PA parks in the PA Wilds that exist for nature lovers
Pennsylvania is a nature lover’s delight, hosting some of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the country. And PA takes good care of its precious state park resources, providing scenic roads and views not often seen in these 50 states.
My husband and I are avid fly fishermen (and women), and we’re lucky to live in Central PA where travel to any part of the state is easy and accessible. PA is home to some of the best trout streams in the country.
A few of our favorite haunts are Kettle Creek and the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning where we spend hours casting and hooking a variety of trout in stunning mountain settings. Many streams in or near these great parks attract a wide variety of visitors searching for outdoor recreation.
One of our favorite parks, the Sinnemahoning State Park, is situated between Cameron and Potter counties, home to a beautiful new visitors’ center built in 2011. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the natural habitat area and get acclimated to the rich variety of outdoor recreation available.
Easy hiking and biking paths can be found near the center, along with more challenging paths for those of you looking to break a sweat. One of the easier hiking routes offers a gazebo overlooking an open field. In the morning, you might see elk grazing nearby.
Up the road sits a lake, created by the George B. Stevenson dam, showcasing the wide-open vista of the surrounding mountains and forests, where it’s not unusual to view an eagle swooping down toward the open water.
Another fine park in the general area is the Cherry Springs State Park in Potter County. Sitting on top of a 2300-foot mountain in the Allegheny Plateau, it’s the only area on the eastern seaboard dark enough for excellent stargazing, attracting astronomers, campers and curiosity- seekers alike.
Photos by Rose Lattanze
For a park sitting in the middle of nowhere, it’s active. The field is curiously dotted with a few large, round mini-observatories. You can register (onsite only) to use one of the observatories, or you can register (onsite only) to sit out in the field to enjoy the celestial fireworks. Bring your own telescope. For those who like to camp, there are only 30 sites available, so register early. A small fee is collected at that time of registration.
Cherry Springs State Park, PA Wilds photography (by Photographer Curt Weinhold)
It’s interesting to note that only red light can be used in the field, so as not to disturb the view. The area even hosts an amphitheater where park educators or guest speakers present their public stargazing programs. If you’re looking for something different and magical to do, this is the place to visit.
For overnight stays, we recommend the Millstream Inn in Coudersport. It’s a comfy, hometown hotel offering a very nice complimentary hot breakfast as well as homemade cookies and a popcorn machine for afternoon nibbles. Millstream Inn, 918 E 2nd St, Coudersport, PA. Phone: 814-274-9900. www.millstreaminn.com. The Inn is 40 miles from Sinnemahoning State Park and 12 miles from Cherry Springs State Park.
Have at it! The Pennsylvania Wilds are calling you.
About the Author
Rose Lattanze and her husband, Andy, avid anglers from the Harrisburg area, often travel to the PA Wilds to fish and enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife. Andy, fishing PA streams since the 1970s, enticed Rose to join him 10 years ago, and together they adventure throughout the state wetting a line and enjoying retirement. In her spare time, she writes for EdTech companies and occasionally writes just for fun. They’re both members of CVTU (Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited).
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