Description - Buried in the heart of Virginia's piedmont in the midst of the 16,242-acre Cumberland State Forest is this park with all the amenities of larger parks but without the crowds. A new 14-mile multi-use trail adds to the desirability of this park.
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
An inviting entrance into the woods, meadows, and lake of Bear Creek
- Back in 1938, 100 men built this lake as a project of the VA Department of Agriculture. They were not members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, but simply laborers, carpenters and farmers seeking employment. Their stone picnic grills are still in use. Today, this quiet and friendly park is characterized by gently rolling hills graced with hardwoods, pines and cedars. On our visit, we sighted two wild turkeys, a large blue heron and a beautiful pair of cardinals against a snowy hillside backdrop.
Recreation - Activities revolve around the 40-acre lake with a swimming beach, picnicking, camping with full hookups and meandering hiking trails. Bear Creek Lake maintains a healthy population of largemouth bass, crappie, bream and catfish. A boat launch is available for non-gasoline powered boats. During the summer months the park rents bikes, canoes, rowboats, paddleboats, hydro-bikes, trolling motors and picnic shelters. Swimming is free for campers. This is Virginia's only park which hosts an archery range. There is a small fee for using the range and hours vary season to season. A small grocery store is available just outside the park entrance.
The adjacent Cumberland State Forest offers a sporting clays range on 30 acres of pristine woodland. The 1.1-mile course presently has 10 stations, with various levels of difficulty for the beginner, novice and experienced shooter. Walk-in shooters are accepted, with a maximum of 8 shooters per round. Reservations are recommended, call the Sporting Clays Office at 804-492-9526 or the Forestry Center Office at 804-492-4121.
Lees Retreat Driving Tour is a self-guided tour detailing the route taken by Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Army of Northern Virginia, when he surrendered his men to Ulysses Grant, general-in-chief of all United States forces, on April 9, 1865. Appomattox National Historical Park is within a 30-minute drive. For more information call 1-800-6-RETREAT.
Climate - Virginia generally has mild winters and warm humid summers. The eastern portion of the state has winter temperatures averaging above 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). The state's summer temperatures have little variation. The eastern portion of Virginia generally experiences temperatures above 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius). High humidity along with warm temperatures can be uncomfortable.
This park is within close driving proximity from the Richmond metropolitan area, making it a nice weekend getaway without the long distance drive. The park is located in Cumberland County just off Rt. 60. Take Rt. 60 to Rt. 622 and then Rt. 629 south to the park entrance. Signage on Rt. 60 is excellent.