Lower Elk Creek Nature Reserve

The Lower Elk Creek Nature Reserve contributes to the recreational and conservation values important to the Lake Erie Region. The reserve consists of about 92 acres, including extensive wetlands. It helps maintain a contiguous forested buffer along Elk Creek, thereby providing important habitat features for wildlife such as beavers and bald eagles. This property falls within an exceptional value greenway.

We’re not done yet! WPC is interested in completing a large project to stabilize the stream bank of Elk Creek at the Reserve to enhance habitat for fish, birds, and other species. WPC is working to raise funds to complete the next stages of this project and is looking for additional support.


  • Girard Township, Erie County

Dates Acquired



Approximately 92 acres

Notable features

Extensive frontage on Elk Creek and tributary streams, floodplain forest, and various wetland types


Parking Available

Recreational Activities

  • Fishing
  • Hiking (Off-Trail)
  • Hiking (Designated Trail)
  • Hunting

Recreational Activities


From the parking area, the Lower Elk Creek hiking trail leads downslope, crosses two small streams and runs along a forested ridge before dropping down to the creek.

Bird Watching

Bird watchers may find a variety of Neotropical migrant songbirds that can be seen during spring and fall migration, including vireos, warblers, thrushes, and sparrows – among others.


Elk Creek is an approved trout water for fishing and is a popular destination for steelhead fishing. This fishing access to Elk Creek is made available, in part, by anglers who purchased Lake Erie Permits. 


Lower Elk Creek Nature Reserve is rich with wildflowers in the spring. Visitors may find marsh marigold, golden ragwort, mayapple, blue violet, yellow trout lily, spotted geranium, foamflower, jack-in-the-pulpit and red trillium.

Plan Your Visit

GPS Coordinates: 42.011671, -80.364881

Directions to the Preserve

Interactive Preserve Map


From Pittsburgh, I-79 North to Exit 178B, to merge onto I-90W. Take Exit 9 for PA-18 toward Platea/Girard. Turn right onto PA-18N. Turn left onto US-20 W/W Ridge Road. Travel 0.75 mile and turn right onto Elk Park Road. Take 3rd left onto N. Creek Road. Travel approximately 1 mile – property will be on the right. See signs for parking and access to Elk Creek.

Visitor Tips

Watch this introduction to Lower Elk Creek Nature Reserve

The trail consists of a steep descent to Elk Creek, and includes many steps. Be sure to wear sturdy boots or shoes. Be prepared for your visit by watching this short video about this reserve and reviewing the downloadable maps and materials below. We recommend downloading these files to your mobile device prior to visiting.

Visitor Guidelines

When visiting Lower Elk Creek Nature Reserve, please remember:

  • Only foot traffic is permitted.
  • Camping and campfires are prohibited.
  • Vehicles, including ATVs and bicycles, are prohibited.
  • If you carry it in, carry it out.
  • Dogs must be on a leash or otherwise kept under control at all times.
  • Collecting (animals, plants, rocks, etc.) without permission is prohibited.
  • Review the Guidelines for Public Use of WPC Properties document prior to your visit

Thanks to the following organizations for making the purchase of and improvements to this property possible:

  • The Erie Community Foundation
  • Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
  • Richard King Mellon Foundation
  • Great Lakes Restoration
  • Atlantic Coast Joint Venture