Discover the Wonders of Bear Creek State Park

Nestled within the beautiful Cumberland State Forest, Bear Creek State Park is a haven for outdoor adventurers, campers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts. And I am always surprised by what I can find in my proverbial backyard. This is a great place for hiking, swimming, kayaking, fishing, or just having a relaxing camping experience.

Trails for Every Adventurer

Bear Creek State Park has several trails you can explore. All trails within Bear Creek State Park are dedicated exclusively to hiking. I was able to loop around the lake for a quick 3-mile hike and also connect to other trails to explore the area.

Willis River Trail

For those seeking more extensive exploration, the 16-mile-long Willis River Trail winds through Cumberland State Forest. This scenic trail offers a moderate challenge and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of nature.

Cumberland Multi-use Trail

If you prefer a multi-sport adventure, the 15.7-mile Cumberland Multi-use Trail welcomes bicycles, horses, and hikers. Although this trail doesn’t loop back to Bear Creek State Park and is situated within the state forest, it’s a fantastic choice for those looking to expand their exploration.

Swimming in Scenic Waters

Cool off and relax at Bear Creek State Park’s beach area, where unguarded swimming is available. Guests can swim within the designated area at their own risk. Be sure to check the “know before you go” section in the General Information for updates on swimming conditions before your visit. Remember, swimming elsewhere in the park is prohibited to ensure everyone’s safety.

Fishing and Boating Adventures

The park’s 40-acre lake is home to largemouth bass, crappie, bream, and channel catfish. Additionally, the Willis River, a small and slow tributary of the James River, winds through Cumberland State Forest, providing a peaceful fishing spot for those with a canoe or small boat.


You’ll find two canoe launches with access to the river in Cumberland State Forest, allowing for hours of paddling enjoyment. There’s also a boat ramp at Bear Creek Lake for non-gasoline-powered boats, along with a universally accessible fishing pier for anglers of all abilities.

Camping Under the Stars

Camping is available from the first Friday in March until the first Monday in December. Keep in mind that from Feb. 15 through April 30, a burn ban is in effect from midnight to 4 p.m., prohibiting open-air fires unless there’s a camp host present.

Each site includes a metal fire ring that can be used for campfires or as a charcoal grill. Firewood is available for purchase at the entrance to the Acorn Camping Loop. You’re allowed up to two vehicles per site in addition to your camping unit.

Bear Creek Lake Camping

Acorn Loop Campground

We camped by the water and this section of the campground features 11 water-view tent sites without electric and water hookups. If you want to be super close to the water, spot 11 is the winner.

Pet Guidelines

Pets are welcome but must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet and attended at all times. Please note, that pets are not allowed on the beach.

Plan Your Visit Today

Bear Creek State Park is a great destination for a quick getaway even if you live just over an hour away like I do. Whether you’re here for hiking, swimming, fishing, or camping, you’ll find activities that cater to your adventurous spirit.

Pack your gear and head to Bear Creek State Park for an unforgettable experience.

German by birth, living, hiking, and camping in the US. Addicted to Coffee. Enjoys going to concerts. Also, Artist + Author. I love to encourage you to explore beyond your backyard. 

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