Pennsylvania State Outdoors

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Pennsylvania State Parks

Presque Isle State Park
Presque Isle is a recurving sand spit jutting into Lake Erie and has the only surf beach in the Commonwealth. Its geological and biological diversity, and its historical significance will spark your interest. The location of the park on Lake Erie makes it a favorite spot for bird migration Presque Isle State Park is a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that arches lakeward into Lake Erie. The neck of the peninsula is attached to the mainland four miles west of downtown Erie. Presque Isle creates Presque Isle Bay, a wide and deep harbor for the city of Erie. Presque Isle Bay attracts many pleasure boats and worldwide freighters, making Erie an important Great Lakes shipping port. Presque Isle is also a National Natural Landmark. Diverse and rare plants and animals attract naturalists: Presque Isle contains a greater number of the state's endangered, threatened and rare species than any other area of comparable size in Pennsylvania. Presque Isle is a major recreational landmark for about four million visitors each year. As Pennsylvania's only "seashore," Presque Isle offers its visitors a beautiful coastline and many recreational activities, including swimming, boating and hiking. Whether you come to enjoy the sandy beaches, study ecological diversity or learn about the historical significance of the peninsula, there is something for everyone at Presque Isle State Park. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Bendigo State Park
The peace and tranquillity of this small park envelops the visitor. Located in a valley on a bank of the East Branch of the Clarion River, a charming streamside picnic area sits amidst a mixture of hardwood trees. A trout stream provides ample opportunities for anglers and the swimming pool is a big hit in summer. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Raccoon Creek State Park
Over 60 years of development, Raccoon Creek State Park is one of the largest and most beautiful state parks in Pennsylvania. The park contains 7,323 acres and features the beautiful 101-acre Raccoon Creek Lake. A wide and varied selection of recreational opportunities are available during all seasons of the year. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Bald Eagle State Park
The rugged Bald Eagle Mountain and Allegheny Plateau enhance the beauty of the 1,730-acre lake that features unlimited horsepower boating. Hiking and butterfly trails make for a grand experience if you like to observe wildlife. Swimming is available at the sand beach. Visitors may choose from a wide selection of recreational opportunities which include: swimming, picnicking, boating, fishing, water-skiing, hiking, both primitive and modern camping, environmental education programs, ice fishing, ice skating, cross country skiing, sled and tobogganing, boat rentals and a marina with 368 marina dockage spaces, 80 summer dry storage spaces and 60 winter dry storage spaces. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Pine Grove Furnace State Park
The historical character of the park is enhanced by its natural beauty. This park was once the site of the Pine Grove Furnace Iron Works that dates from 1764. Historical buildings include the ironmaster's mansion, a gristmill, an inn and several residences. The self-guiding historical trail leads you through the remains of the iron works. The Appalachian Trail passes through the park. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Camping and Hiking in Pennsylvania

