The Great Outdoors: Elk County Trio Makes for Family Fun

Twin Lakes Fishing
JONES TOWNSHIP, Pa. (EYT) — In this week’s look at state park and major recreation features in the Great Outdoors, we’ll focus on a trio of small but very interesting features.

Interestingly enough, the three, East Branch Dam, Elk State Park and Twin Lakes are each run by different government entities within a relatively small area in northwestern Elk County.

(In the photo above, families fish for trout at Twin Lakes Recreation Area)

Singularly, they don’t have the features of some of the bigger and more well known recreation areas in the region, but when their combined attributes are considered the area provides more than enough for any outdoors lover to experience.

East Branch Clarion River Reservoir, owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, is the major feature.

The Flood Control Act of 1944 authorized the construction of impoundments and it was one of 16 built in western Pennsylvania over the last 60 years.

The dam, which is currently being worked on, has kept the campground and picnic areas closed. But, the boat launch recently opened.

Anglers fishing East Branch may encounter smallmouth bass, walleye, tiger muskies, panfish and lake trout.

Five Mile, Seven Mile, Straight, Middle Fork and Crooked creeks are all stocked streams. Many smaller streams abound in native brook trout.

For those looking to stay a night or two, camping can be found at Twin Lakes Recreation Area, run by the U.S. Forest Service.

Twin Lakes has a variety of camping options, but keep in mind, sites 25-51 are closed for the year.

There are sites for RVs, popup camper and tents and some have water and electricity.

One of the most popular features of the area is Twin Lake, which is stocked by the Pa. Fish & Boat Commission. It was formed when the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed the present dam on Hoffman Run.

The other impoundment that was planned was never built so the Loleta Recreation Area near Marienville could be built.

Hoffman Run is also stocked with trout.

The 1.4 mile Black Cherry National Recreation Interpretive Trail is located adjacent to the lower campground.

The Twin Lakes Trail begins at the Black Cherry Trail, with the Mill Creek Trail connecting to the Twin Lakes Trail and Brush Hollow Trail systems along Route 948.

Elk State Park is more about the 3,192 forested acres where you can wildlife watch, hunt and explore.

There are picnic tables are available at the Instanter Drive Boat Launch.

The 1,160-acre East Branch Lake has one boat launch on Instanter Drive.

Picnic tables are available at the Instanter Drive Boat Launch.

Call ahead the make sure the launch is open. It has been closed in the past due to low water levels for work on the dam.

Also, Bendigo State Park is nearby, too. It has camping, fishing and a swimming pool.

For more information on the area, go to:


“The Great Outdoors,” sponsored by the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors, is a weekly blog by’s Scott Shindledecker. Plan your next outdoor adventure at or call (814) 849-5197 for more information.

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