Just over 100 years ago French Creek State Park was nothing more than a barren wasteland that had been devastated by decades of deforestation. But today it stands as one of the largest state parks in Pennsylvania.
A truly remarkable transformation, it started when that land was bought in the 1930s by the federal government and eventually opened as a state park in 1946.
Sprawling for just under 8,000 acres in Chester and Berks counties, it now boasts a gorgeous landscape of forests, lakes, and wetlands that are flanked by the spectacular Schuylkill Highlands. Possessing some of the most impressive flora and fauna in the state, the park offers plenty of fantastic outdoor recreational pursuits for the visitor.
There are also several different camping options too, which attract scores of visitors from Philadelphia and Trenton. Both of which are less than 90 minute drives away.
French Creek State Park Photos
No matter what time of year you go, this Pennsylvania state park offers plenty of ways to immerse yourself in, and enjoy its incredible scenery.
Here is just a small selection of some of the things you can see and do there.
Boating at French Creek State Park
For those who like to take to the water, the park accommodates two lakes – Hopewell Lake and Scotts Run Lake – which are perfect for kayaking, canoeing, SUP and boating in the summer.
Both of these lakes have boat launches, and you can rent out these types of watercraft from Hopewell Lake if you didn’t bring one with you.
Swimming at French Creek State Park
As Pennsylvania can get unbearably hot in the summer, many visitors to the park choose to swim at the pool which is located on the fringes of Hopewell Lake.
Protected by lifeguards, it is open from Memorial Day through to Labor Day, and also features a snack bar and a picnic area.
Fishing at French Creek State Park
Given the park has two lakes, fishing is a very popular activity here, attracting anglers from all over the state and further afield.
Scotts Run Lake offers 22 acres of year-round cold water fishing, which is perfect for catching trout. While Hopewell Lake is renowned for its big bass; although you can also snare panfish, northern pike and walleye there too.
Hiking at French Creek State Park
Offering over 35 miles of hiking trails, the park is arguably best explored on foot.
There are several trails you can choose to tackle, which showcase its incredible natural beauty. Though if you want to see the best of the park be sure to traverse the Boone Trail.
Extending for six miles, it passes all of the park’s main attractions. If you can, try and attempt it during the fall, when the autumn foliage is quite incredible.
Mountain Biking at French Creek State Park
While not all trails in the park are open for mountain biking, it is still worth bringing it with you as there are over 20 miles you can explore.
This rocky terrain can be quite challenging, so they are only recommended for riders who are of an advanced level.
Riders should be mindful that biking is not permitted on camp roads or anywhere south of Park Road.
Horseback Riding at French Creek State Park
Although the park only has one trail for horseback riding, its well worth bringing yours with you to tackle the Horseshoe Trail.
Extending for eight miles, it will take you past most of the park’s most notable attractions, including both of its sparkling lakes.
For those who would like to continue riding once you have taken in most of the park, the Horseshoe trail extends another 130 miles until it connects to the Appalachian Trail near Harrisburg at one end and Valley Forge National Park over at the other.
Hopewell Furnace at French Creek State Park
History buffs in your group are sure to want to check out the Hopewell Furnace.
Way before the park existed, the area was logged to make charcoal for the furnace, which was a crucial element for producing iron for the nation, from the late 1700s until well into the 1800s.
Now a National Historic Site, it is situated just across from the park. So it is well worth taking the opportunity to learn all about the role it played in the country’s development.
Winter Sports at French Creek State Park
Unlike other state parks, when the snow and colder weather of winter hits, French Creek State Park incorporates another dimension of recreational activities.
The hiking trails automatically become cross-country skiing trails, while you can also skate or fish on the lakes. Both of which have turned to ice by then.
Sledding also takes place at Scotts Run Lake, towards the back of the dam.
Pets at French Creek State Park
Pets are allowed in some sections of the park, so you can bring your dog with you if you like.
However, some restrictions may apply. So it is worth contacting the park’s office to ensure you are fully aware of what they are.
Camping at French Creek State Park
The park features a large campground that is open from March all the way through to the beginning of January.
Overall, 60 of the sites here have electric hookups, while some even come with full hookups for electricity, water and sewer.
There are also 10 modern, fully furnished cabins in the campground that can sleep up to six people and feature a kitchen, heating, and a private restroom with shower.
In addition, the park offers three cottages that can sleep five people, as well as two yurts, and organized group tents and camps.
In terms of amenities the campgrounds have flush toilets and warm showers, as well as picnic tables and fire rings.
French Creek State Park
843 Park Rd,
Elverson, PA 19520
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at French Creek State Park:
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