State Parks and Forests Overcrowding Alert
A number of state parks and forest recreation areas have seen extreme crowding during the weekends and when the weather is warm.
The extraordinary number of people is causing these places to turn away visitors. Overflow parking also may be closed.
Visitors planning to go to these areas are encouraged to find other less crowded locations for recreation.
To avoid overcrowding, visitors should look for alternative parks and consider different times and different days to visit.
Typically, park closures can and will occur Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 9:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.
call the park office or check the park’s web page before heading out between these hours.
Carry Out Trash
Visitors are also asked to not litter in state parks and forests; and to limit the amount of disposable materials brought into these places. Some areas may not have trash receptacles.
Please be prepared to take all trash you have with you home.
State Parks Experiencing Overcrowding
State parks that are reaching capacity, and experiencing extreme overcrowding and/or turning away visitors include:
- French Creek
- Hickory Run
- Kinzua Bridge
- Marsh Creek
- Presque Isle
- Ricketts Glen
- Washington Crossing
State Forest Areas Experiencing Overcrowding
State forests areas that are reaching capacity and turning away visitors include:
- Seven Tubs Recreation Area in Pinchot State Forest -- most overcrowding
- Rock Run in Loyalsock State Forest
Alternate Places to Go
Visitors to the state parks and forest areas experiencing overcrowding should consider:
Frances Slocum State Park -- Frances Slocum State Park consists of 1,035 acres in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County. The 165-acre lake is popular for boating and fishing; and numerous hiking and mountain biking trails and the large day use area attract visitors to picnic and explore the forests.
Gouldsboro State Park -- Gouldsboro State Park is located in Monroe and Wayne counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. The park includes the 250-acre Gouldsboro Lake which is popular for swimming, boating, and fishing.
Lackawanna State Park -- The centerpiece of the park, the 198-acre Lackawanna Lake, is surrounded by picnic areas and multi-use trails winding through forest. Boating, camping, fishing, mountain biking, and swimming at the park pool are popular recreation activities.
Lehigh Gorge State Park -- Lehigh Gorge State Park follows the Lehigh River from Francis E. Walter Dam in the north to Jim Thorpe in the south. The Lehigh Gorge Trail follows over 20 miles of abandoned railroad grade along the river, providing opportunities for hiking, bicycling, sightseeing, and photography.
Nescopeck State Park -- Nescopeck State Park encompasses wetlands, rich forests, and many diverse habitats. Nescopeck Creek, a favorite of anglers, meanders through the park. Hiking trails follow the creek, pass through quiet forests, and skirt wetlands.
Promised Land State Park -- About 3,000 acres in size, Promised Land State is surrounded by Delaware State Forest. Visitors can enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, camping, and hiking.
Tobyhanna State Park -- Tobyhanna State Park is in scenic Monroe and Wayne counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. The park includes the 170-acre Tobyhanna Lake also popular for swimming, boating, and fishing.
Tuscarora State Park -- When viewed from the lake or the day-use area, Locust Mountain seems to drop right into the southern side of Tuscarora Lake. The scenic picnic area plays host to many day trips and family reunions and the lake is a popular fishing spot.
State Forest Areas
In Pinchot State Forest:
Black Diamond Trail -- This long-distance rail trail can be accessed on PA437 and provides an opportunity for a leisurely walk or scenic bike ride. Visitors will pass several wetlands and scrub oak habitats.
Crystal Lake Tract (PDF) -- The Crystal Lake Tract covers a remote area around Crystal Lake northwest to Interstate 81 and east of the town of Mountain Top. Please note that the lake itself is not open to public recreation, nor are any lands within 500 feet of the reservoir. The Black Diamond Trailhead is also located in this tract and provides ample parking and access to the Black Diamond and D&L Trails. This relatively flat trail is ideal for a leisurely walk or bike ride.
Moon Lake Recreation Area (PDF) --The Moon Lake Recreation Area provides a peaceful and tranquil setting for recreational activities including, mountain biking, camping, fishing, picnicking, and bird watching.
Pinchot Trail -- Pine Hill Vista (PDF) -- From the primary Pinchot Trailhead along Bear Lake Road, a 4-mile loop or 1-mile out-out-and-back hike can be made to the Pine Hill Observation Deck overlooking the Pocono Plateau.
Watres Loop Trail (PDF) -- The nearly 6-mile Watres Loop Trail is found south of Scranton, Pa. in the Thornhurst Tract. This remote, wild corridor winds its way along Painter and Panther creeks and can only be accessed by the Pinchot Trail. Parking can be found along Pittston and Sassafras Hill roads.
In Loyalsock State Forest:
Cherry Ridge Trail -- Located a few miles from the Rock Run Valley, this 5.7 blue-blazed trail provides an easy walk over rolling terrain. Visitors will see typical northern hardwood forests and cross several small streams. This trail can also connect to the Old Loggers Path and other unmarked trails for the adventurous hiker to explore. The trailhead is located at the intersection of Krimm Road and Ellenton Ridge Road.
Hawkeye Ski Trail -- This 7.2 mile shared-use trail covers a variety of terrain and even brings forest visitors into the headwaters of the beloved Rock Run. A short jaunt from the intersection with Sharp Shinned Trail will allow hikers an opportunity to wade in its ever-cool waters. The trailhead is along the paved Ellenton Mountain Road near the “Devil’s Elbow.”
Old Loggers Path (PDF) -- A multitude of short hikes and loops can be made throughout the 27-mile Old Loggers Path circuit. A small parking area along Yellow Dog Road provides access to a quick out-and-back hike to a vista overlooking the Rock Run Valley. A longer loop can be made using the historic Ellenton Grade.
Find Alternate Outdoor Recreation Opportunities