Pennsylvania is blessed with some 124 state parks, but few have quite as dramatic a landscape as Big Pocono State Park.
Located in Monroe County, within the state’s northeastern regions, the park boasts 1,306 acres of robust and craggy terrain. All of which resides on the slopes and summit of the stunning Camelback Mountain.
Showcasing incredible views of three different states, the park is a haven for those who enjoy hiking, biking. picnicking and horseback riding. While pursuits like downhill skiing, snow tubing and snowboarding are also popular activities in the winter too.
Unfortunately there are no camping facilities within this park, but don’t let that put you off coming here for a few days, as there are plenty of options for RVs and tent camping within just a few minutes drive of it.
Visitors to the park can enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits whilst there.
Here is just a small selection of some of the things you can do.
Hiking at Big Pocono State Park
Hiking is undoubtedly the main attraction at the park. With people coming from all over the state, and further afield, to enjoy the fantastic scenery you can see along the trails.
Be aware, that as the park sits on top of a mountain, most of the hikes involve long, steep climbs uphill. This can be quite a challenge for those who don’t have high levels of physical fitness.
Overall there are more than 8.5 miles of trails that wind their way through the park. These include the North and South Trails, as well as the Upper Loop of South Trail, the Indian Trail and the North Trail Lower Loop.
On a clear day, from the summit area, you may even be able to see parts of the neighboring states of New York and New Jersey too.
Biking at Big Pocono State Park
Those who brought their bikes with them to the park, will be pleased to know they can ride them on the South Trail and North Trail Lower Loop.
Bicycles are also allowed on all hard surface roads which are shared by vehicles. Although they are prohibited on the connecting trails which run from the parking lot and also feature on the North and Indian trails.
Horseback Riding at Big Pocono State Park
If you want to bring your horse with you during your visit to the park, you will be able to ride them on all hard surface roads that are shared with vehicles.
In addition, you can also take traverse the South Trail, as well as the North Trail Lower Loop.
Unfortunately, horses are not permitted on the Indian and North Trails.
Picnicking at Big Pocono State Park
Given the wonderful views it showcases, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to discover that picnicking is a very popular activity at the park.
Overall, there are three picnic areas here, with charcoal grills, that provide a terrific place to eat, whilst you take in the surrounding scenery.
The park is known for its outstanding topography which includes a scintillating scrub oak shrubland that is located on top of Camelback Mountain.
Here you will find a stunning terrain of quaking aspen, wind-dwarfed gray birch and pitch pine, all of which are no more than 20 feet tall. The likes of sweet fern, lowbush blueberry and mountain laurel all grow under them.
At other parts of the park there are plenty of maple, oak and hickory trees. While hemlock and rhododendron glen can also be seen at certain times of the year in abundance as well.
Much of this landscape is best taken in from one the many hiking trails that meander through it.
Hunting at Big Pocono State Park
During the established seasons, some 800 acres of the park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs.
Visitors to the park at this time who hold a valid licence, can snare common game species like bear, coyote, deer, fox, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, turkey, ruffed grouse and raccoon.
As with all state parks in Pennsylvania, the hunting of groundhogs is not allowed. You will also need to abide by the laws and regulations of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Winter activities at Big Pocono State Park
During the winter months, when the snow comes, the park offers excellent opportunities for downhill skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing.
All of which not only provides you with a fantastic adrenaline rush, but also enables you to enjoy the park in a different way than you otherwise can in the summer months.
Pets at Big Pocono State Park
Like with most state parks in Pennsylvania, pets are allowed in day-use areas, as well as on some of the trails.
However, if you want to bring your dog with you to Big Pocono State Park, some restrictions do apply. So it is worth contacting the main office in advance to ascertain what they are.
Camping at Big Pocono State Park
Unfortunately there is no camping at Big Pocono State Park itself. However, the nearby Four Seasons Campgrounds will enable you to camp right in the heart of the Poconos.
The great thing about this campground is that all its RVs are full hookups, while some of them are pull-thru sites too.
Amenities here include modern restrooms, laundry facilities, fire rings, a camp store, WI-FI, cable TV and swimming pools.
Alternatively, Mount Pocono Campground is another option you might consider. Situated on 43 acres of wooded land, it offers 191 campsites, many of which have electric, cable and water hookups.
Each of the sites here also has their own picnic table, as well as a fire pit.
Big Pocono State Park
980 Camelback Rd
Tannersville, PA 18372
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Big Pocono State Park: