Buck Creek State Park lies in a fertile agricultural area, rich in Ohio’s history. The park’s recreational facilities center around the 2,120-acre lake, offering endless water-related opportunities. Visitors enjoy the many wetlands, broad meadows and wildlife at this diverse 1,896-acre park.
Buck Creek was home to Indians and pioneers. The land at the time of early settlement was mostly forested by large trees with minimal undergrowth. Occasionally, the forests were interrupted by prairie openings.
In 1780, George Rogers Clark, a Revolutionary war hero, led a band of nearly 1,000 Kentuckians in a raid against Ohio Indians. The Shawnee Indians abandoned their camp which they called Old Chillicothe (near Xenia) and fled to Piqua, the Shawnee capital, located west of the present site of Springfield. Clark pursued the fleeing Indians, and the Shawnee were defeated at the Battle of Piqua. Most of the Indians, however, had dispersed into the woodlands. One Indian hiding in the woods was the young Tecumseh, who vowed to avenge the attack. Following the battle, Clark's men retreated to their homes in Kentucky and the Indians moved north. A new Piqua was erected on the banks of the Miami River. This battle put a temporary end to Indian warfare.
With the decline of Indian threat, settlers moved into the area. In 1799, legendary frontiersman Simon Kenton settled in the region with six other Kentucky families. The group lived near the confluence of Buck Creek and Mad River. After two years, the settlers moved to different areas. Kenton established a home along Buck Creek about four miles north of present Springfield. Settlement brought change to the area as trees were cut to construct buildings. Acres were cleared and farm crops were planted. The settlers found the land extremely fertile.
The community of Springfield was founded in 1801 and has served since then as the county seat of Clark County. In 1838, the National Road (U.S. 40) reached Springfield and this opened new markets for manufacturing and agriculture. Over the years, Springfield's character changed from rural to industrial. By 1880, the community led the nation in the manufacturing of agricultural implements.
In September 1966, work was started by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to impound Buck Creek as a flood control project. In 1974, the Clarence J. Brown Dam and Reservoir were dedicated and an agreement gave the Ohio Department of Natural Resources the operation of much of the area. Buck Creek State Park was officially opened in June 1975.
86 electric sites
22 non-electric sites
Showers, flush toilets and dump station
Pets are permitted on all sites
Boat camping is permitted in designated areas
Bike rentals are offered at the camp office
One group campsite is available by reservation only for 8 to 50 guests.
Boating with unlimited horsepower is permitted on the 2,120-acre lake. A four-lane launch ramp provides access to the lake. The marina provides fuel, snack bar, bait shop and seasonal dock rental.
An 18-hole disc golf course is located on Park Road 10. Bring your own equipment; no rentals are available.
Anglers of all ages will enjoy fine catches of walleye, white bass, catfish, crappie and bluegill. A wheelchair-accessible fishing pier is open to the public. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.
Hunting is permitted in designated areas. A valid Ohio hunting license is required.
Several picnic areas provide tables and grills in scenic locations.
Two ODNR shelterhouses may be reserved online or by calling 866-OHIOPARKS.
Three Army Corp of Engineers shelterhouses near the dam may be reserved online or by calling (877) 444-6777 and requesting the CJ Brown Day-use Shelters.
Buck Creek State Park features a 2,400-foot sand beach. Swimming is permitted in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach. Pets are NOT permitted on swimming beaches.
Hiking trails offer opportunities for nature study, bird watching and other wildlife observation:
Lakeview Trail - 2.9 miles - Moderate
Wrens Nest Trail - 0.25 miles - Moderate
Dam Walk Trail - 0.64 miles - Moderate
Meadow Trails - 2.0 miles - Moderate (several connected paths)
A bridle trails (moderate difficulty, 7.5 miles) is also open to hiking and snowmobiling (weather permitting).
A nearby multi-purpose trail, the Buck Creek Trail, connects the state park other community trails, the Springfield Museum of Art, and local parks.
Under the proper conditions, park visitors can enjoy sledding, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing. Snowmobiles are permitted on the bridle trail.
Volleyball and basketball courts
Shuffleboard and playground equipment
Bicycle rental is available.