Spring Creek Canyon

Spring Creek Canyon is an 1,800-acre recreation area in Benner Township popular for fly-fishing, hiking, bicycling, and hunting. The six miles of trout stream within its boundaries are a destination for fishermen from around the world.

Officially known as the Spring Creek Canyon Cooperative Management Area, it opened to the public in 2011. The land had been owned by the nearby State Correctional Institution-Rockview and off limits to the public since 1912. A 2010 state law authorized the Department of General Services to convey 1,827 acres to Benner Township, Pennsylvania’s Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission, and Penn State.

Spring Creek Canyon opened for public recreation use in 2011. (Photograph by Ford Risley)

The property consists of uplands of existing and former agricultural land, with historical and cultural sites; the canyon, with limestone cliffs, steep hillsides of second-grown forest; and Spring Creek, with its world-class trout fishing. The creek flows northeasterly and is fed by the mineral-rich Benner Spring in the southwest corner of the property at the Benner Spring State Fish Hatchery.

There are distinct rock formations of dolomite, formed 500 million years ago, and limestone, formed 435 million years ago. Hiking trails are blazed throughout the property.

Native Americans hunted, fished and had settlements in the area for thousands of years. In 1793, Philip Benner arrived from Chester County with 92 workers to begin iron-making operations, attracted by the abundance of high-quality iron ore, limestone needed for flux, and hardwood for charcoal.

He built the Rock Ironworks along Spring Creek, as well as a community for workers called Rock. The name came from the rocky cliffs along the south side of the creek.

The property’s maintenance partners are Benner Township, the Department of Corrections, the Game Commission, the Fish and Boat Commission, and Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

John Dillon


Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. https://pfbc.pa.gov/springcreekcanyon.htm (Accessed June 16, 2021).

Spring Creek Canyon Conservation Strategy Master Plan; Pennsylvania General Assembly 2010 State Act 55.

First Published: May 20, 2021

Last Modified: December 5, 2021