Go RV camping at Kettle Creek Lake in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, and you'll be able to forget about the stresses of civilization for a few days. The one-hundred and sixty acre reservoir is hidden in the wilderness of the Kettle Creek State Park and surrounded by four state forests plus numerous wild areas. Two-mile long Kettle Creek Lake formed after the COE dammed Kettle Creek in the early 1960s. While the corps still control many of the natural, conservation, and wild areas around the lake, the campground there falls under the management of the Pennsylvania State Parks Department. It's real Grizzly Adams outback country where there's little or no communications signal, so plan on using a map and compass to find the campground rather than relying on the GPS app on your cellphone.
Kettle Creek Lake is one of the quietest and most idyllic locations imaginable for canoeing, kayaking, sailing, or navigating in a craft with an electric engine. Motorized boating with gas-powered vessels is not permitted on the reservoir. The lake has a top-notch reputation for quality fishing and hunting, and they are two of the prime activities practiced by the majority of campers who pitch their RVs at Kettle Creek Lake. There are fantastic hiking trails to explore around the shore as well as in the nearby state forests and in the neighboring wild areas where you'll have a good chance of spotting lots of the wildlife native to the region. At Kettle Creek Lake, you can expect to have a proper get-back-to-nature RV vacation where you can truly forget about the rest of the world for a while.
Kettle Creek Lake is not the easiest of places to get to. The closest urban area is the town of Westport, and that's where you need to head for to get onto the unmarked Kettle Creek Road to the reservoir campground. If you're motoring your rig to the lake from DuBois, you'll have a scenic drive along the perimeter of the Moshannon State Forest on the PA 255. After you're through Weedville, the road begins to twist and turn as it climbs up to Driftwood, where you can hit the PA 120 for Westport. It's a trip that will take you just under two hours.
If you're swapping the urban jungle of New York for some human-free wilderness time, you'll have a relatively straight run on the I 80 westbound until you join the PA 120 at Lock Haven. Once you're on the PA 120, you'll know you've left the city far behind as you'll be driving through the beautiful Sproul State Forest. The journey should take around five hours, all told. For all RV campers heading up to Kettle Creek Lake - the Pennsylvania Parks Department recommend using a printed map to make sure you stay on the right road.
The Lower Campground is located on the western shore of Kettle Creek Lake just south of the state park's boat ramp facility. It's a medium-sized campground with forty-plus campsites suitable for RVs, most of which have a standard fifty-amp electric hook-up and are furnished with grills and picnic tables. There are no water hook-ups, but drinking water is available on-site as well as a dump station. Campground amenities include showers, restrooms, and a children's playground. There is also an information center and an on-duty ranger should you require assistance. Pets are not permitted at this campground.
The Upper Campground at Kettle Creek Lake is situated closer to the boat ramp than the Lower Campground. It's a pet-friendly, primitive site with twenty-seven pitches suitable for RVs. Half of the campsites are equipped with standard electric hook-ups the rest are not. Campers pitched at the Upper Campground are permitted to use the facilities at the Lower Campground.
Launch a canoe or kayak on Kettle Creek Lake and you'll be able to have a tranquil paddle around the shoreline or out to the middle of the reservoir without encountering any motorized vessels speeding around. If there's enough wind, you can hoist the sails on your catamaran or sailboard and skim across the water. At the north end of the reservoir, you'll find a boat ramp and mooring for sixty craft. If you want to tie up there overnight you will need a permit. There's a day-use fee for using the facility, but the moorings are free if you're staying at the campgrounds.
Whether you pitch up at Kettle Creek Lake for a week in the summer or go just for the day in winter, you'll have an excellent chance to hook some trout for your dinner. The lake is regularly re-stocked during the winter, prior to the ice fishing season, to help maintain the fish population. As well as a good-sized trout, you might also catch some bass, white sucker, or panfish.
Focus your binoculars on either the lake or the trees, and you'll be amazed by the variety of wildlife there is at Kettle Creek Lake. Any time of the year is good for spotting bald eagles, blue heron, or kingfishers while the summer months are best for osprey and winter for golden eagles. In the woods, you could be lucky enough to encounter elk, black bears, or white-tailed deer as well as the odd turkey or two if it's not to close to Thanksgiving.
There are multiple authorized areas for hunting at Kettle Creek Lake and in the surrounding state forests during the relevant seasons. Common game includes turkey, grouse, bears, deer, and squirrels. If you need to teach a new hunting dog a bunch of tricks, you can do that from after Labour Day through to the end of March so long as you do the training within a designated hunting zone.
At Kettle Creek Lake, you'll have a wide choice of trails with differing levels of difficulty from a gentle stroll through the woods to a major fifty-mile hike. From the campgrounds in Kettle Creek State Park, you can access over two miles of easy to moderate treks perfect for spotting wildlife. From the Lower Campground, you can hit the Donut Trail, which runs for fifty-plus miles up mountains, through valleys, and over burbling creeks.
Kettle Creek Lake and Kettle Creek State Park, as remote as they are, are popular spots for winter sports like sledding and tobogganing, which are practiced on the slopes near the park office. Though the campgrounds are closed in winter, the day-use areas remain open to allow cross country skiers and snow-shoers access to the many ungroomed trails.