4 of the Best State Parks in Northeastern Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is full of beautiful landscapes and vegetation. The low lying Appalachian mountains of NEPA (Northeastern Pennsylvania) in particular make for some gorgeous vistas, hiking trails, and forests. There’s a bunch of parks all around, both local and state. In the northeast section alone(north of Allentown and East of Williamsport) there are 19 State Parks! This is a list of 4 of my favorites:


Lackawanna State Park

Relaxing, easy going

I grew up in NEPA, and the very first state park I had ever been to was Lackawanna State Park. It was all I knew! A lot of people in the area call it simply The State Park, as if it’s the only one there is. It’s a great park to just sit and relax, go for a stroll along the lakeside, and have a picnic. There’s a lot of trails around too for short or long walks, or a bit more of a hike-be sure not to miss seeing dam! Mountain biking is also really popular on the trails too, and there’s a pool you can swim in during the summer, and paddle and row boats you can rent. Altogether one of my favorite parks and one you always want to come back to. It’s pretty easy to get to as well, not far from Interstate 81. Lackawanna State Park Website



Lackawanna Lake is the big feature in the park, where you can take a walk around it, fish, go for a boat ride, or even ice skate in the winter.


Old field stone walls and lots of trees provide beautiful shade on sunny days.


Picnic Tables and Boats – bring your own or rent one!


Park Road in Autumn


Salt Spring State Park

Beautiful Scenery

Of course all the parks have beautiful scenery, but Salt Springs especially sticks out in my mind due to the gorgeous hemlock forest that follows Fall Brook Gorge running through the park. It’s a smaller park, you may even miss the turn off to get on the road towards it as it’s not that obvious, but it’s well worth a visit! Salt Spring State Park Website



On Helmlock Trail

The Hemlock trail, which follows the top of the gorge, has walkways on parts of it for easy going. Although the climb to the top(and back down) might be a bit too steep for some. There are overlooks where you can look down and see Fall Brook, a waterfall, and Penny Rock! Bring with you a penny to hammer in the rock while you’re there for good luck. You’ll know it when you see it 🙂


Penny Rock


Picnic area


The start of a couple trails


The Salt Spring

And of course, you can’t go there and not take a look at the namesake of the park; the Salt Spring. That’s it above. It’s tiny. But it is salty 😉 It has has a lot of history attached to it as well, being the main source of salt for early settlers to the area.


Hickory Run State Park

National Natural Landmark

As the sign says in the picture below, the Hickory Run Boulder Field is a National Natural Landmark, so you definitely have to go see this! It’s pretty awesome, and a lot of fun to walk, skip, and jump across.  If you go, make sure you drive down the road towards the boulder field all the way. It’s quite a walk if you park at one of the lower parking lots, and the road turns into a one way and gets pretty narrow. There are hiking trails too-Shadows of Death is a really beautiful trail despite the name! Hickory Run State Park Website



The Boulder Field


Edge of the forest from the boulder field



Rickett’s Glen State Park

Hiking & lots of Waterfalls

If you love hiking, and you love waterfalls, you’re going to love this park. It’s my favorite in the area. There are 22 waterfalls, the highest being 94 foot Ganoga falls! The waterfall loop trail is over 7 miles long. Longer still depending on what parking lot you start at. There’s the one on route 118 which takes you through a nice leisurely walk through the woods on flat ground till you start running into the falls where the elevation then climbs. And there’s also parking up near Lake Jean on top of the mountain. Either way you go, it’s a great and fun hike! It can be slippery and a bit challenging for some however. Ricketts Glen State Park Website





The riverbed and rocks in the area are all a light red orange, which is pretty neat. They even call a town nearby Red Rock.


Hiking trails

And that’s it! Hope you enjoyed this little intro to some of NEPA’s best parks!

Which are your favorites?

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