Well off the beaten tracks of Venango County, Silver Lake Park occupies a remote corner of the western Pennsylvania forest. This 30 acre site sits atop the valley walls of both the Allegheny River and Sandy Creek.
Three structures can be seen around the perimeter of the central pond, vestiges of the now defunct VisionQuest outdoor reform school. The pond is deep and about an acre and half in surface area. This water is packed with warmwater fish such as largemouth bass and sunfish. The camp is situated in a narrow valley but one end faces over the more expansive Allegheny River valley, offering longer views. There’s plenty of grassy space to pitch tents and cook out. Plenty of woods and a small brook to explore as well.
Wildlife abounds here. All the western Pennsylvania staples are represented: deer, turkey and beaver. Also watch for pickerel frogs, toads, newts and a variety of other herptiles including 5-lined skinks, rare in this corner of the state. Fox and coyote are plentiful as are hawk, osprey and eagle.
The property is available for all types of non-motorized recreation. Fishing is an obvious attraction here, whether you’d like to walk downhill to the Allegheny or wade in nearby Sandy Creek for smallmouth. Without leaving the property at all, there are more than enough fish in the lake to keep any fisherman happy. Camping is another obvious pastime appropriate for these acres (easily combined with some fishing). Silver Lake Park is a great alternative for cyclists because of its proximity to the Sandy Creek Rail trail from which a cyclist can connect to almost limitless further trail miles. It’s also a great spot from which to begin or end a long hike in the area. And during the regular Pennsylvania seasons, small game and deer may be hunted here or on the nearby State Game Lands. Of course, the place is open to almost anything else you could imagine such as photography, mushroom hunting and herping or geochaching. What a spot to just introduce the family to the joys of the outdoors as well around a cozy campfire!
Another aspect of Silver Lake’s appeal is its location – the things it puts you close to. Within a few miles of the park, you’ll find about 20 miles of rail trail with at least a hundred more miles that can be connected to. The Allegheny River is accessible from the property offering almost limitless miles of wide, free-flowing river for fishing, swimming and boating. Sandy Creek, a long western Pennsylvania waterway, flows past within a short walk of camp. Sandy Creek is large enough that many of its tributaries also offer trout fishing, including for wild brook trout. State Game Land abounds here including the largest of Western Pennsylvania’s Game Lands which can be found only a couple of miles west of the property. The Fisherman’s Cove boat launch also lies within walking distance – an easy spot to launch powered or unpowered craft into the Allegheny.
This only scratches the surface – it’s a truly ideal location for outdoors people of all stripes. And don’t forget, just uphill a bit – Maurer’s Trading Post, one of Western Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor shops for all your firearms, fishing and camping needs!
A permit for one person to access the property for a 24 hour day - midnight to midnight.$ 35
A 24 hour pass beginning at 12:00 PM on the first day and expiring at 12:00 PM the following day.$ 35
A permit for one person to access the property from 5:00 PM Friday through 12:00 AM, Monday.$ 90
Pass for one individual to stay for 1 week (7 consecutive days)$ 200
A 24 hour pass for all immediate family members - midnight to midnight.$ 90
A 24 hour pass for an entire immediate family to access the property from 12:00 PM on the first day to 12:00 PM the following day$ 90
A permit for an entire immediate family to access the property from 5:00 PM Friday to 12:00 AM, Monday$ 270
Pass for an entire immediate family to stay for 1 week.$ 500