Established in 1951, Chapman State Park is one of Pennsylvania’s oldest and most popular public recreational spaces.
Spread across 862 splendid acres that lie within the Pleasant Township in Warren County, the park is named in honor of Dr. Leroy E. Chapman. Who was a distinguished state senator that served between 1929 and 1963.
Featuring the sparkling 68-acre man-made Chapman Lake at its core, the park is a renowned spot for hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting and camping.
Situated just a 90 minute drive from the city of Erie, and only 3 hours from Cleveland, Ohio, the park is nestled within the lush and bosky woodlands of the Allegheny National Forest.
Subsequently, it is not just a destination in itself, but also a gateway to one of Pennsylvania’s wildest places.
Visitors to this Pennsylvania state park can enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits during their time at Chapman.
Here are some more details about what you can do there.
Boating at Chapman State Park
For those who enjoy taking to the water, Chapman Lake is a terrific spot for kayaking, SUP, canoeing and row boating.
If you have any of these vessels, be sure to bring them along with you.
Swimming at Chapman State Park
Between the months of July and August, the mercury can soar well past the 80s. Humidity can also be quite oppressive too.
At such times, swimming in Chapman Lake is a very popular activity. This is done within a designated swimming area that is adjacent to a recreational beach.
This area is not lifeguarded, so you will need to be a little bit cautious whilst you splash around.
Fishing at Chapman State Park
If you are big into fishing, the park should be a very attractive option for you. Offering the chance to throw in a line from a boat, or on the shore, you can expect to catch plenty of yellow perch, sunfish, bluegill and largemouth bass.
Once you have had your fill of fishing at Chapman Lake, you can choose to head on over to Allegheny National Forest, which boasts several waterways. This includes everything from gentle streams and picturesque reservoirs, to shimmering lakes and the mighty Allegheny River.
The likes of Brook trout, as well as catfish, walleye and pike all reside in abundance here. But wherever you choose to fish, be sure you own a current Pennsylvania state fishing license.
Hiking at Chapman State Park
While Chapman State Park does not have a massive network of trails, it does offer very close proximity to the Allegheny National Forest, which has plenty.
Of the trails it does have, most of them, including the Crooked Pine Trail and Adams Run Trail, will guide you to longer routes that run within the national forest and adjacent state game lands.
Within Allegheny, one of the trails you might want to tackle is the 3.5-mile Tanbark Trail, as this will take you through an enchanting landscape of woodland and forest that are covered in lichens, ferns and mosses.
Photography at Chapman State Park
If you are into photography, the park should provide you with plenty of inspiration.
Whether it be the tranquility of Chapman Lake, the stately trees of the forests, or any of the stunning scenic views you’ll find throughout the park, Chapman State Park has no end of subject material for you to snap.
One of the best times to bring your camera to the park is during the fall when the autumn colors on display are simply breathtaking.
Winter Sports at Chapman State Park
Although visitor numbers to the park drop significantly in the winter, those who do arrive in the colder months can enjoy a range of snow related activities.
This includes the likes of cross-country skiing, sledding and snowshoeing, as well as ice-skating and ice fishing, which takes place on the lake.
Hunting at Chapman State Park
During the season, hunting is permitted in Chapman State Park within specifically designated areas. You can also partake in this activity in the national forest and state lands that surround the park.
Between them, their quiet forests will provide you with an attractive setting for any hunting trip.
The likes of black bear, white-tailed deer, wild turkey and squirrel are the game species that are most commonly pursued.
Both dog training and trapping of some species is allowed. However, you must make sure you hunt in accordance to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s rules and regulations.
Pets at Chapman State Park
Pets are welcome in certain sections of the park.
If you want to bring your dog along with you, it is worth contacting the park’s main office to ascertain what those restrictions are.
Camping at Chapman State Park
Nestled on the eastern fringes of Chapman Lake, the park’s main campground accommodates over 80 sites for RVs and trailers. Some of which have full hookups for 30-amp to 50-amp electricity, sewer and water, which can be reserved up to 11 months in advance.
For those who are planning on tent camping at walk-In sites, you will find 13 spots, spread across several acres in the woods, just to the south of the main campground. Again these can be reserved online.
All of these sites are primitive, so only come with grills and fire rings. However, as the main campground is just a few hundred meters away, you will be able to use the amenities there. Which include restrooms with flush toilets and water spigots.
As an alternative option, the park also offers five cottages and two yurts, as well as a group camping facility too.
Chapman State Park
4790 Chapman Dam Rd
Clarendon, PA 16313
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Chapman State Park:
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