Deer You Are: Playing Critter Eye Spy at Deer Creek State Park

To become a certified organic inspector, I attended a 2-week training conference with the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA). The conference was held at Deer Creek State Park, by far the fanciest state park I’ve ever been to. Located an hour southwest of Columbus, Deer Creek is home to camping and RV sites, walking and bridle trails, sport facilities, a recreational lake, a marina, a golf course, and a lodge and conference center.

The Lodge

The Lodge sits right at the edge of Deer Creek Lake, and it has lodging, an onsite restaurant, conference rooms, a sitting area with lovely rustic furniture and a large stone fireplace, a gift shop, and both an indoor and outdoor pool. I read up on the facilities before heading east for this conference and had gotten pretty excited about it, but unfortunately, it left much to be desired. The check-in staff were very unfriendly, the restaurant was painfully slow and vastly overpriced for the quality of both the food and the service, and many of the advertised amenities were either not available at all or had severely limited options since we were there on the off season. But perhaps worst of all, they decided to redo the carpet while we were there, which meant lots of fumes and distracting construction noises while we were there for a very expensive training program. You’d think the park would have planned that out a little better…

Friendly Neighbors

What I did love was the crazy amount of wildlife I saw right from the balcony of my own room. I saw deer, birds, woodchucks, and a raccoon on a daily basis, as well as a pair of feral cats. After a long day of studying and writing reports, I loved coming “home” to my balcony and enjoying a conversation with these critters while I ate some cheese and crackers.

A Walk on the Wild Side

Deer Creek State Park also has a network of walking trails around the lodge, which range from 1 to 5 miles. They also provided a much-needed reprieve, and I loved seeing so much green—something I don’t get much of at home in Idaho.

The trails also had an abundance of wildlife, so I was like a kid in a candy shop. I didn’t love that the resort amenities were limited during the off season, but I’m willing to bet I got to see more wildlife than peak season visitors get to see. I suppose that is a fair trade, now that I think of it.

Unfortunately, scattered throughout all that beautiful wildlife habitat, I also spotted a lot of trash. It absolutely breaks my heart that people would use a place as beautiful as Deer Creek State Park as their personal dumping ground. Some of the trash was intentionally left behind, and some was just the result of carelessness and laziness. I picked up as much as I could, but there was far more than I’d ever be able to carry out on my own. Consider this a friendly reminder to leave no trace when you go hiking or camping, even if you’re doing so at a resort.

Still, I definitely enjoyed all of the nature I got to admire at Deer Creek. While the lodge was a bit of a let down, the rest of the park was lovely and well worth a visit—in the peak season, of course, when you’ll have far more fun activities to choose from.

  • Deer Creek Lodge
    And Conference Center
  • Official Site
  • Room Rates:
  • 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

What is your favorite state park to visit?

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I’m a quirky Canadian-American who’s always ready for the next adventure. I always return my shopping carts to the cart corral, I fold gum wrappers into origami cranes, and I polish my nerd badge daily. I am passionate about helping women intentionally make space for the things that bring them true joy. Read more about me and my mission here.

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