Surrounded by some of the most stunning forest land in the whole of Pennsylvania, Locust Lake State Park is a fantastic place to escape to nature.
Situated on the side of Locust Mountain, this 1,089 acre park is a renowned spot for hiking, birding and hunting.
It is also a popular spot for boating, swimming, fishing – and in the winter – ice skating, on its beautiful 52-acre Locust Lake.
Boasting one of the best RV camping facilities in Pennsylvania’s state park system, it is a popular weekend getaway and summer vacation destination for residents of Philadelphia and New York. Both of which are within easy driving distance of it.
If you are looking for a place to refresh and reinvigorate yourself in the great outdoors, this park in Barnesville, PA is an excellent destination in which to do so.
The park offers several different ways to enjoy its wonderful landscape. Here are just a handful of the things you can do once you get there.
Boating at Locust Lake State Park
Beautiful Locust Lake State Park is a terrific place to enjoy via a range of watercraft. This includes kayaking, rowboats, canoes, paddleboards and pedal boats. So be sure to bring them with you if you own one.
The lake also allows for motorboats, and you can rent one out, along with the aforementioned vessels whilst you are there.
To enjoy the lake in this way, you will need to have a valid state park permit.
Swimming at Locust Lake State Park
During the summer the park does get very hot, so a popular activity to do there is swim in the lake.
The designated swimming area is defined by buoys, though it is not lifeguarded. So you will be entering the water at your own risk.
When not in the water, you’ll find a sandy beach on its banks, which is a lovely spot to relax. Refreshments can also be bought from the camp store.
Fishing at Locust Lake State Park
Anglers from all over the state come to the park for the opportunity to fish year round at Locust Lake.
Whether it be from the ADA accessible fishing pier, on the banks of the lake, or in the middle of it via a watercraft, there are plenty of places you can cast a line.
You’ll need a valid Pennsylvania fishing licence to do so. However, should you have one, you will be able to catch brook and brown trout, panfish, largemouth bass and pickerel in abundance.
Hiking at Locust Lake State Park
For those who enjoy hiking the park is an excellent place to indulge your passion.
With more than six miles of trails at your disposal to explore, you will be able to spend your time taking in a stunning terrain of woodland and forest.
At four miles long, the Oak Loop Trail is the longest and the most difficult trail to hike. However, the views as it encircles a ridge of mature forest are quite wonderful.
For those who want an easier route, the quarter of a mile Ridge Trail will take you through picturesque woodland.
Birding at Locust Lake State Park
Those into birding will enjoy the opportunity to spot over 100 different species that often frequent the park.
This includes migratory birds like Merlin, osprey and red-shouldered hawk. As well as great-horned and screech owls, both of which live permanently in the park.
Nature & Wildlife
The park is renowned for its incredible nature and wildlife.
While the surrounding area of the park is barren – a consequence of decades of strip-mining for coal – once inside the park the landscape turns into a lush, green oasis of wetland habitats for all kinds of fauna.
This includes the likes of bear, turkey, deer, chipmunk and grouse.
Hunting at Locust Lake State Park
Throughout the established season, hunting is permitted in certain sections of the park.
All up there are about 1,700 acres for you to engage in hunting and trapping. You can also use this space to train your dogs as well.
Whilst there, common species to hunt are deer, pheasant, turkey, rabbit, grouse, squirrel and dove. The hunting of groundhogs is not permitted though.
Be mindful too, that some areas within this zone only allow for muzzleloaders or bow hunting.
Ice Skating at Locust Lake State Park
When winter comes the water at Locust Lake often freezes over, which in turn transforms it into a fabulous place to go skating. Some people even play hockey on it too.
If you intend to partake in either of these activities please note, the thickness levels are not officially monitored, so you will need to make your own judgement as to whether it is safe to take to the ice.
Be sure to bring your own skates as there are no rentals here.
Pets at Locust Lake State Park
Pets are permitted at some specific campsites, as well as other parts of the park.
For a firmer idea of where exactly you can bring your dog, it is worth contacting the park’s main office for clarification.
Camping at Locust Lake State Park
For those who want to stay at the park for a few days there are plenty of accommodation options available to you.
This includes some 277 campsites that are split into trailer or tent only sections, some of which showcase sensational views of the lake. (The trailer section is on the south side of the lake and the tent section is on its north side).
Overall there are 77 modern electric sites that come with 50-amp connections and water hookups. In addition, there are also 125 modern non-electric sites that have water connections, as well as 75 modern tent only sites.
All of these campsites are situated in a shaded, wooded area and come with a parking pad, fire ring and picnic table.
Amenities at this campground include restrooms that have flush toilets, as well as shower blocks. You’ll also find a sanitary dump station and trash and recycling areas at both camping areas.
For kids there are three play areas set in and around the campground, two of which are in the trailer loop and one in the tent camping area.
Locust Lake State Park
Locust Lake Rd
Barnesville, PA 18214
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Locust Lake State Park: