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

Things to See & Do at Hickory Run State Park

Experience for Yourself One of PA’s 25 Must-See State Parks

Hickory Run State Park is one of the best spots for sightseeing in the Poconos. Located in Carbon County and covering nearly 16,000 acres, the park is nestled in the western foothills of the Pocono Mountains region. From forested hiking trails to miles of trout streams and a National Natural Landmark, this park filled with unspoiled beauty is a must-see for every nature lover.

Situated between Lake Harmony and Jim Thorpe in White Haven, Hickory Run State Park is renowned for its gorgeous scenery, the stunning geologic wonder, Boulder Field, and diverse wildlife.

It was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and its Bureau of Parks as one of the 25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks. Picturesque waterfalls and scenic overlooks are just some of the many reasons this park is an outdoor oasis. Grab a map and see for yourself. We’ve highlighted some of the many things to see and do on your visit to Hickory Run State Park.


Boulder Field


While there are many reasons to visit Hickory Run State Park, one of the main draws is undoubtedly the rare geological attraction, Boulder Field. Designated as a National Natural Landmark, and one of only 27 in Pennsylvania, the striking boulder-strewn area covers the ground almost as far as the eye can see. The red sandstone and quartz conglomerate boulders extend over 16 acres. The field is 400-feet wide, 1,800-feet long and 10 to 12-feet deep with boulders as large as 26 feet long.

Touted as the best example of a boulder landscape in the eastern United States, it is the largest of its kind in the Appalachian region. It was formed roughly 20,000 years ago as Pennsylvania’s last Ice Age glacier began to melt. Walk across the boulders and experience up close for yourself this truly incredible natural landmark. But come prepared, wear proper footwear and take your time, as some rocks do wobble.

Hickory Run’s Boulder Field is accessible by hiking the 3.5-mile-long Boulder Field Trail or by car. Follow the 5-mile one way dirt road loop off of Sand Spring Road to reach the parking lot. Due to ice and snow,  the road may be closed during winter.


Waterfalls & Hiking


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Don’t leave home without your best hiking boots. Be prepared to trek through forests of hemlock, hickory and spruce studded with mountain laurel and rhododendron, bubbling streams, cascading waterfalls and plenty of wildlife. The park contains 44 miles of trails that offer a variety of hiking experiences, from family-friendly treks to more advanced routes.

There are 25 trails in all, so there’s plenty of options. A great hike for the whole family is The Shades of Death Trail. But don’t let the ominous name fool you. European colonists named it for its dark forests, numerous swamps, and rocky, un-farmable soil. Today, those features make for a stunning journey. The two mile out-and-back trail follows the course of the Sand Spring Run and showcases small natural cascades and larger waterfalls created by man-made dams. It meanders through rhododendron thickets and unique rock formations plus three dams that are prime trout fishing spots.

Hawk Falls is a short 0.6 mile walk on the east side of the park. The loop trail leads through a tunnel of rhododendron, winds down the hill, crosses the creek and circles back to Hawk Falls, a natural 25-foot waterfall.  This is an incredibly scenic spot to visit in the park. You can also access Mud Run, a great fishing spot, from this trail. The entrance is directly across the street from the trail to Boulder Field.

Located in the northwestern corner of the park, Fireline Trail is one of the prettiest scenic overlooks and makes for a beautiful sunset hike. The 2.4 miles out-and-back-trail is difficult, but the view from the vista is worth it. You’ll have a commanding view of the Lehigh River, remnants of an old railroad bridge, and Lehigh Gorge State Park on the opposite side of the river.


Hickory Run Fishing & Swimming


The “run” or stream that gave the park its name is one of several prime fishing locations for anglers to visit. From Hickory Run to Hawk Run to Mud Run, your choice of stocked waters and wild trout streams are a fisherman’s paradise. The small Hickory Run Lake is along the road to Boulder field and there’s the larger Sand Spring Lake. Visit the CCC Pond near the campground to access a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier.

The Lehigh River winds along Hickory Run State Park’s western border and is open year-round for fishing from Francis E. Walter Dam to Sandy Run. Cast your line for trout, warm water game fish and pan fish.

If you’re visiting during the summer months, splash in the water and enjoy the sunshine at Sand Spring Lake. It features a sandy beach and a swimming area along the northern edge of the lake. It is open late May through mid-September. While there, stop by the snack stand for ice cream, snacks, food and drinks.

The Sand Spring Day Use Area also features picnic tables, a picnic pavilion, grills, restrooms, playground equipment, orienteering and geocaching, and a 19-hole disc golf course nearby. The half-mile Beach Trail provides easy access between the campground and the lake.


Plan A Visit


Hickory Run State Park - Local, State & National Parks - DiscoverNEPA

Book a campsite or cottage to really immerse yourself in the beauty of Hickory Run State Park. There are tent sites, pet-friendly sites, full hookups for RVs, plus deluxe camping cottages. The campground is open mid-April through the third Sunday in October.

Hickory Run State Park is easily accessible from I-476 and I-80. It is a quick 40-minute drive from Wilkes-Barre and 45 minutes from Scranton. Take the Hickory Run State Park exit off I-80 and you’ll arrive at the park in just six miles. The route off the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike is just as quick and convenient.

Within 30 miles of Hickory Run State Park, you can visit more than 10 other Pennsylvania State Parks. Explore the natural beauty that makes this state and the Pocono Mountains such a beautiful place to live.

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