French Creek State Park
Once an industrial complex for the fledgling United States of America, today French Creek State Park is an oasis for people and wildlife. Straddling the Schuylkill Highlands, the 7,730-acre park is the largest block of contiguous forest between Washington D.C. and New York City. The forests, lakes, wetlands, and fields are a destination for the people of southeast Pennsylvania to hike, fish, camp, and bike.
Those same habitats are homes to many animals and plants that are rare in this corner of the commonwealth. French Creek State Park is an Important Bird Area and Important Mammal Area as designated by the National Audubon Society and also has Pine Swamp, a State Park Natural Area.
Trails - Mountain Biking - Horseback Riding - Picnicking - Swimming - Boating - Fishing - Hunting - Disc Golfing - Orienteering - Education - Cross-country Skiing - Sledding - Ice Skating - Ice Fishing - Organized Group Cabin Camps - Organized Group Tenting - Yurts - Cabins - Camping Cottages - Camping
Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. The pool, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.
Picnicking: Tables are located throughout the park with a picnic area by each lake. Picnicking near Hopewell Lake offers easy access to a peaceful place for a family picnic.
Swimming: Swimming is offered at the swimming pool by Hopewell Lake from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless otherwise posted. A fee is charged. The pool is near the shore of the lake and provides a beautiful setting for swimmers and sunbathers. Certified lifeguards are on duty when the pool is open. During the swimming season, a food concession is open at the pool complex. Firewood, charcoal, and other picnic supplies are also sold. A picnic pavilion inside the pool complex is available for rent. Reservations must be made at the pool entrance.
All children nine years of age or less must be accompanied and supervised by a responsible person. One such person shall supervise no more than five children. Swimming is prohibited in either lake.
GPS DD: Lat. 40.19881 Long. -75.78425
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Boating: electric motors permitted
Inflatable watercraft devices used on Pennsylvania State Park waters must meet the following requirements: the craft must be made of a tough material, have more than one buoyancy chamber, and be a minimum of seven feet long.
Air propeller driven boats, sea planes, air mattresses and surf boards are prohibited.
Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Boat Rentals: Boat rentals are available daily at the Hopewell Lake pool complex from Memorial Day to Labor Day and on weekends during May and September..
Hopewell Lake: 68 acres of prime water presents a challenge for anglers. A wide variety of Pennsylvania warm-water species are found at Hopewell Lake, including northern pike, chain pickerel, bass, walleye, muskellunge and many species of panfish. This lake is designated as a big bass lake and specific regulations apply. A fishing pier for people with disabilities is in the day use area.
Special Note: All Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission rules and regulations apply to all boating and fishing on state park waters. A fishing license is required for people age 16 and over.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: The combination of habitats at French Creek offers a variety of hunting opportunities. Over 6,000 acres of the park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, rabbit, pheasant and squirrel.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s vehicle or enclosed trailer. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Approximately three miles southeast of the park is State Game Land 43, administered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. These game lands consist of more than 1,800 acres of land and add considerably to the public land available to the hunters of the area. A public firing range is located at the end of Laurel Road. Hunting is prohibited in Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 35 miles of trails
Boone Trail: 6 miles - blue blazes - more difficult hiking
Buzzards Trail: 3 miles - yellow blazes with red stripe - more difficult hiking
Horse-shoe Trail: 8 miles - yellow blazes - more difficult hiking
Kalmia Trail: 1 mile - purple blazes - more difficult hiking
Lenape Trail: 5.5 miles - green blazes - more difficult hiking
Mill Creek Trail: 6 miles - white blazes with a red stripe - most difficult hiking
Raccoon Trail: 1.7 miles - red blazes - more difficult hiking
Six Penny Trail: 3 miles - orange blazes - more difficult hiking
Turtle Trail: 3.6 miles - white blazes - more difficult hiking
PLEASE STAY ON THE BLAZED TRAILS.
Mountain Biking: 20 miles of trails
Horseback Riding: Horse-shoe Trail winds through the park and into adjacent lands. Horses are not permitted on other park trails.
Disc Golfing: The course winds through the woods by Hopewell Lake. This activity attracts visitors of all ages, year-round. Sometimes referred to as Frisbee golf, disc golf is a favorite sport for individuals and families. The challenge of tossing a flying disc through the woods is unmatched by any other sport. Friendly, local enthusiasts are always willing to give advice to first-time golfers. Score cards and maps are available at the course.
Orienteering: The art of map and compass reading has made French Creek State Park a favorite stop for novices and experts. Considered by some as the “Orienteering Capital of North America,” French Creek has developed a permanent self-guiding course for use by visitors of all ages.
The objective is to locate markers in the park with the aid of a map, and if you like, a compass. Traveling in groups or alone, running or walking, orienteering is a healthy, fun way to exercise both mind and body. Maps are available at the park office.
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
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Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 2 host positions
Camping Cottages: Three cottages sleep five people in bunk beds, and have wooden floors, windows, electric heat, porch, picnic table, fire ring and electric lights and outlets.
Yurts: Two round, canvas and wood walled tents are on a wooden deck and sleep four people in two bunk beds. Yurts have a cooking stove, microwave oven, refrigerator, countertop, table, chairs, electric heat and outlets, fire ring and picnic table.
Modern Cabins: Ten furnished, modern cabins, nestled among the hardwoods, offer a pleasant alternative to state park camping. Each cabin features sleeping for six, electric heat, kitchen, private bath with shower, and wall-to-wall carpeting. Bring your own dishes, cookware and bedding. Cabins can be reserved year-round.
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Organized Group Tenting: Qualified organized groups can camp in the rustic group tenting area April 1 through October 31. One site holds 60 people and 16 other sites each hold 30 people. Reservations are required.
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Organized Group Cabin Camps: Group camps are open to organized youth and adult groups from mid-April to mid-October. These facilities include dining halls, central washhouses, camper cabins and staff quarters. Camp One holds 135 people. Camp Two holds 68 people. Applications are accepted after January and reservations awarded after March 1.
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Cross-country Skiing: All hiking trails and open areas of the park can be skied with proper snow cover.
Sledding: The backside of the dam at Scotts Run Lake is popular for sledding.
Ice Fishing: Both lakes can be ice-fished when the ice is at least four inches thick. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Ice Skating: The natural ice of the lakes can be skated when conditions permit. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
The park naturalist leads walks and hikes and gives evening talks and demonstrations, during the spring, summer and fall seasons. Check the park activity schedule, bulletin boards, or at the park office for program times and locations. Organized groups such as scouts and schools may schedule activities by calling the park office.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming events.
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Access for People with Disabilities
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.