Wildlife Watching at Worlds End State Park
The extensive forest cover, hemlock valleys, and mountainous terrain provide ideal habitat for “big woods” wildlife. White-tailed deer, black bear, and wild turkey are regularly sighted.
The patient observer may find bobcat, coyote, and river otter. More than 200 species of birds have been recorded. Many breeding species that one could expect to find further north are present, including:
Wildlife is best viewed by walking any of the hiking trails or slowly driving the extensive Loyalsock State Forest roads in and around the park.
Do not feed wildlife. Keep food locked inside cabins or vehicles.
Worlds End State Park is in a picturesque corner of the Allegheny High Plateau known as the Sullivan Highlands, which is part of the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. Millions of years of erosion by Loyalsock Creek created the stunning scenery and gorge.
About 350 million years ago, this part of Pennsylvania was on the coastline of a shallow sea that covered most of the interior of North America. High mountains to the east eroded, dumping vast amounts of clays, sands, and gravels on the coast, building up the sediment for about 100 million years. The great pressure of the sediments squeezed the sands, clays, and gravels into the shale, sandstone, and conglomerate rocks found in the park today.
Collisions with Europe and Africa folded and raised the rock of the park into a large, flat highland, which probably stood far higher than it does today. Millions of years of erosion have carved the highland into the ridges and valleys of today. Where you see a ridge, you will find hard rock. The valleys once held softer rock. Loyalsock Creek has flowed through the area for an unknown length of time, creating the rugged, serpentine valley of Worlds End State Park.
A fossil is any evidence of previous life. Dinosaur bones are a well-known example of a fossil. At Worlds End State Park, there are unique fossils from before the time of dinosaurs! About 350 million years ago, this area was a series of river deltas on the coast of a warm, shallow sea. Ancestors of the modern-day lungfish inhabited the rivers.
During dry periods, the lungfish burrowed tail first into the mud and hibernated until the water returned. Sometimes these burrows were filled with different sediment than the mud in which the fish burrowed, creating a rod shaped fossil composed of rock different from the surrounding rock. Nearly five inches in diameter and several feet long, the lungfish burrow fossils have been found in the red siltstones.
Just upslope from Loyalsock Canyon Vista is a blocky maze of lichen-encrusted boulders that have fascinated visitors for decades. Called the Rock Garden, the erosion resistant boulders are composed of coarse-grained conglomerate and sandstone rock. Some boulders have crossbedding, which is layers of sediment that lie at an angle to the rest of the sediments.