Cherry Springs State Park
Cherry Springs State Park is nearly as remote and wild today as it was two centuries ago. Night sky enthusiasts flock to the park for its dark skies which are famous for great views of the Milky Way, planets, and hard-to-see astronomical objects and phenomena. Named for the large stands of black cherry trees originally found in the area, the 82-acre state park is surrounded by the 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest. The Susquehannock Trail passes nearby and offers 85 miles of backpacking and hiking.
Interested in observing the dark night skies? The following information will help you make the most of your first visit to Cherry Springs State Park.
Short Term Stargazing
If you would like to come out and enjoy the magnificent night sky at Cherry Springs and only wish to gaze for a few hours, you may do so at the Night Sky Viewing area located north of Rt. 44 (opposite the gated Astronomy Observation Field). Public parking lots are located here along with several information kiosks and waysides. You may follow the walkway out to the public program area where benches are located and you will be shielded from passing vehicle lights. There is also a backlit summer sky map wayside located on this pathway. Press the button at the lower side of the display to activate the red light.
Although white light is permitted, a red filter or cover for your flashlight is recommended to preserve your night vision. Please remember to always direct your light downward.
Cherry Springs State Park is located on top of a mountain and the weather generally tends to be on the cool side. It can also be damp. It is recommended that you wear proper clothing and foot gear. Feel free to bring out your own blankets, lawn chairs, binoculars and telescopes when you visit the park.
Explore the Calendar of Events for astronomy programs being presented at the park.
Pets are prohibited on the Astronomy Observation Field while astronomers are present.
Getting Started Stargazing
Whether you view the night sky with telescope, binoculars or the naked eye, here are a few tips to enhance your stargazing experience:
Astronomy Web sites also give up to date information on when the space station and other satellites pass overhead, the time and direction of iridium flares, solar flares, aurora bulletins, and the occurrence of comets and meteor showers.
Long Term and Overnight Stargazing
For information on stargazing overnight on the Astronomy Field, explore serious stargazing.
Picnicking: The picnic area is south of PA 44. A landmark in the area is the historic log pavilion built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1939. This unusual pavilion features two large, covered dining areas with fireplaces, surrounded by log and chink walls. The areas are connected together by a covered breezeway that also contains picnic tables. Surrounding the pavilion are huge white pine and Norway spruce trees and an old apple orchard where picnic tables and charcoal grills are available.
Hunting and Firearms: Cherry Springs provides access to hunting in Susquehannock State Forest.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s vehicle or enclosed trailer. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Camping: vault toilets
Explore camping for more information.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
Cherry Springs State Park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs year-round. Through guided walks, hands-on activities, and campfire programs, visitors gain appreciation and awareness toward the natural and historical resources.
Weather permitting, a park educator or guest speaker presents public stargazing programs on the airport side of the park. Some of the programs are a partnership with the National Public Observatory as part of the Stars-n-Parks program. These free programs are available throughout the summer. Program schedules are published in the local paper and on the Cherry Springs State Park Web site.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming events.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
In 1952, the first Woodsmen’s Show at Cherry Springs State Park attracted a crowd of 4,000 people. Today, the annual Woodsmen’s Show attracts thousands of spectators for the early August event. The show features lumberjack contests in tree-felling, log rolling, spring board chopping, standing block chop and chain-saw events. www.woodsmenshow.com
Access for People with Disabilities
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
In 1818, Jonathan Edgcomb made his second try at settling in the wilderness of Potter County. Along the Jersey Shore Pike, Edgcomb constructed a log house that became known as the Cherry Springs Hotel. The hotel was in an extremely remote spot and for years the only visitors, other than travelers on the pike, were wandering American Indians.
Over the years, the pine and hemlock in the Cherry Springs area was lumbered off and in their place grew hardwood trees like sugar maple and the park’s namesake, black cherry.
Civilian Conservation Corps Era
The Cherry Springs CCC Camp, S-136-PA (1936), was one of ten CCC camps constructed in the Susquehannock Forest District. A forester directed the work to be done at each camp, such as clearing underbrush, opening trails, and constructing buildings and roads.
Additionally, Camp Elliott (named for District Forester Harry Elliott) was set up at Cherry Springs. This camp was not connected with the CCC camps, but was under the supervision of the former Department of Forests and Waters. Unemployed college boys stayed at this camp, and one of their accomplishments was to construct the 40-acre airfield at Cherry Springs (under the former State Bureau of Aeronautics) during the summer of 1935.
For more information on the CCC explore the CCC Years.
Keep in Touch
Add yourself to the DCNR's online community to receive info on this park, or parks in general.
Like to spend time in the outdoors, meet friendly people and help make Pennsylvania State Parks great? Volunteering at a park might be for you.
Becoming a Conservation Volunteer is easy.
Scouts and organized groups can earn free camping by completing service projects.
