Bear Creek Lake State Park

Quick Facts

Bear Creek Lake State Park

Virginia

(804) 492-4410

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Less than an hour west of Richmond and nestled in the heart of Cumberland State Forest, Bear Creek Lake is the perfect getaway for the outdoor enthusiast. Activities center on the park's 40-acre lake complete with a boat launch, fishing pier, boat rentals and swimming beach. The park offers camping, cabins, a meeting facility, an archery range, lakeside picnicking, playgrounds, hiking and access to a 14-mile multi-use trail in the state forest.

The park is surrounded by the 16,000-acre Cumberland State Forest, which provides opportunities for a wide range of outdoor activities. Four small lakes in the state forest are managed by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for recreational fishing. A network of forest roads with and without gates enables great hiking, mountain biking and nature observation.

Map of Bear Creek Lake (VA)

Latitude, Longitude: 37.532635, -78.273560

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Activities

  • Boating

    Boat rentals are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. A boat launching ramp is available for non-gasoline powered boats. Shoulder season rentals are offered on weekends only during May and September. Parental supervision is required for all rentals, and pets are not allowed in rental boats. Rentals are sometimes canceled during the shoulder season because of bad weather or staff shortages.

    Canoes, rowboats, trolling motors, paddle-boats and kayaks are for rent. A valid Virginia fishing license is required for fishing. A market near the park entrance sells fishing licenses.

  • Bicycling

    Bikes are allowed on the multi-use trail.

  • Camping

    The park rents a camping lodge (bunkhouse) that's next to the group campsite and near Campground C. The bunkhouse is not a full service lodge. It's a two-room trailer with seven bunk beds, a refrigerator, a microwave oven, a coffee pot, and heating and air conditioning. The bunkhouse also has a charcoal grill and deck outside. Cooking and smoking are not permitted inside the lodge. Five vehicles are permitted with rental of the lodge; the daily parking fee must be paid for additional vehicles.

    This facility becomes available in January each year; unlike most overnight facilities, it is not sold 11 months in advance. Check-in is 3 p.m., and check-out is 10 a.m.

    The transfer deadline and cancellation and pet fees are the same as those for cabins.

    No linens are provided. Guests must bring their own linens and pillows. Maximum occupancy is 14. Guests are responsible for any damage. The minimum stay is two nights. It has no bathroom, kitchen or fireplace. From April 1 to Oct. 31, camping lodge guests use the bathhouse in campground C, which is about 75 yards away. The bathhouse in campground A, which is about 200 yards away, is available during shoulder seasons. A fee is charged per pet per night. Cooking and smoking are not permitted in the camping lodge. Swimming is free to overnight guests from Memorial Day through Labor Day when the beach is open. There's no cable hookup. Electrical outlets are available but limited to 50-amp service. No extra bed rentals are available. State law permits alcohol use only in private areas (inside a cabin or camping unit) or in areas designated on permits issued by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The camping lodge is next to the park's group campsite, which may be rented by calling the Reservation Center, (800) 933-PARK (7275). Large groups should consider renting the camping lodge and the group camping area.

  • Fishing

    A 40-acre lake supports largemouth bass, crappie, bream and channel catfish. The Willis River, a small, slow tributary of the James, winds through Cumberland State Forest. Those with a canoe or small boat can enjoy fishing there. Two canoe launches with access to the river are in Cumberland State Forest. Boat rentals are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. A boat ramp is available for non-gasoline powered boats. The park also has a handicapped-accessible fishing pier.

    Those interested in fishing in Cumberland State Forest lakes, including Arrowhead, Bonbrook, Oak Hill and Winston lakes, must obtain a State Forest Use Permit; call (804) 492-4121 for details.

  • Hiking

    The park offers plenty of hiking trails. Hikers have the option of hiking on pedestrian-only trails as well as shared bike and horse trails.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic tables are available throughout the park.

  • Water Sports

    Lake swimming: From May 15 through Labor Day, swimming will be available on weekends, weather permitting and when the temperature is at least 70 degrees. From Memorial Day through mid-June and from Mid-August through Labor Day, swimming will be available for abbreviated hours on weekdays. Swimming may be unavailable on some weekdays. Please call the park to check availability during this time.

    The swimming beach has a bathhouse and a concession offering a variety of sandwiches, snacks and drinks. Swimming is free for overnight guests in campsites, cabins and the lodge, however it cannot be guaranteed should circumstances beyond the park's control require that swimming be closed.

Seasonality/Weather

Spring and fall are generally comfortable with precipitation possible. Summers can be hot and humid with average temperatures in the high 80s and with sudden thunderstorms possible. July and August are the hottest months.

Winters can be cold with average temperatures in the winter of 41 degrees with variable precipitation.

Directions

Driving

The park is about 4.5 miles northwest of the town of Cumberland. From U.S. Route 60, go west on Route 622 and south on Route 629 to the park entrance.NEXT

Phone Numbers

Primary

(804) 492-4410

Links

Comments

I hiked the Willis River Trail.


This trail proved to be more difficult than indicated by the terrain. There are numerous areas where fallen trees block the trail. At some points, it was almost like the state park system was experimenting with an obstacle course. Never had any issues with water. The streams were relatively low and easy to ford. Although I didn't stop at the campsites, they did appear a little boggy so I don't know if I would stay at any of them. Otherwise it's a decent hike and you are rewarded at the end with the views from the bridge. Keep your pack fairly light, and take a pair of trekking poles.