Across Virginia

Bear Creek Lake Park in Central Virginia

Stored in Recreation and tagged ,
Bear Creek Lake beach
Copyright Scott S. Bateman

Bear Creek Lake in Central Virginia is less than an hour west of Richmond and surrounded by the 16,000-acre Cumberland State Forest.

The park’s 40-acre lake offers a boat launch, fishing pier, boat rentals and swimming beach. Other amenities in the 326-acre park include camping, cabins, a meeting facility, an archery range, lakeside picnicking, playgrounds, hiking and access to a 14-mile multi-use trail in the state forest.

Hiking trails are moderate in length and difficulty. The longest one goes around much of the lake.

In the off season, the park is quiet with few visitors who either come for the day, camp, park in RVs or rent one of the handful of cabins. The cabins surround the lake and offer views of the water on back porches with rocking chairs.

Cumberland State Forest has four small lakes that offer recreational fishing. Visitors also can take advantage of hiking, mountain biking and nature observation.

How to Get There

Bear Creek Lake is located about 4.5 miles northwest of the town of Cumberland.

Go west on Route 622 and south on Route 629 to reach the entrance to the park.

It takes about three hours to get there from Northern Virginia, one hour from Richmond, two hours from Roanoke and three hours from Hampton Roads.

Cabins and Lodge

Visitors can rent cabins or the lodge by the week starting on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays during prime season

It is possible to stay for less than a week during prime season. Visitors should call 30 days before their preferred arrival date to find out of any short-term vacancies are available.

For the rest of the year, a two-night minimum stay is required.

The cabins and lodge are open year-round and reserved 11 months in advance. Extra beds are unavailable for these dwellings.

Camping Lodge

The park rents a camping lodge (bunkhouse) that’s next to the group campsite and near Campground C.

It’s a two-room trailer with seven bunk beds, a refrigerator, a microwave oven, a coffee pot, and heating and air conditioning.


Lake swimming is available from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day when the temperature is more than 70 degrees.

It is available for limited hours on weekdays from Memorial Day through mid-June and from mid-August through Labor Day. It may be unavailable on some weekdays. Call the park to find out if swimming is permitted on certain days during the week.


Bear Creek Lake cabin
The park has cabins for rent. © Scott S. Bateman

The park has access to the Willis River Trail, a 16-mile long trail winding through the surrounding area.

The Cumberland Multi-use Trail is 14 miles long and is available for bicycles, horses and hikers.

Anyone wanting to ride horses or mountain bikes in Cumberland State Forest must get a State Forest Use Permit.

Fishing and Boating

Bear Creek Lake has largemouth bass, crappie, bream and channel catfish.

A valid Virginia fishing license is required for fishing. Those 16 and older must have a license with them. A gas station near the park entrance sells fishing licenses.

Boat rentals are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. They include canoes, rowboats, trolling motors, paddleboats and kayaks.

Cumberland State Forest has two canoe launches with access to the Willis River, a small tributary of the James

The lake has a boat ramp for non-gasoline powered boats. The park also has a fishing pier.

Archery Range

The park has a 10-lane archery range with excelsior bales and 3D targets. It is open from March 1 through the first Monday in December.

No archery equipment is available for rent.

Picnic Shelters

Visitors can take advantage of lakeside picnicking by the swimming beach. Facilities include drinking water, grills and restrooms.

Picnic shelters are available April 1 through Oct. 31 by calling the Reservation Center at 1-800-933-PARK. Shelters can be rented from 8 a.m. to dusk (all day).

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