Best State Parks in Northeast PA

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If you’re looking for State Parks in Northeast PA there are 19 in the region to choose from! The low lying Appalachian mountains of NEPA (Northeastern Pennsylvania) in particular make for some gorgeous vistas, hiking trails, waterfalls, and forests. This is a list of 4 of my favorite Pennsylvania state parks to visit:

 

Lackawanna State Park

Relaxing, great for picnics, boating, easy strolls along the lakeside

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 State Park Lake

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.

 

Lackawanna State Park

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

 

Lackawanna State Park Picnic Tables and Boats

Picnic Tables can be found all throughout the park. Paddle boats or row boats can be rented or bring your own!

 

Lackawanna State Park Road in Autumn

Lackawanna State Park Road in Autumn.

 

Salt Spring State Park

Gorgeous walk through the hemlock forest

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 the upper trail

On the 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

Penny Rock

 

Picnic area

Picnic area

 

The start of a trail

The start of a couple trails

 

The Salt Spring

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 – Awesome fun Boulder Field!

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 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

 

Natural Landmark

 

The Boulder Field

The Boulder Field

 

Edge of the forest from 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

 

 

Waterfalls!

Waterfalls!

 

Red Rocks

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

Hiking trails at Rickett’s Glenn are some of the most fun around!

And that’s it! Hope you enjoyed this little intro to some of the best State Parks in Northeast PA!

Which are your favorites?

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