Did you know that some of state parks in the Pennsylvania Wilds are within the Susquehanna Greenway, the area around the Susquehanna River? The PA Wilds section of the Susquehanna Green includes the West Branch Susquehanna River, which flows 228 miles total and is one of two principal branches of the mighty Susquehanna.
A paddler’s paradise, this scenic water trail flows through remote and mature hardwood forests, past historic river towns, and alongside rolling agricultural fields. The West Branch Susquehanna Greenway corridor is a must-experience journey in the PA Wilds and includes the river itself as well as the parks, trails, and communities that line the river’s banks.
These Pennsylvania State Parks are free to visit, and each offers a unique environment with a vast range of outdoor activities to explore. From hiking and biking, to padding, fishing, and camping, a wealth of outdoor adventures awaits you at each of these locations.
While this Greenway landscape is not a traditional state park, Bucktail State Park Natural Area offers around 75 miles of conserved lands from Emporium to the Susquehanna Greenway River Town of Lock Haven. The valley through which the natural area runs is known as the Bucktail Trail, which was named after the famous American Civil War regiment of Woodsmen. Here, you will have the pleasure of seeing forest lands, valleys, hills, and mountains—natural features that surround the Susquehanna River’s West Branch and Sinnemahoning Creek.
Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli
The Natural Area is best seen from the cockpit of a kayak along the West Branch or from the comfort of your car as you drive PA-120. While planning this trip, please keep in mind there are many sections within this state park that are privately owned, so care should be taken to contact the state park office if access is needed.
While this state park is on the smaller side compared to the others along the Susquehanna Greenway, Hyner View State Park holds its own and is one not to miss. One of the most iconic features of the park is the overlook, where you can get a stunning view of the Susquehanna River Water Trail – West Branch, as well as the tree-lined mountains that rise from the ridge-and-valley landscape.
Photo by Scott Hafer
While at Hyner View State Park, you may be lucky to see the popular hang gliders who also use the overlook to launch on their air-borne adventures. In addition to the overlook, there are various trail systems that connect the state park with the surrounding state forest lands.
When visiting Hyner View State Park, be sure to stop over at the nearby Hyner Run State Park, as well. Between the two locations, there are plenty of options for hiking and camping. This area is also surrounded by Sproul State Forest, which is Pennsylvania’s largest state forest. Both Hyner Run and Hyner View State Park are open 365 days a year, sunrise to sunset.
Photo by Lou Bernard
If you happen to find yourself in the Susquehanna Greenway River Town of Williamsport, do not miss out on Susquehanna State Park. This park offers 20-acres of riverside serenity, complete with a boat launch, picnic areas, and a landmark paddlewheel riverboat—The Hiawatha. The Susquehanna River’s West Branch, which runs right by the park, once supported a booming lumber industry during the 19th century.
Photo courtesy of Susquehanna Greenway Partnership
The land where the park now resides played a key role in that history as Williamsport and the surrounding lands were a hub for manufacturing this lumber. Today, you can learn more about this history by joining a cruise on The Hiawatha, watching their information video, and taking in the scenery first-hand. Susquehanna State Park is open 365 days a year, sunrise to sunset.
Natalie Miller is the Media & Communications Intern for the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership. A Marketing major at Bloomsburg University, her work with SGP is focused on promoting trails and communities within our vibrant and connected Susquehanna Greenway, so that the public can enjoy opportunities to engage with the outdoors. Natalie can be reached at nmiller@susquehannagreenway.
The Susquehanna Greenway is a corridor of connected trails, parks, river access points, and communities, linking people to the natural and cultural treasures of the Susquehanna River within Pennsylvania. The mission of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership is to continue to grow the Greenway by building connections along the Susquehanna River, inspiring people to engage with the outdoors, and transforming communities into places where people want to live, work, and explore. Visit susquehannagreenway.org to learn more.