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Alerts

CONSTRUCTION AND TRAFFIC CONGESTION: The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is replacing the 476 Turnpike bridge that passes over PA Route 534, adjacent to Hawk Falls, within Hickory Run State Park. Park visitors can expect delays and traffic congestion Monday through Friday. Please use caution while in that area and anticipate delays in your travel time on PA Route 534 through Hickory Run State Park.

Warning: The spotted lanternfly has invaded our area. This invasive insect could cause serious harm to Pennsylvania’s resources, businesses, and economy. LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAVE! Help us stop the spread of these unwelcome hitchhikers. Inspect your vehicle, camper, tent, gear, etc. before you leave the park and destroy any lanternflies you find. For more information, visit the Penn State Extension’s Spotted Lanternfly website.

Hickory Run State Park

The 15,990-acre Hickory Run State Park, Carbon County, lies in the western foothills of the Pocono Mountains. This large park has:

  • More than 40 miles of hiking trails
  • Three state park natural areas
  • Miles of trout streams

Boulder Field, a striking boulder-strewn area, is a National Natural Landmark.

Seasons and Hours

The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk.

The visitor center is open specific hours. The beach, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the visitor center for facility seasons and hours.

The park experiences high visitation from the spring through the fall. Parking areas at trailheads may reach capacity early in the day, even during the week. Please arrive early and have a back-up plan if parking lots are full.

Reservations

Make online reservations or call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757), from 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday to Saturday.

 

Directions

The park is within a two- or three-hour drive from Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and New York City; and one hour from Allentown, Scranton, and Wilkes-Barre.

From I-80, take Exit 274 at the Hickory Run State Park Exit, and drive east on PA 534 for approximately 6 miles.

The park may be reached by either Exit 95 or Exit 87 (EZ pass only) on the Northeast Turnpike. From Exit 95, drive west on PA 940 for 2.5 miles, turn east on PA-534 for approximately 7 miles. From Exit 87 (EZ pass only), drive north on PA-903 to PA-534 West. Turn left to follow PA-534 into the park.

GPS DD: ​Lat. 41.024698  Long. - 75.687251

 

Top 10 Activities at Hickory Run

  1. Walk across Boulder Field.
  2. Witness and photograph the beautiful Hawk Falls.
  3. Experience the solitude of Stametz Dam along Shades of Death Trail.
  4. Throw a picnic! Play 18 holes of disc golf followed by a picnic in Sand Spring Day Use Area.
  5. View the Lehigh Gorge along Fireline Trail.
  6. Pull a wild brook trout from Hickory Run or Mud Run.
  7. Enjoy an ice cream after swimming in Sand Spring Lake.
  8. Interact with the exhibits at the visitor center and attend an education program. 
  9. Spend a weekend with the family in a rustic camping cottage.
  10. Visit a neighbor -- Lehigh Gorge State Park!

Visitor Center and Office

The Hickory Run State Park Visitor Center and Office serves as the main point of contact for anyone exploring Hickory Run and Lehigh Gorge State Parks.

Visitors can interact with park staff, check in to the Hickory Run State Park campground, and attend educational programs.

The building, which opened in 2020, complements the park character by reflecting the park’s rustic, CCC-era origins.

The 2,400-square-foot, self-guided exhibit space featuring the parks’ natural and cultural histories is a must see.

The building is Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified and is DCNR’s 17th LEED building with many sustainable strategies and techniques that focus on energy efficiency, resource conservation, and indoor environmental quality. Some of these features include:

  • Lobby timber trusses and wood paneling made from reclaimed timber and siding from an old park carpenters shed.
  • High-performance geothermal heating and cooling.
  • Natural daylighting and controls for automated user-demand lighting. 
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures with automated plumbing controls.
  • A water bottle filling station
  • Low- and no-VOC materials with high recycled content and regionally sourced materials, and low polluting interior products and construction processes.
  • Building materials using natural (or natural-like) materials, such as wood (fiber-cement) and stone.
  • Rain gardens for onsite stormwater collection and infiltration.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Outdoor shielded light fixtures to promote darks skies.

