Inspiring awe and delight, Dark Skies is home to the world’s second certified International Dark-Sky Park. Cherry Springs State Park is world-famous for being one the best places in the USA for stargazing and the study of astronomy. But these mesmerizing, star-filled skies are JUST the beginning.
Named The Most Beautiful Spot in Every U.S. State by MSN Travel in 2017: "Pennsylvania: Cherry Springs is possibly the best spot for stargazing in all of the U.S. On a given night, 10,000 stars are visible to the naked eye." See the stars like you've never seen them before, with an unforgettable visit to Cherry Springs State Park! Honored with the 2017 PA Wild's "Great Places Award," the park's incredible, awe-inspiring dark skies attract a high volume of astronomers and stargazers for views of the Milky Way, planets, and hard-to-see astronomical objects and phenomena.
Unplug from devices and reconnect with nature, at the state-of-the-art Park Office and Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park. This LEED-certified green building introduces visitors to the Pennsylvania Wilds through family friendly exhibits and interpretive displays. Peer into an eagle’s nest, crawl through a bear’s cave or simply sit and enjoy a book, the Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park has something for everyone.
The largest in the state forest system, Sproul covers 305,450 acres, or slightly more than 476 square miles.
Learn how Pennsylvania became a global leader in forest products, and how today’s sustainable forestry practices are helping to ensure we have healthy forests for both industry and recreation for generations to come.
Nestled in a valley in Austin, PA in the Dark Skies landscape, along the winding stream of Freeman Run, is the ruins of the Bayless Paper Mill - known today as the Austin Dam. In 1911, the dam broke and water flooded much of the town of Austin claiming over 78 lives. The Austin Dam Memorial park is a beautiful natural park that honors an important history. Photo by: Aerial Renegade / AlexanderRenn Photography
The Susquehannock State Forest derives its name from the Susquehannock Indian tribe, which at one time inhabited practically most of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The 265,000 acre state forest offers some of the best opportunities for both experienced and inexperienced hikers to enjoy Pennsylvania’s scenic woodlands. Hunting is probably the biggest recreational activity on the forest. Other than a few safety zones around buildings, hunting is permitted throughout the state forest.
Explore the outdoors and take in the views within the West Branch Susquehanna Greenway! Hyner Run carves a small valley from the surrounding steep mountains, creating a natural haven for outdoor adventures. The park is entirely surrounded by Pennsylvania’s largest state forest, Sproul State Forest. Nearby Hyner View State Park offers one of the most popular scenic vistas in the entire Pennsylvania Wilds, attracting many for the spectacular view alone.
Year Round Ideas
Music fans gather at the revered Austin Dam, where the remains of a giant dam that cracked in 1911 and flooded the town of Austin still stand. Called the “town too tough to die,” Austin annually hosts a classic rock concert and light show in late August to celebrate their small community and share a remarkable historic landmark.Learn more
Fall is big and beautiful all across the Dark Skies landscape, with brilliant reds, outrageous oranges and vibrant yellows. Celebrate Autumn in Renovo at the Flaming Foliage Leaf festival, held annually in October.Learn more
Model railroad club winter open house running through December and January, featuring family-friendly model train exhibits, including Thomas & Friends, and other railroad memorabilia and artifacts. Free admission!Learn more
This seemingly endless road-tripper’s paradise also includes the Bucktail Scenic Byway and Scenic Route 6, with winding and wooded roads that connect to dozens of detours worth pursuing like the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, where you can learn about the PA Wilds’ rich lumbering history and sustainable forestry practices of today.
During the day, take in the epic mountain view at Hyner View State Park. If you’re lucky and weather conditions are right, you might get to meet some hang gliders, and experience a close-up view of them taking flight, soaring through the air and landing at the base of the mountain.
Feeling fit and adventurous? Register early to run the always-sold-out mountain trail race the Hyner View Trail Challenge, the first run of the Pennsylvania Triple Crown of Mountain Running. Feeling fit, adventurous AND looking to test your limits? Only the bravest endure the Frozen Snot trail challenge further south in McElhattan, Clinton County. The name says it all – combine some of the toughest terrain in central Pennsylvania with the worst of winter weather, and you’ll quickly learn why many consider it among the most challenging trail races in the United States.
Want trails at a slower pace? Explore the 85 mile-loop of the Susquehannock Trail System, popular in all four seasons for cross-country skiing, backpacking, hiking and mountain biking. Looking for a different kind of wild? Disconnect from devices, and get up close and personal with Wilds wildlife at the state-of-the-art Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park.
Home to nine state parks and the sprawling Sproul and Susquehannock state forests, Dark Skies is an adventurous and enlightening experience all year, day, and night long.
Video produced by Visit Potter-Tioga and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Headquartered in Wellsboro, Visit Potter-Tioga provides traveler resources and itineraries for the Dark Skies Landscape. Stop by their location to purchase local products and pick up regional maps.
The Clinton County Visitors Bureau is the southern entry point to the Dark Skies Landscape, and provides visitors with itineraries and travel tips for Dark Skies adventures including Hyner View State Park.
The Pennsylvania Great Outdoors (PAGO) provides traveler resources and itineraries for a 3-county region that covers the south-western portion of the Dark Skies Landscape that includes Sinnemahoning State Park and Wildlife Center. PAGO also offers expert elk viewing tips, road trips, special events and more.
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