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East Branch Clarion River in the Bendigo State Park

The Clarion River at Bendigo State Park. Photo: Clint, Wikimedia

It might not have any camping facilities onsite, and it may be small in comparison to other destinations within the Pennsylvania state park system, but don’t let that stop you from going to Bendigo State Park.

Situated in the Jones Township of Elk County, this 100-acre park enjoys a stunning locale within a tiny valley that is flanked by gorgeous hills.

Only 20 acres of the park is developed, half of which takes the form of a large picnic area. While the other 80 acres feature wild woodlands, which you can choose to explore on foot.

With the east branch of the Clarion River flowing through it, the park is a haven for kayaking, canoeing and fishing for trout.

It also has an excellent swimming pool to enjoy during the warm days of summer, for those who have the urge to go for a dip.


The park is open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset.

During their time at Bendigo State Park, visitors can enjoy a limited selection of outdoor recreational pursuits.

Here are some of the activities you can do whilst there.

Kayaking and Canoeing at Bendigo State Park

The Clarion River’s east branch is a very popular spot for those who enjoy kayaking and canoeing. With people coming from miles away, just to be able to do it here.

When conditions are calm, it is an especially good place for beginners to learn how to navigate these vessels. You will find a canoe launch, along Kilgus Road, around three miles upstream.

All non-powered boats that take to the water must display either a valid boat registration or launch permit. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws and regulations also apply at all times.

Swimming at Bendigo State Park

While the chance to kayak and canoe along the Clarion River is a major drawcard for many visitors to the park, for others, the chance to swim in its fantastic free swimming pool is the big pull.

Open every day between 11 am to 7 pm, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the pool is a terrific place to cool down during the hotter months of the year.

Ranging from three feet to five feet in depth, the pool is lifeguarded for the protection of swimmers. It also has an ADA accessible lift for those who may require it.

Near the swimming pool, you will also find a playground, and a basketball court.

Fishing at Bendigo State Park

As the east branch of the Clarion River meanders its way through the park, fishing is a very popular activity here.

An excellent fishery, it is well stocked with trout, as well as plenty of other coldwater species. So you should have no problem in catching a few, if you decide to cast a line here.

Should you want to do this, just be sure that you have a valid state licence, and abide by the rules and regulations of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

For children, and the elderly, there is a convenient fishing platform behind the pool, which provides them with easy access.

Hiking at Bendigo State Park

Unfortunately, Bendigo State Park does not have any designated hiking trails.

Although, as it is surrounded by picturesque hills, and features a scenic stream and the east branch of the Clarion River, there are some nice places you can explore on foot.

If you do this, be sure to take your camera with you, as you will want to take lots of photos of its attractive landscape.

Nature & Wildlife

The park is blessed with a stunning forest landscape which is made up mainly of northern hardwoods.

This includes the likes of beech, birch, cherry and maple trees. All of which provide plenty of shade during the hotter months of the year.

Picnicking at Bendigo State Park

Given its scenic beauty, it is no wonder that picnicking is a popular recreational activity at Bendigo State Park.

Throughout its stunning landscape, you’ll find over 150 tables situated in different picnic areas. Each of which features charcoal grills, restrooms, drinking water and horseshoe pits.

In addition to these tables, if you are planning to celebrate an event in a larger group, there are three picnic pavilions available, which can be hired for a fee, up to 11 months in advance.

One of which is ADA accessible.

If this pavilion remains unreserved, it is can be used on a first come, first-served basis.

Other local attractions

The park is close to several other public recreational areas including Elk State Forest, Moshannon State Forest, Sproul State Forests, Susquehannock State Forest and Allegheny National Forest.

If you get the chance, all of these places are well worth visiting, for their diverse landscapes and excellent recreational activities.

The nearby town of Johnsonburg is an interesting place to check out too.

Pets at Bendigo State Park

Like in most public recreational spaces in Pennsylvania, leashed pets are allowed in day-use areas, as well as other parts of Bendigo State Park.

However, some restrictions may apply. So it is worth contacting the park’s main office to clarify what they are.

Camping at Bendigo State Park

For those looking for overnight accommodation there are unfortunately no camping facilities at the park.

However, within a 30 mile radius of it there are several campgrounds you can choose to stay at.

These include the likes of Clear Creek State Park in Jefferson County, Kinzua Bridge State Park in McKean County, Parker Dam State Park in Clearfield County and Elk State Park in Elk County.

Between them, all of these parks offer plenty of camping sites for TVs, tents and trailers, as well as cabins, lodges, yurts and organized group tents.

Over in nearby Johnsonburg, you will also find decent hotel, motel and Vrbo accommodation too.

Park Location

Bendigo State Park
State Park Rd,
Wilcox, PA 15870
Phone: 814.778.5467