Deer Creek State Park

20635 State Park Road 20, Mt. Sterling, Ohio 43143
Park Phone: (740) 869-3124
Campground Phone: (740) 869-3508
Golf Course Phone: (740) 869-3088
Marina Phone: (740) 869-4543
Lake Water Level Phone: (740) 869-2243
Camping Reservations: (866) 644-6727

Deer Creek State Park Map View

Located in the heart of Ohio's agricultural country, Deer Creek State Park is central Ohio's vacation showplace. A collage of meadows and woodlands surround the scenic reservoir. This 2,337-acre resort park features a modern lodge, cottages, campground, golf course, swimming beach and boating for outdoor enthusiasts.

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Park Map Campground Map Hiking Trail Map Hunting Map Golf Map Equestrian Trail Map

You can find more information about each of the following activities below.

Nature Of The Area

Deer Creek State Park lies on the eastern edge of the great till plains of Ohio. These plains receive their name from the glacial debris, or till, which is a mixture of sand, silt and gravel that was deposited by the glaciers. As glaciers advanced across the northern two-thirds of Ohio, most hills and valleys were covered and filled in by the till, leaving this part of Ohio relatively flat. Today, these rich plains in the park's region support corn, soybeans and wheat. The first settlers to the area did not find these open fields. Except for a few small prairie openings, the region was covered by dense woodlands. A regrowth of the original woodlands can be found scattered along the ridge tops and creek bottoms of the park. Wildflowers abound in the fields and woodlands of the till plains. In spring, common flowers are Dutchman's breeches, rue anemone, trillium, spring beauty and bloodroot. Summer months produce thimbleweed, wild lettuce, jewelweed and daisy fleabane. In autumn, the most abundant flowers are aster, goldenrod and chicory, whose roots were used by settlers to make a coffee-like beverage. The best known animals of the Deer Creek area include amphibians such as the chorus frog, spring peeper and American toad. Reptiles include box and painted turtles, black rat snake and eastern garter snake. Numerous mammals inhabit the park. Most of them are small and include the red fox, raccoon, opossum, woodchuck, skunk, rabbit, deer mouse and white-tailed deer. Deer Creek is known for its population of ring-necked pheasant. Other birds of the area include eastern meadowlark, song sparrow, cowbird, eastern bluebird, barn swallow and woodcock.


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The campground at Deer Creek has 232 sites. All have electricity. The campground features showers, flush toilets and a dump station. Pets are permitted on designated sites. Four Rent-A-Camp units consisting of a tent, dining fly, cooler, cook stove and other equipment can be rented during the summer months by reservation. A group camp is also available by reservation. A horsemen's camp provides primitive overnight facilities for riders and a primitive group camp offers an area for groups.

Campground Map

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Golf Course, Swimming, & Boating

Golf Course: A 350-acre, 18-hole golf course near the lodge is a challenge for golfers with its 10 ponds and 52 sand traps

Swimming: A spacious 1,700-foot swimming beach graces the shores of Deer Creek State Park. A concession area and changing booths are special features at the beach.

Boating: Unlimited horsepower boating is permitted on the 1,277-acre Deer Creek reservoir. Two launch ramps provide access to the lake. A fully equipped marina offers fuel, boat rental and seasonal dock rentals.


A valid Ohio hunting license is required. You can find out more information about getting a valid Ohio hunting and trapping license on Ohio's division of wildlife website: Pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code, no person shall at any time hunt, trap, kill, pursue, or shoot at any wildlife and/or wild animals by any means within 400 feet of any nature trail, picnic area, service area, residence, barn, parking lot, cabin, or other structure.

Deer Creek State Park Hunting Map

Hiking Trails

Seven miles of hiking trails take the visitor through meadows and scattered woodlands. Fourteen miles of bridle trails can accommodate riders with their own horses. A fitness trail near the lodge offers an opportunity for exercise in a wooded setting.

Deer Creek State Park Hiking Trail Map


Several picnic areas are situated in scenic locations around the park.

History Of The Area

On a long ridge that once overlooked Deer Creek and its valley, researchers have discovered evidence of a camp of an ancient Indian tribe. The nomads who camped here around 2,000 B.C. were hunters and gatherers and used this camp periodically throughout the year. Since agriculture was not practiced by the nomads, they moved on after they depleted the plant or animal food supplies in a locale. Burial sites near the camp indicate it was inhabited over a period of time. In more recent years, a cottage owned by Harry M. Daugherty, the attorney general under President Warren G. Harding, overlooked the valley. The rustic one and one-half story cottage was built in 1918. The President was said to have visited this cottage which now bears his name. The completion of the dam in 1968 created the lake with the park officially opening in 1974.

Other Area Attractions

East of Deer Creek near Circleville is A.W. Marion State Park which offers fishing, camping and picnicking. Stage's Pond, a state nature preserve, is located five miles north of Circleville. This 178-acre glacial, kettle lake is a waterfowl refuge and a prime observation area for birdlife. Deer Creek Wildlife Area which is adjacent to the park is operated by the ODNR Division of Wildlife and managed for upland game. In nearby Chillicothe, visitors can witness the living drama of Tecumseh at the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre.