20635 State Park Road 20
Mt. Sterling, Ohio 43143
Park Office: (740) 869-3124
Campground: (740) 869-3508
Pros: Spacious sites. Nice hiking trails. Open year-round.
Cons: No water/electric or full hookup sites available. Electric only. Not a lot of nearby attractions.
Deer Creek is an Ohio State park located 30 miles south of Columbus in the heart of Ohio’s agricultural center. The campground consists of 227 electric sites as well as two camper cabins. The cabins include electric outlets, A/C, heater, refrigerator, microwave, cook stove, porch with charcoal grill. Linens, dishes and cooking utensils are not provided and daily housekeeping is not available. Pets are not permitted. There is a group camp available. Two sites can accommodate up to 100 people each. It is primitive tent camping only. An equestrian camp provides primitive overnight facilities for riders. Deer Creek has 25 cottages each with two bedrooms, bath with a shower, living room with a sofa bed, complete kitchen, dining area and screened porch. There is also a lodge with 110 guest rooms, many with a panoramic view of the lake. Lodge features include indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, whirlpool and exercise room. A restaurant, lounge and meeting rooms provide additional accommodations. Tennis courts are available for lodge and cottage guest use.
This campground is open year-round. One centrally located shower house is open during the winter for those adventurous campers like ourselves. The camp store offers limited food and camping supplies.
Deer Creek is one of the better kept Ohio State Parks. Though there was no extravagant landscaping, Deer Creek has nice sites for all tastes. There are grassy sites with full sun, full shade and more secluded sites, and some in between. We stayed at site 158. We liked this site because there is opening in the woods behind the camp pad where the fire pit is located. It is grassy, which was nice because it rained when we arrived. This would have otherwise been a mud pit. Near the fire pit there was enough space to put one or two tents up comfortably. The trails are well blazed and vegetation kept under control. The roads and the camp pad are paved.
Rating: (one to five lanterns with five being the highest)
Deer Creek offers a variety of activities at the campground and within the park itself. There are seven hiking trails and a 17-mile bridle trail. We really enjoyed the Hawkview Meadow Trail (1 mile) and the Rolling Hills Trail (2.5 miles one way). Near the camp store, there is disc golf course and putt-putt. Deer Creek also has a 350-acre, 18-hole public golf course near the lodge. It is a challenge for golfers with its 10 ponds and 52 sand traps. There are plenty of places to fish at Deer Creek. Catfish, largemouth bass and crappie are the primary fish. A 1,700-foot swimming beach with picnic tables and grills is available at the park. The campground includes a tetherball, volleyball and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, and two playgrounds.
If you choose to camp at Deer Creek, chances are you are looking for a nice and quiet place to get away. Being in the midst of farm country, there are not a lot of nearby attractions. However, a peaceful drive through God’s country may be just what the doctor ordered. Deer Creek is a place to kick back and relax. However, if you need a little action, Columbus (state capital) is located about 35 minutes north. Tanger Outlet Mall is located in Jeffersonville about a 30-minute drive west. Camping World is approximately 35 minutes away. Other than that, this is pretty much small town U.S.A.
Family and Pet Friendly
With the various activities offered within the campground, Deer Creek is good campground for families. Kids can enjoy basketball, volleyball, putt-putt, disc golf, hiking, etc. The paved roads in the campground make it conducive for bike riding. There is also a BMX trail located in the woods near the camp store. Though there is no pool, kids can swim in the lake from the 1,700-foot beach. With spacious sites that often are grassy, kids can play games like corn hole or Bocce Ball.
With the numerous trails and paved roads, pets have ample opportunity for walks. The adequate space between campers made us feel like our dogs were not troublesome for our neighbors. However, we were disappointed that Deer Creek did not have a fenced-in dog area in the campground.
Deer Creek has four shower houses scattered throughout the campground as well as comfort stations (restrooms). The restrooms were typical of any state park. For the most part, they were clean but nothing extra special. The showers provided hot water and a decent spray.There is a curtained dressing area in each shower stall with a bench and two small shelves in each shower for shampoo, etc.