French Creek State Park


Once an industrial complex for the fledgling United State of America, today French Creek State Park is an oasis for people and wildlife. Straddling the Schuylkill Highlands, the 7,730-acre park is the largest block of contiguous forest between Washington D.C. and New York City. The forests, lakes, wetlands and fields are a destination for the people of southeast Pennsylvania to hike, fish, camp and bike.

Those same habitats are homes to many animals and plants that are rare in this corner of the commonwealth. French Creek State Park is an Important Bird Area and Important Mammal Area as designated by the National Audubon Society and also has Pine Swamp, a State Park Natural Area.

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Trails   -  Mountain Biking   -  Horseback Riding   -  Picnicking   -  Swimming   -  Boating   -  Fishing   -  Hunting   -  Disc Golfing   -  Orienteering   -  Education   -  Cross-country Skiing   -  Sledding   -  Ice Skating   -  Ice Fishing   -  Organized Group Cabin Camps   -  Organized Group Tenting   -  Yurts   -  Cabins   -  Camping Cottages   -  Camping


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Picnic tables sit beneath trees at French Creek State Park, Pennsylvania.Picnicking: Tables are located throughout the park with a picnic area by each lake. Picnicking near Hopewell Lake offers easy access to a peaceful place for a family picnic.


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Swimming: Swimming is offered at the swimming pool by Hopewell Lake from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless otherwise posted. A fee is charged. The pool is near the shore of the lake and provides a beautiful setting for swimmers and sunbathers. Certified lifeguards are on duty when the pool is open. During the swimming season, a food concession is open at the pool complex. Firewood, charcoal, and other picnic supplies are also sold. A picnic pavilion inside the pool complex is available for rent. Reservations must be made at the pool entrance.

All children nine years of age or less must be accompanied and supervised by a responsible person. One such person shall supervise no more than five children. Swimming is prohibited in either lake.

GPS DD: Lat. 40.19881 Long. -75.78425


Boating: electric motors permitted
Boat launching is provided at the 68-acre Hopewell Lake and the 22-acre Scotts Run Lake. Seasonal boat mooring spaces are available from April 1 to November 1 at each lake. Contact the park office for mooring information.

Inflatable watercraft devices used on Pennsylvania State Park waters must meet the following requirements: the craft must be made of a tough material, have more than one buoyancy chamber, and be a minimum of seven feet long.

Air propeller driven boats, sea planes, air mattresses and surf boards are prohibited.

Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.


Boat Rentals: Boat rentals are available daily at the Hopewell Lake pool complex from Memorial Day to Labor Day and on weekends during May and September..


Fishing:
Anglers in a bass boat cruise Hopewell Lake by autumn foliage at French Creek State Park, Pennsylvania.Scotts Run Lake: This 22-acre cold-water lake offers excellent trout and other cold-water species fishing. Hatchery-raised trout are stocked pre-season, during the season and in the winter.

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Hopewell Lake: 68 acres of prime water presents a challenge for anglers. A wide variety of Pennsylvania warm-water species are found at Hopewell Lake, including northern pike, chain pickerel, bass, walleye, muskellunge and many species of panfish. This lake is designated as a big bass lake and specific regulations apply. A fishing pier for people with disabilities is in the day use area.

Special Note: All Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission rules and regulations apply to all boating and fishing on state park waters. A fishing license is required for people age 16 and over.

Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Hunting and Firearms: The combination of habitats at French Creek offers a variety of hunting opportunities. Over 6,000 acres of the park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, rabbit, pheasant and squirrel.

Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.

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 car, trailer or leased campsite. 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.

Approximately three miles southeast of the park is State Game Land 43, administered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. These game lands consist of more than 1,800 acres of land and add considerably to the public land available to the hunters of the area. A public firing range is located at the end of Laurel Road. Hunting is prohibited in Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site.

Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.


Hiking: 35 miles of trails
Trees arch over a leaf-lined trail at French Creek State Park, Pennsylvania.More than 35 miles of well-marked trails cover a large portion of the park’s 7,730 acres. Hikers at French Creek have a wide variety of opportunities for quiet reflection, nature study and physical challenge. Trailhead parking is located in many convenient areas.

Boone Trail: 6 miles - blue blazes - more difficult hiking
This loop trail connects all major attractions of French Creek, making it an excellent route to see the park. Start your trip at Hopewell Lake Boat Launch parking lot, Group Tenting Areas 13-18, campground contact station, or Hopewell Furnace Visitor Center (using connector trails). Several portions are steep and rocky, so wear sturdy shoes. It is closed to mountain bikes around Hopewell Lake.

Buzzards Trail: 3 miles - yellow blazes with red stripe - modre difficult hiking
Branching off of Raccoon and Mill Creek trails, this trail passes through the Baptism Creek drainage area in the eastern portion of the park.

Horse-shoe Trail: 8 miles - yellow blazes - more difficult hiking
For hikers and horseback riders, this trail touches highlights of the park including Hopewell Lake and Scotts Run Lake. Horseshoe Trail runs 130 miles from Valley Forge to the Appalachian Trail near Harrisburg. This is the only equestrian trail in the park.

Kalmia Trail: 1 mile - purple blazes - more difficult hiking
This mountainside trail provides a pleasant experience through mature forests with scattered mountain laurel. Kalmia is the Latin word for laurel. Mountain biking is prohibited.