Dark Sky Fund/Association
The Cherry Springs Dark Sky Fund/Association is a "Friends" group under the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation. Their mission is the protection of the dark night sky at Cherry Springs State Park and enhancing the astronomy experience through facility improvement and educational outreach programs.
Dark Sky Fund donations will be used to enhance the stargazing and astronomy experience at Cherry Springs State Park. Physical improvements to the park will help to eliminate any outside light pollution and remove overhead obstructions. Donations will also be used to educate local residents and visitors about the value of the night sky resource and why it needs to be preserved.
Fund donations have been used to plant light screening trees and shrubs, convert all park lighting to shielded, red-light fixtures, bury overhead electrical lines and install electrical pedestals on the Astronomy Field. The fund has also provided educational materials on astronomy and environmentally friendly lighting in the park and surrounding communities.
Decisions on how the fund monies are spent are a collaborative effort of the park management and the Dark Sky Fund Advisory Council. The council is made up of astronomers from all over the country who regularly observe at Cherry Springs.
Donation forms and envelopes for the Cherry Springs Dark Sky Fund are at the registration kiosk and donations may be put in the fee tube. Please do not combine park fees and donation fees. Use the separate forms and envelope. Thanks for your support!
The Dark Sky Fund is a partnership with the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF). Created in 1999, the foundation is an independent, tax exempt, 501c (3), nonprofit foundation with three missions:
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Believing that each generation is responsible for leaving behind a better legacy of good conservation, the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) was created in 1999 to give supporters and users of Pennsylvania's parks and forests a positive way to contribute to the conservation of our publicly-owned properties. The Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation welcomes the support of individuals and businesses who share a commitment to conserving, protecting, and enhancing the natural, scenic, and recreational areas of this commonwealth. www.paparksandforests.org
Make a Donation
To a park - find this park's address below
To a park's friends group - see above
To a park or the Bureau of State Parks - Pennsylvania Parks and Forestry Foundation www.paparksandforests.org
Through a purchase at a park gift shop
Thank you for your support!
We love when young people ask us how to get involved!
DiscoverE has programs for young people ages 4 to 17, provided by Pennsylvania State Park educators. By combining recreation and education, we hope to motivate children to learn more and return often, leading to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment and conservation leadership.
In Watershed Education, teachers and students assess water quality of a local stream on a quarterly basis and develop strategies to solve local water quality problems.
ECO Camp - Exploring Careers Outdoors - is a week-long residential camp for a cross-section of high school youth from across Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Participate in action-packed, hands on activities and recreational adventures in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests that expose youth to conservation, recreation and careers in natural resources. Learn how people make a living working in the outdoors.
Explore education for more information on these and other programs.
Explore the Calendar of Events to find a program near you.
Do you take conservation personally? iConservePA is a Web site managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whose vision is to inspire citizens to value their natural resources, engage in conservation practices and experience the outdoors. Take conservation personally.
Come Work with Us
Pennsylvania State Parks and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources offer a wide range of civil service and non-civil service jobs, from foresters, to rangers, to engineers, to educators, to botanists and so much more. Learn what is currently available.
Tell us What You Think
Contact this park with compliments, concerns and issues about the park.
Cherry Springs State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Potter County Visitors Association. www.visitpottercounty.com
Lyman Run State Park offers fishing, boating, camping facilities and ATV and hiking trailheads.
Susquehannock State Forest is a 262,000-acre state forest and offers hiking, snowmobile trails, and a wilderness experience.
Explore Pennsylvania Wilds
Pennsylvania Wilds is two million acres of public lands for hiking, biking, fishing, boating, hunting, and exploration in northcentral Pennsylvania.
Highlights of the area are elk watching at the Elk Country Visitor Center, scenic PA Route 6, Pine Creek Gorge (PA Grand Canyon), the darkest skies in the east at Cherry Springs State Park, and hundreds of miles of backpacking trails, bike paths, and trout fishing streams. www.pawilds.com
Maps and Downloadables
Below are many of the maps and publications for this park. You can read them or download them and might need special software (all free) to view the publications.
You must have the free Adobe Reader to view the maps and brochures that are in pdf format (.pdf).
Alternate versions of the text of the brochures are in rich text and text formats. Click on the files to view them. To download (.rtf) files:
Cherry Springs State Park Map (.pdf) (886 kb, 7/13)
Interactive GIS Map
The Interactive GIS Map uses Geographic Information Systems to create a map that does not need to be downloaded and features driving directions, searchable park amenities and customizable maps. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Astronomy Field Map
Astronomy Field Map (.pdf) (632 kb, 5/12)
Cherry Springs State Park is in on PA 44 in Potter County.
GPS DD: Lat. 41.66384 Long. -77.82321
Driving Directions: The Interactive GIS Map has turn-by-turn driving directions to the park office from the Park Information Window. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Cherry Springs State Park