The reason that makes Pennsylvania so unique is that it’s one of three exclusive regions worldwide with deciduous forests that come out in their dazzling palettes each fall season. Other forests around the world are either dominated by conifers or tropical vegetation.
Even better, Pennsylvania’s autumn leaf colors are more varied and last longer than those of other deciduous forests. The state’s distinctive location and altitude help it foster over 130 species of trees in addition to numerous vines and shrubs.
In 1995, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) was established. It currently preserves and maintains 20 state forests and 121 state parks.
Thankfully, it has facilitated access to the state’s natural resources by providing recreational facilities on the ground and documenting the best trails around the forests. Still, it pays off to plan ahead. Having an itinerary can save you miles of aimless walking or driving.
This article will highlight five state parks near the town of Bloomsburg, PA. We’ll look at what makes them unique and the recreational activities and amenities available at each one.
Map of State Parks Near Bloomsburg, PA
Here is a map of the state parks in Pennsylvania covered by this post:
List of State Parks Near Bloomsburg
Read on to start planning your next unforgettable visit to The Keystone State.
1. Milton State Park
Location: 205 PA-642, Milton, PA 17847
Milton state park doesn’t compromise any of its visitors’ preferences. If you’re seeking raw, untouched landscapes, the Southern zone has been left intact for adventurers. Perhaps, more importantly, this zone is a rich resource for research and educational purposes.
Luckily, you’ve got all year round for your expedition, as long as you come when the park opens its doors from sunrise to sunset. The most common trees on the trails are Sycamore, Silver Birch, and Silver Maple.
As for those of you who prefer to picnic in the area, Milton state park has made the southern region accessible for day-use activities. You’ll find campsites, restrooms, and several playgrounds. There’s also car parking and a garden pavilion.
The best thing about this state park is its close proximity to downtown Milton. Its scenes are also captivating since it’s surrounded by the waters of the Susquehanna River.
Yes, you guessed that right: this state park sits on an island! What could be better than that?
2. Shikellamy State Park
Location: Shikellamy State Park Rd, Selinsgrove, PA 17870
Not far from the spectacular waters of Milton state park, Shikellamy is situated at the meeting point of the Western and Northern branches of the Susquehanna River.
In this opportune place, decision-makers decided to build a marina that provides the public unlimited access to the breathtaking view. Add to that the dedicated observation area, Kury Point. This spot offers panoramic views of Lake Augusta and all its surroundings.
In addition, there are more views to enjoy from the 360-feet high cliff, which lies in the Southern section of the park. From there, you can also get a bird’s eye view of Sunbury, Northumberland, and Hummels Wharf.
This cliff is also an attraction point for wildlife lovers as a pair of endangered peregrine falcons have successfully nested below the overlook. You’ll also likely get the chance to observe more wildlife on the park’s hiking trail.
If you’re careful, you might spot various songbird species as well as the white-tail deer. Not to mention, the various species of wildflowers and trees are worth keeping an eye out for.
Location: 220 Locust Lake Rd, Barnesville, PA 18214
Locust State Park is popular for its sought-after camping area. In addition to the scenic views of the lake, the park is blessed with being surrounded by the majestic Locust Mountain as well as several forests.
If you’re looking for a place that smartly capitalizes on this environmental wealth, look no further. Along with Tuscarora state park, Locust Lake park offers various recreational and educational programs to help spread environmental awareness.
These programs involve guided walks, evening sessions, and hands-on activities, fostering stewardship of Pennsylvania’s natural heritage.
If you’re a teacher, you can collaborate with specialists assigned by the park to develop environmental education (EE) programs based on your curriculum. Other activities at the park include hiking, fishing, and swimming.
So far, we’ve talked about parks with lakes and rivers. However, if you’re bored of water that runs horizontally, then you should pay a visit to Ricketts Glen State Park. With over 20 named waterfalls, your ears will also get hooked by the melody of falling water.
The park’s highest waterfall series is the 94-foot-high Ganoga Falls. What adds to the beauty of the water is the aging timber from the old forests and various wildlife species.
On top of that, the wetlands and geological formations at this park make it worthy of outdoor learning activities. Just like Locust Lake State Park, Ricketts Glen State Park offers resources, guided tours, and presentations conducted by various environmental education specialists.
We recommend taking the Falls Trail System to enjoy a rich experience of the waterfalls and wildlife. Take care, though, as you’ll be advised to wear protective footwear.
5. Nescopeck State Park
Location: 1137 Honey Hole Rd, Drums, PA 18222
Another park with mountainous views, Nescopeck State Park, is surrounded by Nescopeck Mountain and Mount Yeager. In addition to its forests, the park has wetlands, diverse habitats, and a creek that attracts many anglers.
You can go hiking on trails around the creek, forests, and wetlands. The park also hosts the famed Raphael J. Musto Environmental Educational Center, which houses classrooms, restrooms, and some valuable natural history exhibits.
Interestingly, the building that houses this educational center has set an example for green architecture by implementing sustainable strategies. Most of the building’s construction materials are natural and biodegradable. It also uses a geothermal heating system for efficient energy use.
Thankfully, Nescopeck State Park didn’t miss the educational potential of its natural resources. The park offers teachers’ workshops and DCNR’s Watershed Education programs to local schools and other interested groups from the public.
Finally, don’t forget to visit the Nature Discovery Area near the butterfly garden. This unique facility encourages nature play that can help develop a sense of wonder in children and adults alike.
So, here’s what we learned about the five state parks near Bloomsburg, PA. This area is famous for its autumn foliage, so every state park will have something special for you to check out.
Yet, among the parks we reviewed, Ricketts Glen State Park stands out with its majestic waterfalls. Then, there’s Nescopeck State Park with its one-of-a-kind educational center.
Nevertheless, wherever you go, you’re sure to enjoy all the wonders this state has to offer.