Susquehanna County Park Features Old-Growth Forests, Waterfalls and a Bubbling Salt Spring
Take a journey to the mountains and see for yourself why Salt Springs State Park in Montrose is such a remarkable hidden gem. Nestled amongst the seemingly never-ending rolling Endless Mountains and located seven miles north of Montrose in Susquehanna County, it’s no wonder it’s one of NEPA’s best-kept secrets.
The park offers distinguishing features that set it apart as a truly exceptional recreational spot. Spanning 405-acres, it is home to a rocky gorge with three rushing waterfalls and forests of towering old-growth hemlock trees, many estimated to be more than 300 years old. As its name implies, there’s also a bubbling salt spring you can see up close for yourself.
There are an additional 437 acres of adjoining property owned by the Friends of Salt Springs Park, bringing the total amount of protected land to 842 acres. A network of trails connects both properties. The nonprofit Friends’ group manages and operates the park through a cooperative agreement with the DCNR’s Bureau of State Parks.
Salt Springs State Park is open all year from sunrise to sunset. Grab a park map and check out these highlights.
Fall Brook Natural Area and Trail
The stunning natural beauty and well-planned network of hiking trails makes Salt Springs a beloved respite for nature enthusiasts. And an absolute main highlight of the park is the rocky Fall Brook Gorge and the three gushing waterfalls found along the Fall Brook Trail.
The waterfalls are contained within the 34-acre Fall Brook Natural Area, which is a protected space thanks to the gorge that was created by glaciers 18,000 years ago. The area is also recognized as a part of the Old-Growth Forest Network, a nonprofit whose mission is to protect old-growth forests from logging.
While the Fall Brook Trail route to see the falls is less than one mile, it is a mainly trail-less route, so navigating it can be slightly tricky in spots. All three waterfalls are located within a quarter mile of the parking area. The Fall Brook Trail starts at Wheaton House, the park’s offices. From there, the trail crosses a short bridge over Fall Brook before turning upstream to follow the creek. In some spots you may need to climb rocks along the falls to continue. After the third waterfall, you’ll pick up the boardwalk along the Hemlock Trail.
To view the parks namesake salt spring, you’ll find it on the south side of Fall Brook.
Hiking Trails Through the Hemlock Forest
Fifteen miles of trails, ranging from easy to challenging, pass through forests and alongside streams, overlook the gorge, and wind their way through fields and woods.
For a truly Instagram-worthy hike, check out the Hemlock Trail. You’ll access it at the northeast end of the picnic area, past the salt spring. Follow right and climb a steep hill into the old-growth hemlock forest. It’s a slightly difficult accent, but the picture-perfect trail makes the climb worth it. A highlight along the the trail is penny rock. Legend says long ago people hammered copper pennies into the folds of the large rock for good luck. From there, the raised boardwalk trail leads to an observation platform overlooking the falls.
In the winter season, the trails and park are open for sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowy hikes.
Hunting and Fishing
Anglers enjoy trout fishing in the clear waters of Fall Brook and Silver Creek, which are stocked each spring by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
The park and adjoining Friends of Salt Springs Park lands are also open to hunters, except for the 34-acre nature preserve in the Fall Brook Gorge area. Common game species are ruffed grouse, squirrels, turkey, and white-tailed deer. Hunters are expected to follow the rules and regulations of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Picnic & Stay Overnight
After a day of exploration, relax and enjoy lunch at one of the park’s picnic spots. There is a small picnic grove with tables and grills in between Fall Brook and Silver Creek. A restroom is located near the parking area between the two streams.
At the entrance to the campground, next to Silver Creek, is a large timber frame pavilion with electricity. A second pavilion is located just west of the back parking lot. Both pavilions can be reserved in advance for a fee from the Friends of Salt Springs Park. Otherwise, they are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For a nature-filled getaway, you can stay overnight at one of Salt Springs’ campsites. The primitive camping area, situated in a wooded area along Silver Creek, makes for a peaceful and serene setting. There are eight rustic tent sites (meaning no hookups) and three charming cottages with electricity.
All sites include a fire ring and picnic table. The campground has a restroom with composting toilets. Water is available from an outdoor faucet at the Wheaton House and in front of the restrooms in the parking lot. Pets are permitted in the campground.
Group camping is available in a large mowed field adjacent to the main campground. The maximum camping stay is 14 consecutive days.
Plan a Trip
Salt Springs State Park is easily reached within 20 minutes from Montrose. Follow PA 29 north for seven miles to the town of Franklin Forks. Turn left onto Silver Creek Road and follow for one mile to the park entrance. Nearby, you’ll find the quaint towns of New Milford and Hallstead. For more Endless Mountain adventures, Tunkhannock is located just 45 minutes south. Inns, restaurants, ice cream, shops and other fun amenities can all be found in the area.
Things To Do Near Salt Springs State Park
Luna Wine & Table
Rosemont Inn Bed & Breakfast
Lydia's Bake Shop
My Cuppa Coffee
Two Blondes Bistro
Fieldstone Farm Bed & Breakfast
Historic Montrose Theater
Hometown Finds and Friends
The Candle Barn & Primitive Shoppe
Alpacas of Sunshine Farm
New Milford, PA
Armetta's Pizzeria & Pub
New Milford, PA
Bad Dog BBQ
New Milford, PA