Oil Creek State Park
Located in Crawford and Venango counties, the 7,096 acres of park land consists of deep hollows, steep hills, wetlands and a beautiful, meandering creek through 13.5 miles of the scenic Oil Creek Gorge. Remains of the oil boom days still exist in the park hidden among clean trout waters, hemlock and broadleaf forests, and a wide variety of plant and animal life. A 9.5-mile paved bicycle trail through scenic Oil Creek Gorge is a major park attraction. Trailheads can be found at Petroleum Centre and Drake Well Museum. Trail users may rent bicycles at the old Egbert Oil Office at Petroleum Centre. The concession also sells snacks and soft drinks and is open each day from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and weekends during the spring and fall. The trail also serves as a route for hikers and cross-country skiers. Picnic tables, benches, rain shelters and a restroom are located at key points along the trail. Historical markers detail special events of the 1860s oil boom era. The trail is open to two-way bicycle traffic. Stay to the right while riding. When passing another cyclist, first ensure that there are no on-coming riders, then call out to the cyclist that you are passing. Bicycles should be parked off of the trail to avoid obstructing traffic. Over 52 miles of hiking and interpretive trails lead visitors through areas rich in historic and scenic interest. Trail maps and information are available at the park office. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Cherry Springs State Park
Facilities at Cherry Springs include camping sites and two picnic shelters. Cherry Springs State Park is nearly as remote and wild today as it was a century ago, a haven for campers who like to rough it and who can appreciate one of the finest scenic drives in all of Pennsylvania. Thirty (30) campground spaces and a sanitary dump station are available. The campground is open from the second Friday in April and closes at the end of antlerless deer season in December. Maximum camping period shall be limited to 14 consecutive nights. Advance registrations are not accepted. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Promised Land State Park
Promised Land lies in the heart of the Poconos. Two lakes, campgrounds, many hiking trails and beautiful scenery make the park a popular destination in all seasons. Within the park you can still see the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps done in the 1930s. A seasonal museum explores CCC contributions and area wildlife. 487 campsites are available in four tent and trailer camping areas. All campgrounds are near swimming, boating, fishing and hiking facilities. The Pines Campground is located at the northwestern end of Promised Land Lake within walking distance of the day use area and main beach. Pickerel Point Campground is located on a peninsula and provides patrons with the park's most primitive camping experience. Deerfield Campground is up on the mountain tucked into the rocks. Lower Lake Campground is found at the western edge of the Lower Lake and contains modern restrooms with showers. Pickerel Point Campground is open throughout the year. However, access cannot be guaranteed during severe winter storms. Nestled in hemlocks, adjacent to Lower Lake, the Bear Wallow Cabin Colony contains twelve rustic rental cabins constructed by Civilian Conservation Corps. These primitive cabins each have a fireplace, electricity and an adjacent private bath There are more than 30 miles of hiking trails in Promised Land State Park and the surrounding state forest, providing access to many natural scenic places. Hike Bruce Lake Road to a natural glacial lake, or see the little waterfalls along the East Branch of Wallenpaupak Trail, or walk a loop around Conservation Island. Splendid opportunities exist for nature study, relaxation and exploration. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on all hiking trails, except snowmobiles, which are allowed on designated snowmobile trails. Before hiking, let someone know where you are going and when you will return. Take a map, stay on the trails and plan to return before dusk. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Greenwood Furnace State Park
Nestled in the mountains of northeastern Huntingdon County, historic Greenwood Furnace State Park offers a unique recreational experience. The park covers 423 acres including a six-acre lake. Fifty forested tent and trailer campsites are open from the second Friday in April until the end of the antlerless deer hunting season in late December. A washhouse with flush toilets, hot showers and laundry tubs is available. Many short hikes are available in the park and on surrounding state forest lands. Two long distance trails begin in the park. The Greenwood Spur of the Mid-State Trail leads past the Greenwood Forest Fire Lookout Tower and through Alan Seeger Natural Area where it intersects the Mid State Trail. Along the way to the tower a person will see charcoal hearths where wood was made into charcoal that fueled the Greenwood furnaces. The Mid State Trail provides cross-country hiking in the Ridge and Valley Region of central Pennsylvania. This 171-mile ridge top route connects U.S. Route 22 at Water Street, Huntingdon County and the West Rim Trail in the Tioga State Forest north of Blackwell, Tioga County. The trail is characterized by extensive forested areas which provide the hiker with a variety of successional changes from newly regenerated forest stands through mature and virgin timber and offers many scenic vistas. The trail route takes the hiker through Penn Roosevelt State Park, Thickhead Wild Area, Bear Meadows and the Detweiler Natural Areas. The main trail is marked with orange paint blazed rectangles 2 inches by 6 inches. Side trails are blue paint blazed rectangles of the same size. Trail registers have been installed at a number of places along the trail and overnight camping is permitted anywhere along the trail except in the natural areas or within 200 feet of any forest road. Hikers wishing to camp overnight at a state park must use the camping areas and pay the nightly fee. The Link Trail is a rugged 65-mile hike that links the Tuscarora Trail near Cowans Gap State Park with the Mid State Trail via the Greenwood Spur. The Tuscarora Trail intersects the Appalachian Trail in Perry County and in Virginia. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Neshaminy State Park
The park provides access to several hiking trails (4.0 mi.) which vary from flat to gently sloping. The River Walk Trail is described in a booklet available at the park office. The information provided in the booklet linked with a walk on the trail, gives the hiker a fascinating look at the Delaware as it flows by the park. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Hunting and Fishing in Pennsylvania

