Hyner View State Park isn’t the highest point in Clinton County – it comes third. But when you’re up there, it feels like that. On a high peak in Chapman Township, you can see for miles up and down the Susquehanna River valley. At the top of the mountain, Hyner View State Park is 1,940 feet above sea level. It’s above Route 120, and if you want to see a lot of the Elk Country landscape all at once, this is the place to go.
You can thank the Great Depression for Hyner View State Park. During the Depression, President Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps, a sort of quasi-military organization of forest rangers that was founded in 1933. These guys signed up and went to work, making money for their families while they built roads and bridges, found lost hikers, fought forest fires… and made state parks.
The main point of the park is a solid stone wall where visitors can stand and look out at the view. This wall was built in the 1930s by the CCC, and it still stands.
Today, a monument to the CCC workers also stands at Hyner View, where it greets visitors to the wall and serves as a reminder of their lasting work.
In 1949, the road leading up to the park was completed. Before that, the park was a bit challenging to get to. Upon completion of the road, which leads from 120 to Route 44, the Flaming Foliage Festival was held at Hyner View. The festival rapidly outgrew the park, however, and is still held annually in downtown Renovo.
For camping and hiking, Hyner Run State Park is nearby, down below. Hyner View has the view and a picnic area, but it is mostly known for hang gliding.
On the mountain below the lookout point is a wooden platform. You could be forgiven for thinking that someone left an old pallet lying on the ground. But it’s a hang gliding launch, where visitors can send themselves into the air and fly high above the valley. I mean, personally I never would. But people do.
Visitors come from all over the state and beyond to hang glide. There are areas to land down below, and on some of the less dramatic flights, the gliders launch, drop 1,300 feet, and land in the closest grassy area. More often, however, the gliders rise to heights over nine thousand feet, and stay in the air for a while. Robert Beck, hang glider from Tamaqua, once stayed up for five hours.
The best conditions for hang gliding appear to be winds blowing up to ten miles per hour, from either the west or southwest, which is roughly the same direction you’re looking when you stand at the stone wall. I mean, I have no pressing need to know this as I won’t be jumping off the mountain and gliding anytime soon, but maybe this information is valuable to someone.
Hyner View is known as one of the few areas in the country where visitors can come and actually watch the hang gliders. On any given nice day when people arrive at the park, they stand a good chance of seeing one or more colorful gliders in flight up above.
To get to Hyner View, drive up 120 and turn right onto Hyner Run Road after crossing the bridge over the Susquehanna River. Take a right onto Hyner View Road and drive the zigzag path up the mountain until you reach the top. You’ll know when you’re up there.
The Bucktail Scenic Drive is along the way; you have to travel that road to reach Hyner View. And you’re also near the Piper Aviation Museum, Kettle Creek State Park, and the Millbrook Playhouse, all worthy places to stop in the PA Wilds. So as you’re exploring this part of the PA Wilds, make sure you make an extra stop… and see it from above.