Hills Creek State Park
Located in scenic Tioga County, the 407-acre Hills Creek State Park abounds in wildlife. Osprey, loon and waterfowl visit the lake that boasts a variety of warm-water fish species. Camping, cabins, swimming and picnicking make this an ideal spot for a family vacation.
Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. The beach, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.
Picnicking: There are two picnic areas and three reservable picnic pavilions. Picnic Area No. 1 is at the south end of the lake near the breast of the dam. Picnic Area No. 2 is just north of the swimming beach along a large cove of the lake.
The picnic areas have picnic tables, charcoal grills, picnic pavilion, centrally located drinking fountains and modern comfort stations. The picnic areas are open year-round, but all other day use facilities are closed seasonally. Picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Snack Bar: In the day use area, on a hill overlooking the lake and beach, the concession offers a wide variety of food like hamburgers, sandwiches, candy, ice cream, and drinks. It also has milk, camping supplies, firewood and fishing bait. The concession is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, weather permitting. For information concerning the concession operations, call 570-724-2992, or the park office at 570-724-4246.
Swimming: A sand beach is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. The sandy lake bottom and grass beach are quite popular. The modern bathhouse and snackbar is nearby and open seasonally.
Smoking is prohibited on the beach and in the swimming area. For visitors who smoke and still want to use the beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and other handheld, lighted smoking devices.
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Boating: electric motors only
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.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Fishing: The warm waters of the 137-acre Hills Creek Lake provide excellent fishing for warm-water species. Common fish are muskellunge, walleye, largemouth bass, carp, bullhead catfish, bluegill, crappie and yellow perch. The lake record for largemouth bass is just over eight pounds. A fishing pier for people with disabilities is at the Pines Boat Launch. A valid PA fishing license is required.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting: With the abundance of both large and small game in the area and the additional bonus of 13,000 acres of rugged State Game Land 37 within walking distance of the park, it is easy to understand why hunting and trapping are popular around the park. Hills Creek State Park is closed to hunting because of its small size, but there is an abundance of nearby public lands available for this popular sport.
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.
Hiking: 5.5 miles of trails
Lake Side Trail - 3 miles - Beginning at the entrance to the camping area this trail follows the lake shore in a westerly direction for about one mile, finally arriving at the Beaver Hut Boating Area. A beaver house plus many signs of beaver activity may be seen in this area. From the boating area the trail generally follows the lake shore in a southerly direction for about one mile, ending at the dam breast of Hills Creek Lake. This section of the trail offers an excellent variety of bird life attracted by seeds from white spruce, red-osier dogwood and viburnums that dominate this moist area. The trail then parallels the park road through Picnic Area No. 1 and passes the park office. It ends at a parking lot beyond the gate on the main entrance road, a distance of about 0.5-mile.
Tauschers Trail - 1.5-miles - This trail circles the northeast section of the park from the cabin area. It winds through pine plantations, dense stands of alder and fields containing numerous wildflowers. Wildlife abounds in this section of the park and it is not uncommon to startle deer or grouse along the trail.
Yellow Birch Trail - 1-mile - This trail starts at the entrance to the camping area but travels in an easterly direction for about one mile. Although short in length, this trail leads through a diversity of forest habitats from stands of hardwoods to hemlock swamps and marsh areas. The observant hiker may see a variety of wildlife and animal signs along with interesting tree development.
Northern Extension of the Mid State Trail - This long-distance backpacking trail passes through the park and connects to the main trail.
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
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Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 1 host position
Camping Cottages: Three cottages sleep five people in single bunks and double/single bunks, and have wooden floors, windows, electric heat, porch, picnic table, fire ring and electric lights and outlets.
Yurts: These Mongolian-style tents are round, on a wooden deck and sleep four people in two bunk beds. Yurts have a cooking stove, refrigerator, countertop, table, chairs, electric heat and outlets, fire ring, picnic table and are adjacent to a water pump.
Modern Cabins: Ten modern cabins can be rented year-round. Cabins are furnished and have a living area, kitchen/dining area, shower and two bedrooms. Cabin seven is ADA accessible. Cabin renters should bring their own linens and kitchen utensils. Weekly reservations are required during the summer. In 2014, up to two dogs will be permitted in cabins 1 and 2 for a fee.
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Organized Group Tenting: Qualified adult and youth groups may use this 40-person capacity area equipped with picnic tables, pavilion, fire rings, water and flush toilets. Campers may shower in the campground. This wooded peninsula is open from the second Friday in April to the third Sunday in October, weather permitting. Advance reservations are recommended. Some of the larger hemlock, beech, maple and ash trees in the park are found on this very picturesque peninsula.
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Cross-country Skiing: Skiing is permitted on trails and open areas of the park.
Sledding: A hill at the beach is good for sledding with adequate snow cover.
Ice Fishing: Ice fishing success in the 137-acre Hills Creek Lake is exceptional for yellow perch, bluegill and an occasional walleye. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Ice Skating: Ice skating is permitted at the beach on the natural ice of the lake. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
The park operates a seasonal visitor center in the camping area. A variety of interpretive programs are offered year-round.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming events.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
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.