Pymatuning State Park
Pymatuning is one of the largest state parks in the Commonwealth. The large lake provides excellent fishing throughout the year. Pymatuning Lake is especially lovely in late spring evenings when the sunset gilds the water and colorful sailboats appear to slide across a lake of gold. Common species of fish in the lake include walleye, muskellunge, carp, crappie, perch, bluegill, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. Ice fishing during the winter months is also popular. An accessible fishing pier is located at the Espyville Marina and the Shenago River. Of special interest to hunters is the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Wildlife Management Area where controlled shooting is available during the annual waterfowl season. Special areas are also established for duck hunting. Some 20,000 Canada geese and many more ducks are in the area each fall. Public hunting is available in many areas surrounding the controlled shooting section. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Maurice K. Goddard State Park
The 1,860-acre Lake Wilhelm is an angler's paradise. Anglers visit the park year-round, although ice fishing accounts for many of the larger fish caught in Lake Wilhelm. The large lake, abundant wetlands, old fields and mature forests provide a diversity of habitats that attracts wildlife in all seasons. Largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike and muskellunge are the typical warm water game fish in the lake. Bluegill, crappie, catfish, perch and sunfish are also abundant. A bait and fishing tackle concession is available at the marina. All Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Over 1,155 acres of M.K. Goddard State Park, plus Lake Wilhelm, are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer and waterfowl. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park manager for accessible hunting information. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Lackawanna State Park
Lackawanna State Park is packed with fun. There is a campground, organized group tenting sites and a pool. Boaters and anglers enjoy Lackawanna Lake and Kennedy Creek. This park is a favorite of canoeists, hikers, nature enthusiasts and campers. The lake contains both cold and warm water species of fish. Some of the varied species of fish stocked in the stream and lake are trout, muskellunge, walleye, channel cat, bullhead, pickerel and largemouth bass. The lake is also fed by Kennedy Creek, a favorite of all the canoers in the park. The 2.5 mile long lake has more than 7.5 miles of shoreline for access to many anxious anglers. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Warriors Path State Park
The Raystown Branch of the Juniata River meanders around the finger of land that is Warriors Path State Park. Unique habitats exist as a result of the river formation. A freshwater swamp and weathered shale cliffs are examples of the unique natural wonders this park offers. Nearby Raystown Lake Recreation Area is a favorite camping and boating spot for many visitors. Excluding posted safety zones, all of Warriors Path State Park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, pheasant, rabbit, grouse and squirrel. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park manager for accessible hunting information. The Raystown Branch of the Juniata River provides excellent fishing opportunities for smallmouth bass, rock bass, muskellunge, walleye, catfish, eel, carp and sucker. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Little Buffalo State Park
Certain places just attract people. The cool, clear water of Little Buffalo Creek has been attracting people for centuries. American Indians frequently visited Little Buffalo Creek on hunting trips. Farmers and merchants used to gossip and pass news while the grain was ground at Shoaff's Mill. Nearby, merchants, local people and travelers would meet at the Blue Ball Tavern. Today, thousands of people meet at Little Buffalo State Park to picnic, swim, fish, hike and experience nature and history. The 88-acre Holman Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. This warm water fishery enjoys natural reproduction of largemouth bass, catfish and panfish. The lake is designated as a "Big Bass Lake." Bass must be at least 15 in. long with a daily limit of four. Adult brook, brown and rainbow trout are stocked several times a year. Fingerlings of tiger muskellunge and walleye are also stocked. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission rules and regulations apply. An accessible fishing pier is located by the Main Boat Launch. See Winter Activities for information on ice fishing. Approximately 300 acres of Little Buffalo State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established Pennsylvania Game Commission seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, grouse, rabbit, pheasant and squirrel. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. For information call: 888-PA-PARKS


Other Pennsylvania Outdoor activities

Pennsylvania also offers the following outdoor activities:
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Climbing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Golf
  • Horseback Riding
  • Ice Fishing
  • Skiing
  • Tobogganing