Natural Areas

Hickory Run has three state park natural areas, one of which is also a National Natural Landmark. A state park natural area is an area within a state park of unique scenic, geologic or ecological value that will be maintained in a natural condition by allowing physical and biological processes to operate, usually without direct human intervention.

These areas are set aside to provide locations for scientific observation of natural systems, to protect examples of typical and unique plant and animal communities, and to protect outstanding examples of natural interest and beauty.

Boulder Field

This rocky landscape is a National Natural Landmark and state park natural area. Boulder Field appears striking because of its flatness and the absence of vegetation over the large area of 400 feet by 1,800 feet. Some of the boulders are 26 feet long.

The area may be accessed by vehicle via a 5-mile one way dirt loop, or by hiking. During the winter, the dirt road is not maintained and is often closed until spring due to lingering ice and snow.

Explore Boulder Field safely and respectfully:

  • Boulder Field has been here, mostly unchanged, for over 20,000 years. Enjoy it as you find it.
  • Moving or stacking rocks is prohibited. Rock towers are unstable and create hazards for passing
    visitors and the staff who must dismantle them.
  • Be prepared and wear proper footwear. Take your time; some rocks wobble.
  • Obey all posted rules and regulations; respect the resources of the park.

The Boulder Field Brochure (PDF) has more information about the area.

The Trail of Geology Park Guide -- Hickory Run State Park Boulder Field (PDF) explains the geologic processes that formed the field and surrounding landscape.

Mud Swamp

This remote, emergent wetland is dominated by spruce trees and is a good example of a habitat more common in boreal areas.

Mud Run

This remote, nearly pristine mountain stream is lined with rhododendron and eastern hemlock. The stream has a viable native brook trout population.

Water Features

The park has two lakes. The small Hickory Run Lake is along the road to Boulder field, and the larger Sand Spring Lake which allows swimming is within the Sand Spring Day Use Area.

Natural and man-made waterfalls are found through the park:

  • Saylorsville Falls is near the entrance of Camp Shehaqua at Saylorsville Dam. Downstream from the dam is a fordway through Hickory Run Creek which may be gated during times of high water.
  • Hawk Falls Trail features a 25-foot natural waterfall on the east end of the park. The trail is often icy in winter.
  • Shades of Death Trail offers views of Sand Spring Run with its small natural cascades and larger waterfalls at man-made dams. The trail is often icy in winter.

Learn, Experience, Connect

Diverse habitats and forest types, extensive wild areas, and unique geological formations make Hickory Run an excellent outdoor classroom.

Year-round, an environmental education specialist conducts hands-on activities, guided walks, and presentations on the natural and historical resources for school groups, scouts, civic organizations, and the general public.

Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Group programs must be arranged in advance by calling the visitor center. Teacher workshops are available.

Visit in Winter

Winter is a wonderful time to visit the park for hiking, sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and snowmobiling.

The scenery can be breathtaking, the crowds are often much smaller than in the summer season, and the snow/ice provide more recreation opportunities. However, there are fewer amenities available, and it is necessary to plan ahead.

Be Prepared -- Check the park’s winter report prior to your visit. Pack accordingly. Dress in layers and wear waterproof footwear with good tread. Bring all needed recreation equipment with you -- no equipment rentals or loans are available.

Be Careful -- Snow and ice conditions are not monitored and vary across the park. Frequently traveled and shaded areas may become icy.

Steep trail sections and unplowed roads may be impassable and unsafe.

Depending on snow and ice conditions, the road to Boulder Field may be closed to vehicles.

Limited Amenities -- Some restroom facilities are closed in the winter. Use the open bathrooms at the park office and Shades of Death Trailhead or the family restroom on the hill above the lake.

Leave No Trace -- Plan to take your trash home with you. Some trash cans are removed in the winter season.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

A two-plug, electric vehicle charging station and an additional one-plug charging station is available for public use in the parking area near the visitor center.

Please move to another parking space once your vehicle has been charged.

Access for People with Disabilities

This activity or structure is ADA accessible. If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.

In an Emergency

Call 911 and contact a park employee.

Directions to the nearest hospital are posted on bulletin boards and at the visitor center.

Nearest Hospital

Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton
700 East Broad Street
Hazleton, PA 18201
570-501-4000

​Explore Hickory Run State Park

Hickory Run State Park