Lenape Trail: 5.5 miles - green blazes - more difficult hiking
Begin this hike from the campground contact station, Scotts Run Lake, Hopewell Furnace Visitor Center, or PA 345/Shed Road. Follow the solid green blazes to stay on Lenape Trail or venture off onto one of the many blazed trails that intersect this enjoyable trail.

Mill Creek Trail: 6 miles - white blazes with a red stripe - most difficult hiking
Once leaving the trailhead at Shed Road and PA 345, you will not cross another road on this backcountry-type loop trail. Be sure to carry water and wear proper clothing and footwear. Consider using Raccoon and Lenape trails to add some variety for your return trip.

Raccoon Trail: 1.7 miles - red blazes - more difficult hiking
This trail serves as the most direct route into and out of the eastern portion of French Creek State Park. It starts 0.25 mile east of Hopewell Furnace’s main gate and ends at Mill Creek.

Six Penny Trail: 3 miles - orange blazes - more difficult hiking
Use the connector trail (orange blazes with a green stripe) from the campground contact station to get to this loop trail. Most of this trail is closed to mountain bikes.

Turtle Trail: 3.6 miles - white blazes - more difficult hiking
Circling through the western portion of French Creek, this trail offers a variety of easy hiking mixed with several challenging sections. Park in the lot along Firetower Road and follow the white blazes in either direction.

PLEASE STAY ON THE BLAZED TRAILS.

  • Double blazes indicate a change of direction in the trail.
  • Camping is only permitted at French Creek's established campgrounds.
  • Horses are permitted on the Horse-shoe Trail, and on the right berm of public roads (except in overnight areas).
  • Motorized vehicles are not permitted on any park trails.
  • Bikes are permitted on roads and approved trails only. All trails south of Park Road are closed to bikes.

Mountain Biking: 20 miles of trails
Mountain bike riders enjoy the over 20 miles of trails that climb hills, cross streams and pass through forests. The trails explore most parts of the park and are rated difficult riding. Mountain bikes are prohibited south of Park Road and in Hopewell Furnace NHS. Explore the park map the see on which mountain biking is permitted.


Horseback Riding: Horse-shoe Trail winds through the park and into adjacent lands. Horses are not permitted on other park trails.


Disc Golfing: The course winds through the woods by Hopewell Lake. This activity attracts visitors of all ages, year-round. Sometimes referred to as Frisbee golf, disc golf is a favorite sport for individuals and families. The challenge of tossing a flying disc through the woods is unmatched by any other sport. Friendly, local enthusiasts are always willing to give advice to first-time golfers. Score cards and maps are available at the course.


Orienteering: The art of map and compass reading has made French Creek State Park a favorite stop for novices and experts. Considered by some as the “Orienteering Capital of North America,” French Creek has developed a permanent self-guiding course for use by visitors of all ages.

The objective is to locate markers in the park with the aid of a map, and if you like, a compass. Traveling in groups or alone, running or walking, orienteering is a healthy, fun way to exercise both mind and body. Maps are available at the park office.


Stay the Night


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
GPS DD: Lat. 40.2128 Long. -75.78184
Camping is available year-round at 200 wooded, modern sites that are within easy access to shower and flush toilet facilities. Over 60 sites have electric hookups and more may be added in the future. Pets are permitted on designated campsites.

Explore the campground map.

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Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 2 host positions
The campground host site amenities include 50-amp electric service. Hosts are required to be available much of the time to the public. A long-term stay is preferred. Contact the park office for additional information and availability.


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Camping Cottages: Three cottages sleep five people in bunk beds, and have wooden floors, windows, electric heat, porch, picnic table, fire ring and electric lights and outlets.

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The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Yurts: Two round, canvas and wood walled tents are on a wooden deck and sleep four people in two bunk beds. Yurts have a cooking stove, microwave oven, refrigerator, countertop, table, chairs, electric heat and outlets, fire ring and picnic table.

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The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.A log cabin is near trees at French Creek State Park, Pennsylvania.Modern Cabins: Ten furnished, modern cabins, nestled among the hardwoods, offer a pleasant alternative to state park camping. Each cabin features sleeping for six, electric heat, kitchen, private bath with shower, and wall-to-wall carpeting. Bring your own dishes, cookware and bedding. Cabins can be reserved year-round.

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Organized Group Tenting: Qualified organized groups can camp in the rustic group tenting area April 1 through October 31. One site holds 60 people and 16 other sites each hold 30 people. Reservations are required.

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Organized Group Cabin Camps: Group camps are open to organized youth and adult groups from mid-April to mid-October. These facilities include dining halls, central washhouses, camper cabins and staff quarters. Camp One holds 135 people. Camp Two holds 68 people. Applications are accepted after January and reservations awarded after March 1.

Explore organized group cabin camps for more information.


Winter Activities


Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.


Cross-country Skiing: All hiking trails and open areas of the park can be skied with proper snow cover.


Sledding: The backside of the dam at Scotts Run Lake is popular for sledding.


Ice Fishing: Both lakes can be ice-fished when the ice is at least four inches thick.


Ice Skating: The natural ice of the lakes can be skated when conditions permit.


Environmental Education and Interpretation


The park naturalist leads walks and hikes and gives evening talks and demonstrations, during the spring, summer and fall seasons. Check the park activity schedule, bulletin boards, or at the park office for program times and locations. Organized groups such as scouts and schools may schedule activities by calling the park office.

Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of events from today forward.

Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.


Access for People with Disabilities


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.