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Hickory Run State Park

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Hickory Run State Park: A Journey Through Nature’s Marvels

Nestled in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, Hickory Run State Park spans over 15,990 acres, offering a serene escape into nature’s embrace. This park, rich in history, diverse in ecology, and abundant in recreational opportunities, is a perfect getaway for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and adventure seekers alike. Let’s embark on a journey through Hickory Run State Park, exploring its lush landscapes, rich history, and myriad of activities that make it a must-visit destination.

The story of Hickory Run State Park is as fascinating as its natural beauty. The land, once inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Lenape, was later used for lumbering and as a hunting ground. The evidence of the Lenape’s presence is still discernible in the park’s landscape and the remnants of their hunting paths. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps played a significant role in developing the park’s infrastructure, a legacy that is still evident in the park’s structures and layout, including rustic cabins and meticulously constructed stone walls. As we stroll through the park, one can’t help but feel a sense of historical reverence, imagining the hands that built this natural sanctuary.

Hickory Run State Park boasts a breathtaking array of trails and natural wonders that truly showcase the beauty of the Pocono Mountains.

Hickory Run’s diverse ecosystems are a haven for wildlife and plant species. From dense forests of hickory, oak, and birch to the open spaces of the wetlands, the park supports a variety of habitats. Birdwatchers can spot over 200 species of birds, including the majestic bald eagle and the elusive barred owl. Migratory birds such as warblers and thrushes add to the avian diversity during certain seasons. The park is also home to a rich array of wildlife such as white-tailed deer, black bears, and an array of amphibians and reptiles, including the colorful spotted salamander and the eastern box turtle.

Perhaps the most striking feature of Hickory Run is its Boulder Field, a National Natural Landmark. This vast expanse of boulders, formed during the last ice age, creates a surreal landscape that is both visually stunning and geologically significant. Stretching over 16.5 acres and believed to be 20,000 years old, the Boulder Field is a testament to the power of natural forces and a popular site for both scientific study and leisurely exploration.

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The park’s centerpiece, Hickory Run Lake, is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. Anglers can enjoy catching trout, bass, and panfish in the serene waters of the lake. For those who prefer flowing waters, Mud Run and Hickory Run, two of the park’s streams, offer excellent fly fishing opportunities, especially for trout. These streams, with their clear and cool waters, are a delight for anglers and nature enthusiasts alike.

In the summer months, the park’s Sand Spring Lake becomes a bustling spot with its sandy beach and cool waters, offering a refreshing respite from the heat. The lake, named for the springs that bubble through its sandy bottom, is a perfect spot for families to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.

Hickory Run State Park Tiered Falls 1600

Winter transforms Hickory Run into a wonderland, offering a different array of activities. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing become popular, with the park’s trails providing beautiful routes through the snow-covered landscape. Ice skating on Sand Spring Lake adds to the winter charm, making Hickory Run an all-season destination. The park’s snowy scenery provides a tranquil backdrop for these winter activities, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

For those wishing to extend their stay, Hickory Run offers a range of camping options, from tent sites to cottages. The park’s campgrounds are well-equipped with facilities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay amidst nature. The campgrounds, open from spring through late fall, include amenities such as modern restrooms, hot showers, and fire rings, making it an ideal spot for family camping trips or weekend getaways.

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Hickory Run State Park, with its rich history, diverse landscapes, and plethora of activities, offers something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful hike, an exciting fishing adventure, or a historical exploration, this park is a destination that promises memorable experiences. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready for an adventure in one of Pennsylvania’s natural jewels.

Hickory Run State Park Trails

Hickory Run State Park, nestled in the picturesque Pocono Mountains, offers a diverse array of over 40 miles of trails that cater to every level of hiker, from the casual walker to the seasoned trekker. Each trail within the park holds its own unique charm, challenges, and scenic vistas.

Hawk Falls Trail is a popular choice for those looking for a short but rewarding hike. This 0.6 mile (one-way) trail leads to the beautiful Hawk Falls, a 25 foot waterfall that cascades over natural rock formations. The trail, with its relatively easy terrain, is suitable for families and offers a picturesque journey through rhododendron bushes and hemlock forests. The sound of rushing water accompanies you as you approach the falls, making for a serene and scenic hiking experience.

