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picnic table by the water at Deer Creek State Park

Nestled within the heart of Ohio’s great till plains, just 30 minutes southwest of Columbus, resides the beautiful Deer Creek State Park.

Renowned for its incredible scenery and vibrant wildlife much of the park is centered around the shimmering waters of Dear Creek Lake.

A man-made reservoir, it provides visitors with plenty of opportunity to enjoy water based recreational activities like boating, fishing and swimming. Away from the water, hiking and golf are popular pastimes – as is disc golfing for those who aren’t great with the clubs.

The campground at this Ohio state park is open all year round and offers a wealth of accommodation options including RV sites with hookups for electricity, cabins, lodges and equestrian sites.

If you come here in the winter once the snow has come, you’ll get to enjoy ice skating, ice fishing, snowmobiling and sledding as well.


Visitors to Deer Creek State Park can enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits while they are at the park.

Outlined below is a brief overview of some of the activities you can do while you are there.

Boating at Deer Creek State Park

If you are into boating or paddling the lake provides a wonderful backdrop in which to indulge in these activities.

You’ll find a couple of boat launches that will easily help you get into the water and over at the marina you’ll be able to top up your fuel.

If you didn’t bring any watercraft of your own, you can even rent out kayaks, canoes and other vessels from the docks.

Swimming at Deer Creek State Park

For those who want to swim at the park, especially in the hot months of the summer, there is a fabulous 1,700 foot long swimming beach available.

The water is a very comely shade of blue and extremely refreshing. However, if you do decide to take a dip you should be mindful the area is not lifeguarded. So you will have to exercise caution when you are in the water.

the dam at Deer Creek State Park

Hiking at Deer Creek State Park

Like with most state parks, Deer Creek State Park is best explored on foot.

Overall there are eight distinct trails you can tackle that will take you all around the park’s breathtaking landscape.

These trails all rank as being between easy and moderate in terms of degrees of difficulty. None of them are especially long, with the Rolling Hills Trail topping them at just a mile and a half long.

Most of the others are under a mile in length. But if you would prefer something where you can really stretch your legs, the park also accommodates 17 miles of bridle trails.

Before setting off on any of the trails, it is worth wearing comfortable shoes, a hat and plenty of both sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Bring lots of water with you as well.

While on the trails you should see a diverse range of birds, native wildlife and flora. So it is worth having your camera at the ready.

Golf at Deer Creek State Park

Golf lovers are in for a treat at Deer Creek State Park as there is a fantastic 18-hole course located within it.
Situated not too far from the lodge, the 350-acre course might be quite challenging to some as it has no less than 46 sand traps and 10 ponds to negotiate.

The course is quite breathtaking too, so as you play your round you will get to take in its outstanding natural beauty in between hits.

Disc Golf at Deer Creek State Park

If you are not a fan of regular golf, perhaps you would like to try your hand at disc golf instead?

The disc course is situated near the campground and even has a practice hole so you can get warmed up before you start.

Should you need to rent equipment, you will be able to procure it from the park’s camp score.

Winter Activities at Deer Creek State Park

It’s not just in the summer that you can have fun at Deer Creek State Park. When the snow comes you can enjoy a wide range of winter activities too.

This includes the likes of snowmobiling and sledding which takes place throughout the park. Ice skating and ice fishing are also popular activities on the lake when it freezes up too.

Pets at Deer Creek State Park

The park considers itself to be pet-friendly, although it does place conditions upon the presence of your dog.

For instance, at all times your pooch needs to be well behaved and kept under control on a leash. It also needs to be cleaned up afterwards.

Some other restrictions may be enforced. So it is worth calling the park’s main office for further clarification.

Camping at Deer Creek State Park

For those who want to stay for a few nights, the park offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and camping styles.

This includes a whopping 232 camping sites for RVs that all come with hookups for electricity, as well as their own campfire grills and picnic tables. Conveniently located close to these sites are flush toilets, warm showers and a dump station.

As well as these sites there are also 22 furnished cabins at the park which each come with either two or three bedrooms. You can also choose to stay at the fabulous 110 room lodge that is situated within it. This will provide you with all the mod cons and home comforts you would need.

If you brought your horse with you there is also an equestrian campground option available in addition to a group campground too.

Park Location

Deer Creek State Park
20635 State Park Road 20
Mt Sterling, OH 43143
Phone: 740.869.3124

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Deer Creek State Park: