Outdoor Adventures Await at PA’s State Parks

 

Waterfall at Ricketts Glen State Park, Sullivan County, PA. Photo by Randy Stauffer.

 

The Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, and our state parks provide the perfect spot to escape into the great outdoors. Our parks showcase some of the most scenic spots in Pennsylvania, from sweeping vistas to roaring waterfalls. They provide endless opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, boating, and so much more.

The Endless Mountains region is home to four state parks. All of them are open to the public and free to visit. Check out these stunning state parks and start planning your next adventure.

 

Ricketts Glen State Park

 

Waterfall at Ricketts Glen State Park, Sullivan County, PA. Photo by Francie Davis.

 

Sullivan County, PA

Ricketts Glen is the largest state park in the Endless Mountains with over 13,000 acres to explore. The park is surrounded by thousands of additional acres of state game lands, which makes it truly feel like the wilderness.

The crown jewel of the park is the famous Falls Trail. This challenging route passes 21 named waterfalls in the Glens Natural Area. The tallest is Ganoga Falls at a jaw-dropping 94 feet tall. The entire trail system is 7.2 miles long, but you can create a shorter loop by taking the Highland Trail. Just remember, safety first! The trail can be rocky, steep, and slippery, so sturdy shoes are a must. The trail also closes for the winter, except to experienced ice climbers and guided tours.

The waterfalls are breathtaking, but they’re only the beginning of what Ricketts Glen has to offer. The park features 26 miles of hiking trails for all skill levels. For an easier alternative to the Falls Trail, try the Evergreen Trail, a one-mile loop with views of Adams Falls. Laurel View Trail is another gentle, yet scenic, hike along the top of Red Rock Mountain.

And no trip to Ricketts Glen would be complete without a visit to Lake Jean. The lake offers wonderful opportunities for fishing and boating. A sand beach, swimming area, and boat rental stand are open every summer.

With so much to see, it’s impossible to take in all the sights in just one day. Book a stay at the park’s popular campsites, which range from tent sites under the stars to modern cabins.

 

Salt Springs State Park

 

Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park in Montrose, PA. Photo by Sharon Young.

 

Montrose, PA

From lush meadows to rushing waterfalls to towering forests, Salt Springs State Park will give you a snapshot of the countryside. This park is home to one of the last remaining old-growth hemlock forests in the state. Many of the trees are over 300 years old. Take the Hemlock Trail, and the majestic forest will make you feel like you’re in a storybook.

Salt Springs State Park is also home to the Fall Brook Natural Area, where the stream has carved out a deep gorge through the woods. The area boasts three waterfalls, which you can view from the Gorge Trail.

The Friends of Salt Springs Park have played an integral role in keeping the park open and thriving. This nonprofit organization not only maintains the park, but also plans education programs and fun events throughout the year.

 

Vosburg Neck State Park

 

Susquehanna River at Vosburg Neck State Park, Tunkhannock, PA.

 

Tunkhannock, PA

Unveiled in September 2022, Vosburg Neck is one of the newest state parks in Pennsylvania. Formerly known as the Howland Preserve, the park sits on a dramatic oxbow bend on the Susquehanna River. Rolling mountains and rocky cliffs rise up from the riverbanks. Look closely, and you might even spot the resident bald eagles.

A kayak or canoe trip will give you a firsthand look at the Neck. An unpowered boat launch provides easy access to the river.

Vosburg Neck also features eight miles of singletrack trails that flow through the forests. The Vista Trail is standout. This three-mile loop has a moderate climb, but it’s still easy enough for families. At the top, you’ll enjoy a view of the river and farmland below.

 

World’s End State Park

 

Loyalsock Canyon Vista at World’s End State Park, Forksville, PA. Photo by Maura Feeney.

Forksville, PA

If you’re chasing views, World’s End State Park belongs on your bucket list. This park is nestled in the valley along Loyalsock Creek and is surrounded by the vast Loyalsock State Forest. The park alone features six scenic vistas, so make sure to bring your camera.

The Loyalsock Canyon Vista is the perhaps the most popular viewpoint. At 1,750 feet, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the park. If you’re up for an adventure, hike to the top on the challenging Canyon Vista Trail.  You can also drive to the view by taking Mineral Spring Road and Cold Run Road.

Most of the trails at World’s End are rocky, rugged, and steep, but the views are well worth the effort. Conquer the High Rock Trail for an overlook of the creek, or take a walk along the stream on the Double Run Nature Trail. The park also includes a portion of the Loyalsock Trail, a 59-mile hiking and backpacking route.

Loyalsock Creek runs straight through the heart of the park. In the spring, the snowmelt makes for epic whitewater boating. In the summer, the swimming area is open for visitors to splash in the refreshing mountain water.

For the full experience, spend the night at the park’s campground. World’s End offers year-round rustic cabin rentals and seasonal sites for tents and trailers.

 

Discover More Adventures in the Endless Mountains

In addition to our state parks, the Endless Mountains boast countless other trails public lands. From hiking and biking to hunting and fishing, we have it all in Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Wyoming counties. Download our Outdoor Recreation Guide to discover even more outdoor destinations. You can also request a free copy via mail.

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