Patrick Creek Swim and Picnic Area is a great spot for families with young children. The river access and picnic area sits just west of where Patrick's Creek meets the Smith River. Despite the name, the site is actually on the Smith River. The site was established in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and it features educational placards throughout the area.
There is ample room to spread out around a picnic table, play lawn games, or set up on the water. Trees along the riverside are perfect for hanging a hammock for an afternoon siesta. The immediate river access closest to the picnic tables is rather shallow, making it better for families with young children to play. Farther downstream the trail can be followed to meet deeper water. The area is also a great spot for shallow fly fishing.
It is a quick walk to the site's stone bathroom, and just uphill is the Patrick's Creek Campground. By walking upstream and a little bit inland, you can access the Patrick's Creek Interpretive Trail, a historic trail only 0.25 miles long one-way that leads to Patrick Creek Lodge, which has a bar and live music on occasion.
After taking the short access road, continue past Patrick's Creek Campground sign and take your first left. Park at the first picnic benches on your right before making your way down to the river. You will be met with the option to walk left down the paved area to the picnic area and river or move right onto a short trail that leads you through the woods to the river and picnic area. The trail is next to an original hydraulic mining pump that is accompanied by one of the many educational placards.