Otter Creek Nature Preserve

About This Preserve

Planning Your Hike

Difficult to strenuous. There is no parking on the preserve. Limited parking is available at the Urey Overlook Trailhead. The Mason-Dixon Trail connects the preserve to Urey Overlook (a satellite of the Susquehannock State Park system) and serves as the primary trail within a network of trails that can provide in-and-back, short, day, and loop hikes of varying lengths. Terrain is uneven, rocky, and very difficult in poor weather conditions. Cell phone service is limited inside of the glen.

Ecology and Management

Otter Creek is managed as its passive recreation being of highest and best use.

Otter Creek’s steep terrain has served to protect a mature forest of hemlock and mixed-hardwoods including remnants of the American chestnut that once dominated Pennsylvania forests, nearly wiped out from the invasive Asian chestnut blight. Rock outcrops jut from the hillsides of the deep glen. The creek meanders for three, undisturbed miles. Adjacent land to the south encompass State Game Lands #83 but no trails provide passage across the wide, shallow creek. Adjacent land to the north and west is part of the Susquehanna State Park System. Camping is available at the adjacent Otter Creek Campground.

A massive storm-cell hovered over Otter Creek in the late summer of 2018. Extreme flash-flooding destroyed homes and carried their remnants well into the Preserve. Efforts to remove the debris from the Preserve are ongoing.


Otter Creek empties directly into Lake Aldred of the Susquehanna River.

Hunting Information

Otter Creek is open to Archery Only Hunting. Respect property boundaries and safety zones. All Pennsylvania Game Commission Rules and Regulations apply. See ‘Where to Hunt’ for more details.

Report Hunting Violations: PA Game Commission Centralized Dispatch Center at 1-833-PGC-HUNT (1-833-742-4868) or 1-833-PGC-WILD (1-833-742-9453)

Acquisition History

This preserve was acquired as part of a nationally recognized landscape protection project known as the PPL Project. Funds for that Project were provided by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, The Conservation Fund, Lancaster County, York County, PPL, Talen Energy, and Brookfield Renewable. The tracts that form the Otter Creek Nature Preserve were donated by PPL and Talen Energy.


Limited parking.

Prevent Tick Borne Illness!

  • Wear repellent
  • Check for ticks after your visit
  • Shower soon after being outdoors
  • Call your doctor if you get a fever or rash

For more information visit

Spotted Lanternfly Alert!

Lancaster County is a Spotted Lanternfly quarantine area. This highly invasive insect is a serious threat to the health of our forests.

What you can do to help:

  1. Report spotted lanternfly sightings to Penn State Extension or call 1-888-4BADFLY.
  2. Stop the Spread. Look before you leave! Check gear, vehicles, and trailers.
  3. Smash them, bash them, kill them dead.
  4. Scrap and smash egg masses.

Emergency Information

In case of emergency, call 911

Nearest Hospital – 20.5 miles away
WellSpan York Hospital
1001 S. George Street, York PA 17403

Additional Resources

Airville Volunteer Fire Company

PA State Police