We are already entering the second week in October. Park programming is winding down but the State Parks are still open. And so are most of their campgrounds. Festivals are going on from the Halloween Spooktacular at Pymatuning State Park to Big Pocono State Park’s Fall Foliage Festival. There are some programs at these parks during the weekends, but some parks have shut down their weekend programming for the year. To find out about programs going on at the park, check out the State Parks Calendar of Events. And don’t forget to enjoy the wonderful fall foliage with a hike, bike, or paddle. And the best way of all to enjoy the fall foliage in our state parks is with some fall camping.
So here is a little help in planning your fall camping trip in the eastern regions of Pennsylvania. This area includes the Northeastern Pennsylvania Mountains and the Philadelphia regions. This region covers the following counties: Berks, Bradford, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Columbia, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming. The closest park in this region is Nolde Forest State Park and Environmental Education Center near Reading about three and a half hours from Johnstown. While the farthest park is Salt Springs State Park near the New York border in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania which is about five hours away.
There are ten state parks with fall camping in this region. Most of these campgrounds have a wide variety of camping options and are open through the third Sunday in October. There are eight in the Northeast Mountains region and two in the Philadelphia region. Many of these parks have cabins or cottages available also.
World’s End State Park is located about three and a half hours from Johnstown in the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania. World’s End State Park is considered one of the most beautiful state parks in Pennsylvania. During the heavy rains and flooding in September, the park was hit hard and some portions of the park are still inaccessible. The park has a modern campground with 70 sites, half of which have electrical hook-ups. The campground also has shower houses and sites approved for pets. The campground is closed in the winter, but another option exists. The park also has 19 rustic cabins that are available for year round rentals. The cabins are equipped with a range, refrigerator, and a fireplace insert. The renters are responsible for their own cooking utensils, linens and firewood. Currently the park is not offering any fall programming.
Ricketts Glenn State Park is located about three and a half hours from Johnstown in Luzerne County. Like World’s End State Park, Ricketts Glenn is known for its beauty. This park was also hit hard by the flooding in September but most places are accessible. One bridge used for access to the park is still closed so you will have to follow a detour. The park has a 120 site modern campground most with electric hook-ups. The campground also has a bathhouse with hot showers and flush toilets. The campsite has sites for campers with pets and six ADA accessible campsites. The campground is open year round, but not all campsites are available in the winter. The park also has 10 modern cabins for rent year round. The cabins have bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and electric heat. Renters must provide their own linens and cooking utensils. There are picnic tables and fire rings for each cabin. The park does have any fall programming which includes An Autumn Adventure Hike, Looking Through the Leaves, and The Ghost Town Scavenger Hunt.
French Creek State Park is located about three and a half hours from Johnstown just west of Pottstown. The park has a year round campground with 200 sites. The campground has 60 sites with electrical hook-ups and shower houses with hot showers and flush toilets. Some campsites have been designated for camping with pets. There are three camping cottages with electric lights and heat, fire rings, picnic tables, and porches. There are also two Mongolian style yurts which have cooking stoves, refrigerators, electric heat, fire rings and picnic tables. There are also ten modern cabins throughout the park that sleep six. These cabins have electric heat, modern kitchens, private baths and a fire ring and picnic table. Renters must bring their own linens and cooking utensils.
Hickory Run State Park sits in the western foothills of the Pocono Mountains about three hours and forty-five minutes from Johnstown. The park has a 381 site modern campground. The campground has flush toilets, hot showers and electrical hook-ups available. The campground also has a limited number of pet campsites. There is also a camp store that has common camping supplies that is open weekends April through October. The campground remains open through mid-December, but after the third Sunday in October the modern bath houses are closed for the season. The park does have a special rule about food and aromatic items because of bear issues in the park. These items must be kept in the car when you are away from the campsite. One of the big features at the park is the boulder field.
Tobyhanna State Park is located about three hours and forty-five minutes from Johnstown on the Pocono Plateau. The park has a modern campsite with 140 sites some designated as pet sites. There are no electrical hook-ups, but the campground does have flush toilets and hot showers. As with any place in Pennsylvania in the fall, you should be prepared for colder nights. The campground is open until through the third weekend in October. The trails at the park can be challenging, but the fall foliage is great.
About four hours from Johnstown in near Wyoming, PA is Frances Slocum State Park. The park has a 100 site campground that is open through the third Sunday in October. There are 15 walk-in tent sites and 85 tent and trailer sites. Some of the sites have electrical hook-ups. The campground has flush toilets and warm showers and has some sites designated as pet sites. This Sunday, October 9, 2011 is Heritage Day. During the family friendly afternoon there will be demonstrations of old time skills along with other activities.
Lackawanna State Park is about four hours and fifteen minutes from Johnstown just north of Scranton. The park has a modern campground with 96 sites. 61 sites have electric hook-ups. The campground also has flush toilets and hot showers. There are two loops in the campground designated as pet camping areas. The campground also has three camping cottages each with a porch, electricity, fire ring and picnic table. There are also two yurts with cooking stoves, refrigerators, and electric heat. The campground is open through the third Sunday in October.
About four and a half hours from Johnstown is Promised Land State Park. The park is located on the eastern side of the Pocono Plateau and is surrounded by the Pennsylvania’s Delaware State Forest. The park has four campgrounds but only the Lower Lake Campground is opened after Labor Day. The 90+ site campground has flush toilets, hot showers, and electric hook-ups. However, the modern shower houses are closed after Columbus Day. There are some sites designated as pet sites. The campground closes about mid-December. The park also has the Bear Wallow Cabin Colony with 12 rustic cabins. Each cabin has a fire place, fire ring and electricity. A 200 site campground many with electrical hook-ups and some that are designated as pet sites. Thirty-seven of these sites are walk-in sites. The campground also has modern bathhouses with flush toilets and hot showers. The campground also has three rustic camping cottages with electric heat, lights and outlets as well as four yurts. The campground is open through mid-December. With 70 miles of hiking trails, there are many opportunities for enjoying the fall foliage.
Nockamixon State Park is about four and a half hours from Johnstown in Bucks County. The park does not have a traditional campground, but does have 10 modern cabins. The cabins have two or three bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, and electric heat. Outside each cabin is a fire ring, grill, and picnic table. These cabins are available for rentals year round. There are plenty of hiking and biking opportunities at the park and if you are looking for a base to visit the sights in Philadelphia, the park is close enough to allow that. The park also has a full schedule of fall programming at the park. This includes everything from live animal shows to hiking, geocaching and kayaking.
Salt Springs State Park is located about five hours from Johnstown near the New York border in northeastern Pennsylvania. The park has eight tent camping sites along Silver Creek. These are rustic tent only sites with pit toilets. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. There are also three rustic camping cottages. These cottages have electric lights, a front porch, beds, a fire ring, and picnic table. They are not heated. These facilities are on property owned by the Friends of Salt Springs State Park. Because of this, reservations are handled a little differently. You can make reservations by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling the park office at (570) 967-7275. You should also review the camping information on the friends’ group website. The campground is opened year round, but the access road is not plowed so you may have to walk into your site or cabin from the parking area.
So come out and camp this fall. Enjoy our award winning state parks and experience the beautiful fall foliage of Penn’s Woods. Remember to come prepared for cooler weather and try some new tastes over the campfire.
Pennsylvania State Parks price guide link
Do you enjoy the article? Are you interested in receiving updates when new Johnstown Outdoor Recreation articles are posted? Subscribeto my page to receive updates. Please feel free to e-mail me with comments, story ideas, or upcoming outdoor recreation events at [email protected]