake and dam finished in 1940. Since then, it has been estimated that flood damages over $548 million have been prevented. During periods of drought, the dam releases water for conservation, recreation, and industrial use.
The lake attracts many visitors for recreational activities. The sandy swimming beach with its groomed sand is popular on warm spring and summer days. Boat ramps make accessing the lake easy for enjoying boating and other water recreation, like fishing. Fishing is also welcome anywhere on the peninsula except for the swim beach. Birding enthusiasts won’t be disappointed with over 200 species known to live or migrate through the area.
There is a combination of tent and RV sites at Crooked Creek Lake. With 51 campsites in total, it is encouraged to make reservations in advance of your stay. None of the campsites have hookups, so come prepared for boondocking. The campground does have drinking water and flush toilets nearby for a comfortable camping experience. Pets are welcome in most of the recreation areas, including the campsite.
Located in Ford City, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles away from Pittsburgh, Crooked Creek Lake is about a 20-minute drive from the recreation areas to Ford City. If you need to run to town for groceries or gas, you won’t have to drive far. Snow and chilly temperatures are common during the off-season. If visiting the lake during the winter, check weather and road conditions.
The roads in the recreation areas are paved, though the parking pads at each campsite are gravel. Those in large RVs shouldn’t have trouble navigating the roads leading to and in the recreation areas.
Crooked Creek Lake Recreation Area has a campground that can easily accommodate large rigs. It is encouraged to leave your RV or trailer parked at your campsite and drive, walk, or bike to the day-use area. Parking is available at the day-use area though, it can fill up quickly, especially near the swim beach.
The Crooked Creek Lake Campground has 51 sites, which are a mix of both tent and RV sites. None of the campsites, even the RV sites, have hookups. The parking pads at each site are gravel, and most are level. The campground is shaded by the surrounding trees making it comfortable even on the hottest days. The campsites are furnished with a picnic table and campfire ring. You'll find flush toilets and drinking water at the campground. The campground and most of the recreation areas are pet-friendly. However, pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
Boating, waterskiing, and jet skiing are popular water activities at the lake. Whether you plan to enjoy water sports or relax during a leisurely afternoon, boating is a wonderful way to enjoy a sunny day at Crooked Creek Lake. You'll find boat ramps at Crooked Creek Lake and Hancock Bend Recreation Areas. Ensure all boating rules are followed for a safe boating experience for you and others on the water.
Between May and September, swimming is a popular activity at Crooked Creek Lake. The swimming area is buoyed off, keeping the boats away from the swimming area. A sandy beach is on the peninsula where swimmers can dry off, or sunbathers can lounge. The beach sand is groomed each day during the swimming season.
Picnicking is a popular pastime at Crooked Creek Lake. Those looking to have a picnic have several options as picnic areas are spread across the land. Each picnic table has multiple tables and charcoal grills. You can cook your food right where you’ll be enjoying your meal. There are also six picnic shelters for larger gatherings that can be reserved. Each shelter has many picnic tables and grills. Visitors will find restrooms and other amenities near most of the shelters.
Fishing is popular at the lake and anglers should have no trouble finding a spot. Fishing is allowed anywhere on the peninsula with the exception of the sandy swim beach. For those who want to head to deeper water, a boat ramp is available for use. There are many different types of fish in the lake including bass, sunfish, crappie, and muskie.
With nearly 200 species of birds that have been observed in the area, Crooked Creek Lake is a prime birdwatching spot for birding enthusiasts. Woodpeckers, finch, and northern cardinal are common to the park. During most months, bald eagles may be sighted soaring in the sky or perched high in a tree. Canadian geese pass through during the fall and spring as they migrate south. Do not feed the waterfowl. Food may make them sick, and they could become overly comfortable around humans.
There are several playgrounds throughout the day-use areas at Crooked Creek Lake, including one at the campground. Each has a variety of equipment such as swings for kids to play and climb on. The playgrounds are perfect for children to play between other activities or while the adults relax at the campground or enjoy other amenities.