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Bear Creek Lake State Park serves as the centerpiece for Cumberland State Forest. An extensive network of trails and excellent camping facilities ring this manmade lake, providing numerous opportunities to explore nature and watch wildlife. A visit to the deciduous forest along the lakeshore is often rewarded with feeding flocks, sometimes containing dozens of birds. These are usually filled with Carolina chickadees and tufted titmice, but sometimes attract less common or migrant species including northern parula and pine warblers, yellow-billed cuckoo, eastern wood-pewee or red-eyed vireos. Other species to look for in the area include hairy woodpeckers and white-breasted nuthatches, which can be seen displaying their amazing acrobatic skills as they clamber over dead limbs. Also keep an eye open for fruiting bushes and trees that can support hoards of birds, especially during migration when large flocks of American robins join resident northern cardinals to gorge. In fall this could also turn up wood, Swainson’s, and gray-cheeked thrushes for those interested in challenging their identification skills.
The lake itself is a magnet for wildlife with dozens of eastern painted turtles soaking up the sunshine along its banks while green herons stalk the shallows. In winter an assortment of ducks can be found, in addition to the more regular wood ducks that nest nearby. Bald eagles have even been seen briefly passing overhead.
Note: To access the lake, a Restore the Wild Membership, Virginia hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.
Physical Address: 22 Bear Creek Lake Rd., Cumberland, VA 23040
From U.S. Route 60 in Cumberland, go west on Route 622 and south on Route 629 to the park entrance.
Note: Those coming from the west and using GPS may be directed through a gravel-covered section of Oak Hill Rd. through the Cumberland State Forest. They should instead continue on Route 60 East through the Cumberland Courthouse area and then turn left on Trents Mill Rd./Route 622 to reach the park’s main entrance.
Location & DirectionsView on Google Maps
- Site Contact: 804-492-4410, BearCreek@dcr.virginia.gov
- Access: Park: Fee, open daily 8am to sunset. Lake: Restore the Wild Membership, hunting license, freshwater fishing license, boat registration, or an access permit is required.
Birds Recently Seen at Bear Creek Lake State Park (as reported to eBird)
- Great Blue Heron
- Canada Goose
- Pied-billed Grebe
- Bald Eagle
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Downy Woodpecker
- Pileated Woodpecker
- Blue Jay
- American Crow
- Carolina Chickadee
Seasonal Bird Observations
- Hiking Trails
- Interpretive Nature Program
- Kayak/Canoe Launch
- Canoe/Kayak Rentals
- Boat Ramp