Lackawanna State Park
The 1,445-acre Lackawanna State Park is in northeastern Pennsylvania, ten miles north of Scranton. The centerpiece of the park, the 198-acre Lackawanna Lake, is surrounded by picnic areas and multi-use trails winding through forest. Boating, camping, fishing, mountain biking and swimming are popular recreation activities.
Hiking - Mountain Biking - Horseback Riding - Picnicking - Swimming - Boating - Fishing - Hunting - Education - Cross-country Skiing - Sledding - Ice Fishing - Ice Skating - Organized Group Tenting - Camping Cottages - Yurts - Camping
Picnicking: Most of the main picnic area overlooks the lake. Grills and modern restrooms are throughout the area. Small picnic areas can be found at the Bullhead Bay Boat Launch to the north, and States Creek Mooring Area on the southern end of the lake.
Three picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. If not reserved, the pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Swimming: Construction continues on the new pool and the park is hopeful that the pool will reopen sometime in 2015. Check the Park Advisories tab for updates. The project will include new shower facilities, food concession, a spray ground/splash zone and zero-entry points for people with disabilities. Swimming is prohibited in the lake.
Explore swimming for more information.
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 198-acre Lackawanna Lake has cold-water and warm-water fish. Common fish are trout, muskellunge, walleye, channel catfish, bullhead, pickerel and largemouth bass. The 2.5-mile long lake has more than 7.5 miles of shoreline. The fishing pier by the main boat launch is ADA accessible. The 3-acre Trostle Pond, in the northern end of the park, is open to youth fishing only (ages 12 and under) and hosts a variety of warm-water species.
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 and Firearms: Over 900 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, rabbit, pheasant and grouse. Additional areas in and around the campground are open for specific hunting seasons only. Contact the park office for details.
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.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 18 miles of trails
Mountain Biking: 15 miles of trails
Horseback Riding: The multi-use trails can be used by horseback riders. Abington Trail is recommended. Trailer parking is available in the northeastern section of the park along Wallsville Road (PA 438).
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
The campground opens the second Friday in April and closes the third Sunday in October. The maximum camping period is 14 consecutive days in the summer season and 21 consecutive days in the off-season.
Explore camping for more information.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 2 host positions
Camping Cottages: Three camping cottages and two yurts are in the Carpentertown Loop. Camping cottages feature wooden walls and floors, windows, porch, and electric lights and outlets. Each cottage sleeps five people in bunk beds.
Yurts: Yurts are round, canvas and wood walled tents with a wooden deck. They feature a cooking stove, microwave oven, refrigerator, countertop, table, chairs, electric heat and outlets, and sleep four or five people in bunk beds.
Organized Group Tenting: Three areas with a combined capacity of 160 people are open April through October to adult and youth groups. This area has a modern shower house along with picnic tables, fire rings and water hydrants. Advance reservations are required.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Ice under the bridge is UNSAFE all winter!
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: All trails can be cross-country skied and snowshoed, although Lakeshore, Snowflake and most trails in the campground and picnicking areas are recommended.
Sledding: The gentle slopes by Hilltop Pavilion are recommended for sledding.
Ice Fishing: Most of the 198-acre Lackawanna Lake is open for ice fishing, except for the ice skating area, under the PA 407 bridge and near the dam.
Ice Skating: When conditions permit, park staff clear an area of ice near the fishing pier for skating. Always check the ice thickness before traveling on the ice.
Ice thickness and conditions are not monitored. For your safety, carry safety equipment and be sure ice thickness is at least four inches thick. Ice under the PA 407 bridge is UNSAFE all winter. Check the park website or call the park office for snow and ice conditions.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
Programming is available year-round at Lackawanna State Park. The environmental education specialist provides services to schools, communities and park visitors. Educational programs include Watershed Education, teacher in-service credit workshops, community programs, curriculum consultation and resource services. Summertime programming includes DiscoverE and weekend interpretive programs.
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
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
By Angela Lambert, Park Environmental Education Specialist
Lackawanna State Park is named for the county through which the Lackawanna River flows. The word Lackawanna, translated from the American Indian, means "the meeting of two streams." And indeed the 44.9 square miles of Lackawanna State Park’s watershed land contains the meeting of many tributaries that form the four main streams that flow to the 199-acre Lackawanna Lake. Today the lake is the main focal point of the park, but as the following history reveals, this was not always the case.
The park is located in an area rich in local and state history. Within the 1411 acres of the park one can learn many stories. Stories that include ancient American Indian trails, enterprising pioneers, a turnpike road, a county fair and race course, an industrial coal operator and about a reverend who forever changed the future of deaf children in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Prior to modern transportation, many horse hooves and moccasins traversed the main road in the area, old Route 407. This route served as an ancient American Indian trail that connected the Lackawanna Valley to New York State. This route proved to be a vital link in the future development of this rural county.
In 1805, the first early settler in Benton Township, Ezra Basset, came here from Plainfield, Connecticut. Ezra built his log cabin in a spot called "Prickly Ash Flats," now covered by the upper end of Lackawanna Lake. North Abington Township settlement came in 1812, with the arrival of Asa Knight. Following these early settlers were Archibald Knight, Daniel Long, Ira Lewis, Peter Cole, John Lewin, Leonard Hopfer, John Kennedy, Alfred Fisk, William Foster and members of the Carpenter Family. The settlements along the old Route 407 in North Abington Township became known as Carpentertown named for this latter family. These ambitious New England Yankees cleared the land and developed farms to make a better life for themselves and their families.
