The centerpiece of Deer Creek State Park is Deer Creek Lake. This scenic 1,277-acre reservoir offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Two launch ramps provide access to the lake. A fully equipped marina offers fuel, boat rental and seasonal dock rentals. Unlimited horsepower poating is permitted, and we also saw kayaks and saidboats on the water.
Deer Creek Lake is frequented by various species of waterfowl, and a limited number of blinds are available for hunters in season. Crappie, bass and catifsh are among the catches by fishermen. Karen and I enjoyed hiking some of the trails that border the lake and watching for wildlife both along the shore and on the water.
It is interesting to walk over and around the Deer Creek Dam. Also, at the top of the dam there is a Visitor Information Center, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dam is relatively new, being built between from 1965-1968. It's purpose is for flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife enhancement.
Near the Visitor Center are a couple of short pathways that lead to viewpoints where benches face the dam and reservoir. It's a great place to explore, or just relax and enjoy the view.
At the bottom of the dam is a parking lot which is used primarily for fishermen. Here you also will find restrooms and a picnic area.
162 Reviews and Opinions
22300 State Park Road 20, MOUNT STERLING, OH, 4314
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
The best thing about Rafters Restaurant is the view, and although we thought it a bit pricey, you may as well eat here because there's not another restaurant for miles around.
We enjoyed two meals at Rafters, Dinner and Breakfast. The food was good but not outstanding; the service was mediocre but acceptable. The view was fabulous.
While we were having dinner we enjoyed watching five white-tailed deer feeding just outside our window, as a great blue heron stalked its prey along the lakeshore. At breakfast the next morning we enjoyed the antics of ducks on the water and other water birds, including white egrets, gracefully gliding above the surface of the water.
Favorite Dish: For dinner I had a fisherman's platter and Karen tried a steak and chicken special. We each shared the other's meal. The food was enjoyable, but we felt it could have been better prepared for the price we paid. Why don't they season the food a little more?
For breakfast there was a self-serve buffet for $9.95 each. Again, for the price, we felt there could have been a wider selection, but we still had an enjoyable breakfast.
You can fish at Deer Creek Lake, but it is said that the best fishing is at Deer Creek, just below the dam. On a beautiful autumn weekend we saw dozens of fishermen (and women) along the banks of the creek, and a couple were even pulling in fish. The stream is famous for its early spring saugeye fishing. Excellent catches of catfish, largemouth bass and crappie are also reported.
A valid Ohio state fishing license is required.
Deer Creek State Park is not the kind of place that will excite a hard-core backpacker, but it does offer several short trails which allow for pleasant hiking. There are about 9 miles of trails altogether, leading along fairly level terrain through fields and woods and along the lakeshore.
If you walk quitely the likelihood of seeing deer and other wildlife is very good. On our two short hikes, totaling about 3 miles, we were fortunate to spot several whitetail deer.
Deer Creek State Park is very popular with couples looking for a unique place to seal their marriage vows. My primary purpose in visiting Deer Creek was to officiate at the wedding of a young couple, now living in Alaska but with families in Ohio. They wanted to come home for a very special wedding. It couldn't have been a more perfect day or a more beautiful ceremony.
This particular wedding was an outdoor affair in front of a gazebo and overlooking the lake, with about 220 guests. The lodge provided an excellent place for the reception, and many of the guests, including us, chose to stay overnight. Of course, smaller weddings would also be very appropriate at Deer Creek. The staff at the lodge is accustomed to helping couples with their wedding plans.
They don't call it Deer Creek for nothing. Whitetail deer are abundant throughout the park and we saw about a dozen of them along the hiking trails and even from the restaurant windows. Unfortunately, the only wildlife photo we got from our visit to Deer Creek was this one of a flock of Black Vultures circling overhead. Some of their wings looked white as they reflected the bright afternoon sun.
We also saw numerous other birds including Ring Necked Pheasants, Great Blue Herons, White Egrets, hawks and various songbirds.
Small game is also common in the park. In addition to several gray squirrels (in an interesting reddish color phase) we enjoyed watching a fat raccoon raid a trash can in front of the lodge in the early evening.