Gouldsboro State Park
Gouldsboro State Park, in Monroe and Wayne counties in northeastern Pennsylvania, contains 2,800 acres of land, including the 250-acre Gouldsboro Lake. Tobyhanna State Park is nearby.
Picnicking: Gouldsboro State Park provides five wooded picnic areas with picnic tables and charcoal grills. There is an ADA accessible picnic pavilion with electricity. Picnic pavilions can be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. If unreserved the picnic pavilion is free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Make a reservation.
Swimming: The sand beach at Tobyhanna and Gouldsboro state parks are open from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please follow posted rules. The Tobyhanna bathhouse has flush toilets and changing areas. Showers are available for a fee. Gouldsboro has rustic restrooms.
Boating: electric motors only
A boat concession rents rowboats, canoes, paddleboats and motorboats.
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.
Fishing: The common fish in the 250-acre Gouldsboro Lake are bass, pickerel, yellow perch, catfish and sunfish. The lake also has muskellunge, walleye, crappie, sucker and fallfish. An ADA accessible fishing pier is near Parking Lot 4.
Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: Most of Gouldsboro State Park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are white-tailed deer, black bear, snowshoe hare, squirrel and turkey. Furbearers include beaver, muskrat, mink, fox, coyote and raccoon. Hunting is also permitted in nearby state game lands 127 and 312.
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. The only exception is that law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms may carry said firearm concealed on their person while they are within the park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 10 miles of trails
Follow these rules for a safe hike:
Prospect Rock Trail: 5.8 miles, blue blaze, difficult hiking
Old Route 611: 1.25 miles, blue blaze, easy hiking
Frank Gantz Trail: 3.2 miles, red blaze, difficult hiking
Mountain Biking: 8 miles of trails
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: Hiking trails can be cross-country skied with adequate snow. Old 611 Trail is recommended.
Ice Fishing: The 250-acre Gouldsboro Lake is popular for ice fishing. Ice thickness is not monitored. For your safety, be sure the ice is at least four inches thick and carry safety equipment.
Ice Skating: Ice skating is available as natural conditions permit. Gouldsboro State Park has a 1 acre area near Parking Lot 4. Ice thickness is not monitored. Be sure the ice is four inches thick and carry safety equipment.
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.
Gouldsboro State Park is in the Pocono Plateau, a rugged highland with rocky soil, nutrient-poor bogs, dark evergreen forests and a diversity of animals and plants.
About 20,000 years ago, a giant sheet of ice at least one mile thick covered the area. Evidence of the glacier is the very rocky soil that is called glacial till and the abundance of bogs.
Much of the park is characterized by sphagnum moss bogs, evergreen trees and thin, moist, rocky soil. Blackburnian warbler, red-breasted nuthatch and northern waterthrush are common to this habitat. In the spring, spotted and Jefferson salamanders and wood frogs flock to the bogs to breed. Interesting plants like the carnivorous pitcher plant, cotton grass and many sedges inhabit the bogs. The carnivorous plant yellow bladderwort lives in some of the bogs and in Tobyhanna Lake. In the underwater portion of the plant, small sacks trap tiny aquatic animals.
Due to the logging of the forests, large portions have regrown with a mix of deciduous trees like American beech, many species of oak and red maple trees. American redstart, red-eyed vireo and Louisiana waterthrush are common to these forests.
In early May, before any trees have leaves, serviceberry trees flower. In mid-June, the plentiful mountain laurel blooms, followed in late-June to early-July by rhododendron. In mid-July, highbush blueberries bear fruit, providing a feast for bears and birds.
The name Gouldsboro comes from the village north of the park that was named for Jay Gould (1836-1892). A native of New York, Gould acquired a very large fortune that by 1892 included ownership of ten percent of all railroad tracks in the country. One of the railroads he owned was the Erie-Lackawanna. This rail line parallels the eastern boundary of the park and is now a part of the Steamtown, USA railroad excursion route between Scranton and Pocono Summit.
Gould was a co-owner of a leather tannery at Thornhurst, a small village 9.5 miles west of Gouldsboro. Raw hides shipped from Australia and the western United States came to Gouldsboro by railroad and then were taken in two-ton loads by horse drawn wagons over a plank road to Thornhurst for tanning.
From about 1900 to 1936, Tobyhanna and Gouldsboro lakes were the site of active ice industries. The ice was cut from the lakes during the winter and stored in large barn-like structures. During the rest of the year, the ice was added to railroad boxcars hauling fresh produce and meats destined for East Coast cities. Boxcar loads of ice were also shipped to cities for use in family iceboxes (early refrigerators). During the summer when ice usage peaked, up to 150 boxcar loads per day shipped out of the Tobyhanna, Gouldsboro and Klondike (near Gouldsboro) plants. Some ice was even shipped to Florida for use in hospitals.
In 1912, the federal government acquired the land that became the Tobyhanna Military Reservation. In World War I, (1914-1918), the Army used the reservation as a tank and ambulance corps training center and the National Guard used it as an artillery-training center.
From 1918 to 1931, the reservation was used for artillery training.
In the early 1930s, the reservation housed Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees.
For more information on the CCC, visit the Civilian Conservation Corps Online Archive.
From 1937 to 1941, the reservation served as an artillery training center for West Point cadets. During World War II, the reservation housed German prisoners-of-war. From 1946 to 1948, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used the reservation. In 1948, the War Assets Administration took control of the property and in April of 1949, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania received title to most of the 26,000 acres, with the remaining area operated as the Tobyhanna Army Depot. Of the land acquired, about two-thirds of the area was made into Game Land 127, and the remaining one-third was used to create both Gouldsboro and Tobyhanna state parks.
Tobyhanna State Park opened to the public in 1949, complete with parking areas, swimming beach, boat rental and boat launching site, water supply and sanitary facilities. The camping area was added in 1959.
The former Department of Forests and Waters (DFW) subsequently acquired additional properties, and in 1956, the former Pennsylvania Fish Commission (PFC) purchased Gouldsboro Lake and land not included in the larger government tract.
In 1958, the DFW and the PFC agreed to combine the area owned by both agencies into a single recreational site. Gouldsboro State Park opened to the public in 1958.
In 2004, the lake and land owned by the PA Fish and Boat Commission was transferred to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
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Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
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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.
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Gouldsboro State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau. www.800poconos.com
Tobyhanna and Gouldsboro state parks are in the famous Pocono Mountain resort area. Nearby attractions include: Lake Wallenpaupack, one of the largest man-made lakes in Pennsylvania; state game lands 127 and 312; Big Pocono State Park at the top of Camelback Mountain, which features a view of three states; and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area www.nps.gov/dewa/index.htm.
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:
Interactive GIS Map
The interactive 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.
The park entrance is one-half mile south of the village of Gouldsboro on PA 507. PA 507 intersects with I-380 at Exit 13, two miles south of the park entrance, and with I-84, 13 miles north of the park entrance.
Driving Directions: The Interactive GIS Map has turn-by-turn driving directions to the park office from the Park information Window.
Gouldsboro State Park