Increased prosperity came to the area with the building of the Philadelphia and Great Bend Turnpike. Built through Northeastern Pennsylvania from 1821 –1826, it followed that same ancient American Indian trail, old Route 407, giving rise to many businesses along the way.
Such businesses included, a stagecoach tavern built in 1825 by Ezra Wall. Ezra also opened the first store and post office in the tavern in 1829. In his honor it was called Wallsville and stood at the end of the road of the present day boat mooring area, as this was the original Route 407. Following suit, across the road, Mark Whaling opened an early blacksmith shop and Abel Harrington started a wheelwright shop nearby where he made wagons and wheels. Benjamin Spencer built a gristmill in 1820 near the present park dam. He ran the mill for 10 years and was succeeded by Samuel States who operated it for the next 50 years. It was from him, the creek was locally known as "State’s Creek" for many years.
With the growing community came two one-room schoolhouses, two water-powered sawmills, and the Wallsville Methodist Episcopal Church. The church was started in the Aylesworth Schoolhouse in 1832. By 1860 the congregation grew and built a church on land donated by Leonard Hopfer. Located by the present day park office on Route 524, the church was closed and sold in 1928 due to declining numbers and later torn down. All that remains is the Hopfer’s family cemetery and what was once the parsonage. It is in this small cemetery that Reverend Jacob M. Koehler is buried.
Reverend Koehler was husband to Ida Hopfer; daughter of Josiah Hopfer who was son to Leonard Hopfer. Reverend Koehler, who was deaf, was born in 1860 in York, Pennsylvania and led a long and distinguished career. In 1882, he established the first classes for deaf children in Northeastern Pennsylvania, which is today known as the Scranton State School for the Deaf. His experience teaching deaf children proved to him that although not hearing, children who are deaf could indeed learn. Being a man of vision and persistence, he approached the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf (PSAD) and presented a resolution at their 1884 convention calling for the support of compulsory education of deaf children in Pennsylvania. The PSAD passed the Koehler resolution, and then went to the Pennsylvania legislature resulting in a bill being passed mandating education for deaf children in Pennsylvania.
While religion and education were a priority for this bustling community, recreation also found a niche. In 1898 several area farmers organized the Maitland Fair and Driving Park Association. Annual fairs and horseraces attracted large crowds for a dozen years. The site of the former racecourse is located in the park camping area on the Woodland Ponds Trail.
The siting for the location of Lackawanna State Park indirectly resulted from an early controversy between the officials of the Scranton Gas and Water Company and the D.L. & W. Railroad over water rates needed for the operation of their steam locomotives in 1912. It seems the railroad felt the water company was charging too much for their water rights so the railroad decided to build their own reservoir and water supply. Agents were dispersed by the railroad to purchase farms located along State’s Creek (as it was then known) in North Abington and Benton Townships. In 1913, 13 farms were purchased from local residents. With this action, the water company had a change of mind that resulted in them lowering their rates. The reservoir was never built and the railroad rented out the land to tenant farmers for many years. In 1946, Robert Moffat a prominent Scranton coal operator purchased the entire parcel, which he rented to families, employed by the coal company until 1968. At that point the state took advantage of the early surveying work done by the D.L. & W., and purchased Mr. Moffat’s 600 acres with two voter approved state bond issues, projects 70 and 500 funds.
These project 70 and 500 parks were developed as part of Secretary of Department of Forest and Waters (now the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources), Dr. Maurice Goddard’s initiative to have a state park located within 25 miles of each resident in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And as they say the rest is history! Construction began in 1968 with the clearing of 125 wooded acres and the construction of a high dam on the South Branch of the Tunkhannock Creek to form Lackawanna Lake. The park was dedicated on June 10, 1972 and the campground was opened in 1975.
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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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Lackawanna State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Lackawanna County Convention and Visitors Bureau. www.visitnepa.org
The Countryside Conservancy owns lands adjoining Lackawanna State Park. Hiking, biking and picnicking is permitted. The Countryside Conservancy is dedicated to conserving lands and waters in and around the Tunkhannock Creek watershed for the public benefit now, and for the future. www.wildlandspa.org
Lackawanna State Park is in the Lackawanna Heritage Valley. This heritage area highlights cultural and historical resources. The park is within ten miles of a large metropolitan area. Areas of interest include: PA Anthracite Heritage Museum www.anthracitemuseum.org, Steamtown National Historic Site www.nps.gov/stea/, large shopping malls, universities and parks. www.lhva.org
Archbald Pothole State Park, to the east, exhibitsone of the world’s largest glacial potholes, which was carved by glacial meltwater during the last ice age.
Salt Springs State Park, to the northwest, features waterfalls and towering old growth hemlocks. Visitors can hike, hunt and fish, or stay the night at primitive campsites and cottages. Contact the Friends of Salt Springs Park for more information. www.friendsofsaltspringspark.org
Prompton State Park, to the north, borders the 290-acre Prompton Lake, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Visitors can motorboat, fish, hunt and explore the park on the 25 miles of multi-use trails.
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.
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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 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.
Common Birds Brochure
Common Birds of Lackawanna State Park (.pdf) (357 kb, 3/11)
The park is easily reached from I-81. Visitors should take Exit 199 and travel three miles west on PA 524. Visitors coming via U.S. routes 6 and 11 should take PA 438 east about three miles to PA 407, then south.
GPS DD: Lat. 41.55887 Long. -75.70555
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.
Lackawanna State Park