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Things to Do , Local, State & National Parks , Sports & Outdoors

Things to See & Do at Gouldsboro State Park

Discover a Unique, Biodiverse Habitat in the Pocono Mountains

Experience one of the most unique parks in NEPA on a trip to Gouldsboro State Park. Located between Stroudsburg and Scranton, this stunning 2,880-acre park boasts a diverse landscape you won’t find nearby.

The rugged highland at the park, which is located in the Pocono Plateau, is attributed to a one-mile-thick glacier that covered the area 20,000 years ago. The abundance of bogs, varied landscape, and diverse species of plants and animals make the park a tranquil and peaceful place to relax and enjoy nature at its most pristine.

The park stretches across Monroe and Wayne Counties and features the 250-acre Gouldsboro Lake. It is a popular spot for hiking, kayaking, boating or spending an afternoon fishing.

Whatever you decide, grab a park map and escape into nature. We’ve highlighted some of the many things to see and do on your visit to Gouldsboro State Park.


Gouldsboro Lake


Photo courtesy of PA Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources

Anglers come from far and wide for the chance to cast a line in the 250-acre man-made lake. The warm-water fishery is a hotspot when you’re looking to reel in a big one. Bass, pickerel, yellow perch, catfish and sunfish are just a few of the species stocked in the lake.

For boaters, there’s no better way to spend a day than trolling the waters for the biggest catch. Bring your electric powered boat and launch from the ramp. There are also 50 overnight mooring spaces for use when you need a break. There is one ADA accessible fishing pier next to parking lot 4 as well as tons of fishing holes off of the grassy shoreline for casting a line. Or you can rent one of the park’s kayaks, paddle boats or electric boats on your visit.

The lake provides ample open space along with secluded, wooded areas just waiting to be explored. And in the wintertime, Gouldsboro Lake is a popular ice fishing destination.

During the summer, the lake makes for a refreshing retreat from the heat. Enjoy a swim along its sandy beach shore from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. There is no lifeguard on duty, so swim at your own risk.


Hiking and Biking


In order to fully appreciate the terrain and unique features of the park, hike or bike one of the parks 7.25 miles of trails. There are four trails to tackle, which vary in length and difficulty. There are easy options for those looking for a relaxed walk. Or more difficult trails thanks to the areas rugged terrain. All trails are blazed while double blazes indicate a change of direction or a junction of two trails.

Prospect Rock Trail is a 5.9-mile loop that begins in the day use area. Hiking is difficult with some very rocky sections.

Old Route 611 trail, which runs along the western side of the park, is the easiest and most popular trail at 1.25 miles. The terrain is wide and flat, making for a nice, leisurely stroll for enjoying nature. The trailhead begins at what used to be Route 611 and continues down Old Interstate 507. This trail is great for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing.

Experienced hikers can try the 3.2-mile Frank Gantz Trail, which connects Tobyhanna and Gouldsboro State Parks. This is a challenging one. So wear your hiking boots and be prepared to rock hop while you venture between the lakes and travel through the Black Bear and Bender Swamp wetlands.


Flora and Fauna


Photo courtesy of PA Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources

Gouldsboro State Park is home to a great deal of biodiversity. Because of its position in the Pocono Plateau, it features rocky soil, nutrient-poor bogs, dark evergreen forests and a diversity of animals and plants, including carnivorous varieties.

Common to this habitat are birds like the blackburnian warbler, red-breasted nuthatch and northern waterthrush. During the spring, spotted and jefferson salamanders as well as wood frogs flock to the bog to breed. The carnivorous pitcher plant and yellow bladderwort, as well as cotton grass and many sedges, also inhabit the bogs.

In May, serviceberry trees flower. Starting around mid-June, the mountain laurel blooms. This is followed by rhododendrons from late-June to early-July. During mid-July, highbush blueberries bear fruit, attracting birds and bear which are common in the park, as are white-tailed deer and foxes.


Visit By Train

The name Gouldsboro comes from the village located a half-mile south of the park. It was named for Jay Gould, a robber baron and railroad titan during the Industrial Revolution. One of the railways he owned was the Erie-Lackawanna. Today, that rail line forms the dividing line between Gouldsboro and Tobyhanna State Parks and is owned by the Lackawanna County Railroad Authority. Tourist excursions are operated seasonally by Steamtown National Historic Site and run from Steamtown’s yard in Scranton to Gouldsboro and Tobyhanna.


Plan A Visit


Pack a lunch and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the lake and lush forests. The park provides five wooded picnic areas with nearly 300 picnic tables. Charcoal grills are also available for guests to utilize. An ADA accessible picnic pavilion, with electricity, is located near parking lot 3 and can be reserved up to 11 months in advance. All other picnic pavilions are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

While there are no overnight camping accommodation within the park, there are a number of other state parks in which you can stay all within 30 miles. They include Big Pocono State Park in Monroe County, Hickory Run State Park in Carbon County and Promised Land State Park in Pike County.

Gouldsboro State Park is located near Clarks Summit, East Stroudsburg and Hawley. The park entrance is one-half mile south of Gouldsboro on PA 507. PA 507 intersects with I-380 two miles south of the park entrance. And with I-84 13 miles north of the entrance, East Stroudsburg, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre are all within a 45-minute ride, making it a convenient outing from anywhere in NEPA.

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