Surrounded by rich agricultural lands, this region was home to both Native Americans and early pioneers. Buck Creek State Park features a large reservoir for unlimited horsepower boating. An accessible pier adds more options for anglers of all abilities. Hikers and horseback riders will find miles of multi-use trails passing through meadows and wetlands. The park's overnight accommodations include family vacation cabins and a modern campground.
Boating with unlimited horsepower is permitted on the 2,120-acre C.J. Brown Reservoir. The dam is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
- A four-lane launch ramp near the park office provides access to the lake.
- Marina offers fuel, snack bar, bait shop, and dock rental Memorial Day to Labor Day.
- A boat camping area is permitted on the north end of the lake.
Buck Creek State Park Campground has 25 Cabins in a wooded area as well as Electric and Non-electric campsites. Reservations are required and can be made online or by calling (866) 644-6727,
An 18-hole disc golf course is located on Park Road 10. Bring your own equipment; no rentals are available.
Anglers of all ages can enjoy catching walleye, muskie, white bass, black bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill.
- A wheelchair-accessible fishing pier is located at the Marina.
- Ohio fishing regulations apply.
- A valid Ohio fishing license is required (16 and older).
Hunting is permitted in designated areas. A controlled deer hunt occurs annually; applications are available in July.
Several picnic areas provide tables and grills in scenic locations. Some of these are located on property managed by US Army Corps of Engineers.
Two shelters can be reserved online or by calling (866) 644-6727. If not reserved, they are available first-come, first served.
- Hickory Knoll Shelter: Water available, charcoal grill, electric. Close to bathroom. 1046 square feet.
- Oak Grove Shelter: Water available, charcoal grill, electric. Close to a bathroom. 1600 square feet.
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.
- BeachGuard — Water quality advisories, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from Ohio Dept. of Health
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)
*These trails are located on US Army Corps of Engineers property.
A bridle trail (moderate difficulty, 7.5 miles) is also open to hiking and snowmobiling (weather permitting). Trailer parking and access is off of Grant Road. Driving Directions
A nearby paved, multi-purpose trail, the Buck Creek Trail, connects the state park to 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 when conditions allow.
More to Do
- Volleyball and basketball courts
- Shuffleboard and playground equipment
- Bicycle rental is available seasonally from the Camp Store, (937) 327-4590
History & Natural Features
Buck Creek was home to Native Americans and pioneers. The land at the time of early settlement was mostly covered 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 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, and the Shawnee were defeated at the Battle of Piqua. Most of the Shawnee, however, had dispersed into the woodlands. 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 Shawnee moved north. A new Piqua was erected on the banks of the Miami River. This battle put a temporary end to Indian warfare.
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 4 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.
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, opening 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.
The natural features of the region can be attributed to the effects of glaciers which receded from Ohio more than 12,000 years ago. Low hills, called moraines, can be seen in the area where glaciers halted for extended periods of time and left deposits of gravel and sand. Old river valleys were filled by these deposits where numerous springs now well up through the sand and gravel. The nearby city of Springfield is named for the many springs seeping up from the broad meadows. The springs account for the many bogs and fens in Clark and Champaign counties, of which Cedar Bog is probably the best known.
These wet areas harbor an assortment of rare and unusual plants including round-leaved sundew and horned bladderwort. The spotted turtle, a state endangered animal, is found in the area. The northernmost region of the park is an excellent area to observe waterfowl. The shallow waters provide a stopover for thousands of migrating ducks. Relatively rare songbirds of open meadows may also be seen here including dickcissels, bobolinks, and Henslow sparrows.