Spread across the spectacular Pocono Mountains, and incorporating almost 16,000 acres, Hickory Run State Park is a jewel in Pennsylvania’s state park system.
Located in White Haven, less than a two hour drive from New York and Philadelphia, the park is renowned for its gorgeous scenery and diverse wildlife.
Providing visitors with a fabulous change of pace from the frenzy of city life, it offers excellent opportunities for hiking, fishing, swimming, picnicking and winter sports.
Also boasting a huge, modern campground that offers a variety of accommodation options, it is the perfect place to visit when you need your fix of nature.
The park provides guests with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.
Here are some of the many things you can see and do during your time there.
Swimming at Hickory Run State Park
During the warmer months of summer, Sand Spring Lake is a fabulous place to go for a cooling dip. But as it is not lifeguarded, you will have to do so at your own risk.
However, when you are not in the water you will be able to relax on the lovely sandy beach there, which also features a concession stand which sells snacks, ice creams and drinks.
The park also has a swimming pool. But this is only available to those staying at the group cabins.
Fishing at Hickory Run State Park
Hickory Run State Park is blessed with some excellent spots to fish. This includes several streams and lakes like Fourth Run, Hawk Run, Sand Spring Run and Hickory Run.
Depending on where you fish you might be able to snare brook and brown trout in abundance. However, to do so, you will need to hold a valid Pennsylvania fishing licence.
Trails at Hickory Run State Park
The park is perhaps best explored by its many trails that wind their way through it.
Overall there are about 44 miles of trails to check out, which you can do via hiking or biking in the warmer months.
The trails vary significantly in terms of degree of difficulty. Though regardless of your level of proficiency, you will be able to take in spectacular views of your surroundings, and immerse yourself in the tranquillity and solitude of the area.
When tackling these trails, please note that yellow blazes identify hiking only trails, while blue blazes signify trails that are suitable for hiking and cross-country skiing. Orange trails denote what is appropriate for hiking and snowmobiling.
Biking is not permitted on any of the trails at Hickory Run State Park.
The park is renowned for its diverse range of wildlife which includes more than 50 species of mammals and 150 species of birds.
Black bears are quite common, though you shouldn’t approach them if you see one. While the likes of deer, mink, wild turkeys and snakes are prevalent too.
In terms of birdlife, everything from red-breasted nuthatches, northern waterthrush and Blackburnian warblers to American robins, hermit thrush and eastern bluebirds, can be spotted throughout the woodlands and wetlands.
Picnicking at Hickory Run State Park
Picnicking is a very popular activity at the park and there are hundreds of tables dotted around it, which you can enjoy a meal at.
You’ll find a large picnic area at Sand Spring Lake, where there is also the swimming beach, as well as a disc golf and orienteering course.
Near to each of them are grills, drinking water, restrooms and trash containers. There is also a playground for kids to enjoy, as well as a food concession stand that opens in the summer.
A picnic pavilion is also available for larger groups, which can be reserved for a fee, up to 11 months in advance.
Winter Sports at Hickory Run State Park
During the winter, the park is often engulfed in snow. This makes it an ideal spot to engage in recreational activities like cross country skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing.
Overall there are 13 miles of ungroomed trails in the park for skiing and snowshoeing, which are signified by the blue blazes that mark them.
Ice skating takes place at Sand Spring Lake. Before you head on to the ice you will need to make sure it is about 6 inches deep, and take the necessary precautions.
Pets at Hickory Run State Park
Dogs are allowed in the park although they must be kept on a leash at all times and cleaned up afterwards.
Other restrictions may apply, so if you would like to find out what they are please contact the park’s main office.
Camping at Hickory Run State Park
Boasting some 381 sites, the Hickory Run State Park Campground is one of the largest campgrounds in the Pennsylvania State Park system.
Overall they offer 15 full hookup sites that come with electricity, water and sewer, as well as 115 electric sites.
All of the sites in the campground are back-in only. While some of them can accommodate RVs that exceed 40 feet in length, most are better suited to smaller RVs.
This main campground is open from mid-April to mid-December. Whilst you are there you will be able to use a range of amenities including flush toilets, a hot shower and a dump station.
In the main campground all of the sites are suitable for tent camping. In addition you also have the option of staying in a furnished cabin.
Should you be visiting the park as part of a large party, you can also choose to stay in group cabins or group camping too.
You can reserve your spot online at the link below, up to 11 months ahead of time.
Hickory Run State Park
White Haven, PA 18661
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Hickory Run State Park: