Bordering both the shimmering Raystown Lake and stunning Rothrock State Forest, Trough Creek State Park is the perfect place to head to for an escape into nature.
Located within easy driving distance of Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Baltimore, all of which are between 2 and 3.5 hours away, the park is renowned for its incredible natural beauty.
A gorgeous gorge park that spans 554 rugged acres, it features a stunning landscape of cliffs, rock ledges and jagged bluffs.
Best explored through its various hiking trails, this PA state park is also popular with those who love fishing, biking and hunting.
While its modern campground is relatively small, it does offers convenient accommodation for RV and tent campers, who want to spend a few days immersing themselves in the tranquility of the surroundings.
Visitors to the park are able to enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational activities during their time there.
Below is just a tiny selection of some of the many activities you can partake in.
Fishing at Trough Creek State Park
The park offers excellent opportunities for lake and stream fishing, which attracts anglers from all over Pennsylvania.
Depending on where you cast a line you can expect to catch rock bass, trout, panfish and smallmouth bass.
Should you have a valid Pennsylvania fishing licence, you will be able to fish all year round.
Hiking at Trough Creek State Park
With more than 12 miles of trails snaking through it, Trough Creek State Park is renowned for being a great spot for hiking.
As they lead you along steep, twisty ridges and rocky ravines that undulate dramatically, some of these trails can be a bit of a challenge to navigate. But the dramatic views you will see on rugged rock ledges along the way are nothing short of spectacular.
Hikers should exercise extreme caution and wear proper hiking boots, with strong ankle support, whilst tackling any of the trails in the park.
Biking at Trough Creek State Park
As well as hiking, you might want to bring your bike to the park as there is a terrific 3.5 mile scenic trail to explore.
Leading from the Old Forge Road, it will take you past the creek and onto the edge of Raystown Lake.
Along the way, you will get to see some of the park’s magnificent landscape from a different perspective. However, be sure to stay exclusively on the trail as cycling is not permitted on either the hiking trails, or the rocks, due to the danger of slipping.
Picnicking at Trough Creek State Park
Whilst at the park many couples and families make use of the picnic facilities that are located throughout it.
Overall there are five picnic areas available which all showcase different scenic sites.
Located close to all of them, you will find restrooms and drinking water, whilst some also have activity areas too.
For those who are attending in bigger groups, one very large picnic pavilion and two smaller ones can be reserved up to 11 months ahead of time.
Birding at Trough Creek State Park
If you are into birding, the park is home to a diverse range of birdlife. So you might want to make a point of bringing your binoculars with you.
Over at Trough Creek Drive in particular, several species of woodland birds can be spotted.
This includes the likes of veery, scarlet tanager, vireo, chickadee, nuthatch, pileated woodpecker and waterthrush.
Nature & Wildlife
As well as the extensive birdlife, visitors to the park may also encounter a range of wildlife.
This includes the likes of black bear, white-tailed deer and turkey.
While hiking and generally in the park, watch out for copperhead and timber rattlesnakes, as well as five-lined skink, which can often be seen sunning themselves on rocky outcrops.
Hunting at Trough Creek State Park
During the hunting season, more than 100 acres of the park are specifically designated for hunting, trapping and the training of dogs.
Some of the common game species you can catch include turkey, deer, squirrel and grouse.
Please be aware, as with most state parks in Pennsylvania, the hunting of groundhogs is strictly prohibited.
Pets at Trough Creek State Park
Pets are welcome at the park, although some restrictions do apply.
If you would like to bring your dog with you, it is worthwhile contacting the park’s main office to clarify what they are.
Camping at Trough Creek State Park
For those who want to spend a few days at the park the Trough Creek State Park Campground is open from mid-April to mid-December.
Featuring 29 sites which can accommodate rigs of up to 40 feet long, all these sites come with electric hookups and are situated near water.
Although a few of these sites are pull-through, the large majority of them are back-ins. Each of them features a fire ring and picnic table.
As well as these RV sites, there are also five walk-in-only sites available for tents, as well as three pavilions and a cabin. Both of which have basic furnishings.
You will also find primitive restrooms close by, as well as a dump station. However, there are no shower facilities.
For those who after a more luxurious, larger group experience, the Trough Creek Laurel Lodge is a fabulous five bedroom, log cabin style house, that can accommodate up to 20 people.
Situated not far from Raystown Lake and Trough Creek, it features a modern kitchen and central heating.
If you want to stay in it, reservations are definitely required.
Trough Creek State Park
16362 Little Valley Rd
James Creek, PA 16657
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Trough Creek State Park:
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