Despite its ominous name, the Shades of Death Trail is a favorite among park visitors for its natural beauty and intriguing history. This 1.5 mile trail is moderately challenging and takes hikers through diverse landscapes, including dense forests, wetlands, and rocky terrains. The trail’s name dates back to the 19th century, likely referring to the difficult conditions early settlers faced. Along the path, hikers can observe remnants of old logging and coal mining operations, adding a historical element to the hike.

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The Boulder Field Trail, leading to the park’s iconic Boulder Field, is a must-visit for geology enthusiasts. This trail is moderately challenging, with rocky and uneven surfaces, but the destination is worth the effort. Boulder Field is a stunning, vast expanse of rocks and boulders, a testament to the last ice age’s power. The field is a National Natural Landmark and provides a unique, almost lunar landscape for visitors to explore.

For those seeking a more challenging and longer hike, the Skyline Trail is an ideal choice. This 6 mile loop trail offers some of the best panoramic views of the Lehigh Gorge. The trail is strenuous, with steep and rocky sections, but the reward is the breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The trail is particularly popular during the fall season when the foliage transforms the landscape into a kaleidoscope of colors.

Hickory Run State Park Flowing Falls 1600

The Fireline Trail, a 4 mile (one-way) path, offers a dynamic hiking experience with varying terrains and elevations. The trail connects the park’s campground with the Boulder Field, making it a great option for those camping in the park. Hikers on this trail will traverse through mixed forests, open fields, and rocky areas, enjoying a diverse range of landscapes.

Finally, the Sand Spring Trail, spanning about 2 miles, is a peaceful and relatively easy hike, perfect for a leisurely walk. The trail winds through a mixed forest and leads to the Sand Spring Lake. The lake, with its clear waters and sandy beach, is a delightful spot for a picnic or a refreshing swim during the warmer months. The trail’s gentle terrain makes it suitable for families and those looking for a relaxing stroll in nature.

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Hickory Run State Park’s trails offer a rich tapestry of natural beauty, history, and adventure. Whether you’re seeking a tranquil walk, a historical journey, or a challenging hike with stunning views, the park’s diverse trails provide an ideal backdrop for every hiker’s needs. Remember to wear appropriate footwear, carry enough water, and respect the park’s natural environment during your visit. Happy hiking!

What’s Nearby Hickory Run State Park

Just a stone’s throw away from the serene beauty of Hickory Run State Park, several other natural gems beckon the avid explorer. Ricketts Glen State Park, located approximately an hour’s drive north, is famed for its enchanting Falls Trail, where hikers can marvel at 22 cascading waterfalls, the highest being the majestic Ganoga Falls at 94 feet. This park, encompassing over 13,000 acres, is a paradise for those who relish in the thrill of challenging hikes and the tranquility of old-growth forests.

To the east, Dingmans Falls in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area offers a more leisurely experience with a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk leading to the spectacular 130-foot waterfall, one of the tallest in Pennsylvania. Nearby, Raymondskill Falls, the tallest waterfall in the state, presents a series of three cascading falls that together measure just a few feet shorter than Niagara Falls. These nearby locations, each unique in their offerings, create a rich tapestry of natural wonders, making the region a haven for those who seek the unspoiled beauty of the Pennsylvania wilderness.

Hickory Run State Park Parking Information

Parking at Hickory Run State Park is both convenient and ample, designed to accommodate the influx of visitors year-round. The park features several well-maintained parking lots strategically located near major trailheads, picnic areas, and the lake, ensuring easy access to the park’s main attractions. For those planning to visit the famous Boulder Field, designated parking is available near the site, providing a short walk to this geological wonder.

To reach Hickory Run State Park, take Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania to Exit 274 at the Hickory Run State Park Exit, and follow the signs to the park. Alternatively, from the northeast and the Wilkes-Barre area, take PA 940 west to the park.

Once inside, clear signage guides visitors to the various parking areas, each designed to serve different sections of the park, such as the campgrounds, the swimming areas at Sand Spring Lake, and the trailheads for popular hikes like Hawk Falls and Shades of Death Trail. It’s advisable to arrive early during peak season and weekends to secure parking, as some lots, especially those near popular spots like the lake and Boulder Field, can fill up quickly.

Further Reading

Hickory Run State Park Photos

Check out Carefree Creative’s photos of Hickory Run State Park

Hickory Run State Park Address & Directions

Hickory Run State Park, 3 Family Camp Road, White Haven, PA 18661


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