Little Pine State Park
The 2,158-acre Little Pine State Park is surrounded by a beautiful mountain section of Tiadaghton State Forest in PA Wilds. The 60-acre Little Pine Lake, hiking trails, the campground, and nesting bald eagles are prime attractions to the park.
Hiking - Picnicking - Swimming - Boating - Fishing - Hunting - Education - Shooting Range - Cross-country Skiing - Sledding - Snowmobiling - Ice Fishing - Organized Group Tenting - Yurts - Camping Cottages - Camping
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: Four picnic areas in both shaded and open locations contain four picnic pavilions, many picnic tables, a volleyball court and play equipment. 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.
The Lower Picnic Area is about one-half mile south of the campground. It is completely separated from the rest of the park. This six-acre area has picnic tables, grills, charcoal disposals, non-flush toilets, parking area, picnic pavilion, foot bridge and access to Little Pine Creek for anglers. River birch, white pine, sugar maple and black locust are common trees in the area.
Swimming: A sand beach with grass turf is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules. Pets, glass and breakable containers or utensils are prohibited in this area. All children ten years of age or younger must be accompanied by a person at least 14 years of age.
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 60-acre Little Pine Lake has 3.3 miles of shoreline. 4.2 miles of Little Pine Creek flow through the park. These warm-water and cold-water fisheries have stocked and native trout (brook, rainbow and brown), smallmouth bass, pickerel, sunfish, catfish and perch. This diversity provides good fly, bank and boat fishing. There is a special regulation, artificial-lure only, fishing area along Little Pine Creek in the northeast section of the park.
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: About 1,700 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, squirrel, fox, bear, grouse and turkey. There is a rifle/pistol range in the park. The adjacent state forest land is open to hunting.
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 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.
Hiking: 14 miles of trails
Button Ball Trail: 0.49-mile, easiest hiking
Carsontown Trail: 1 mile, easiest hiking
Lake Shore Trail: 5.5 miles, more difficult hiking
Pine Creek Rail Trail
Located 4 miles from the park in Waterville, this multi-use trail is for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. It stretches 62 miles from Jersey Shore to Wellsboro Junction along Pine Creek. The upper portion of the trail is in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Access areas, benches and restrooms are at various places along the trail.
The scenery along the trail is magnificent. Trail users can view dramatic rock outcrops, waterfalls, and wildlife like eagle, osprey, coyote, deer, wild turkey, heron, river otter, black bear and many others. Diverse plant life, scattered old-growth timber, historic pine and spruce plantations, and several foundations from the Civilian Conservation Corps era can be found along the trail.
There are also many miles of trails in the adjacent Tiadaghton State Forest.
Shooting Range: The shooting range is open daily from 8 AM until sunset. There is a pistol and rifle range with targets at 10, 15, 25, 50, and 100 yards. The rifle range has covered shooting benches and the pistol range has various uncovered firing stations.
Individuals and groups interested in using the new shooting range facilities must purchase an annual range permit. Range permits are required for individuals 16 years of age or older. Pa. resident: individual $30 per year; family $40. Non-resident: individual $36; family $48. Permits may be purchased at the park office or through self-registration at the range. This fee will help offset the cost of maintaining the range in a sustainable manner.
Please be sure to follow all of the Shooting Range Safety Guidelines and be sure to pick up your brass after you are done shooting.
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, many electric hook-ups
Explore camping for more information.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 1 host position
Camping Cottages: The three cottages comfortably sleep five people. Each cottage has two sets of single bunks, a full-size bed, wooden floors, windows, electric heat, porch, picnic table, fire ring and electric lights and outlets.
Yurts: These round, canvas and wood walled tents have a wooden deck and sleep five people in bunk beds. Yurts have a cooking stove, refrigerator, microwave oven, countertop, table, chairs, electric heat and outlets, fire ring, picnic table and are adjacent to a water pump. A shower house is nearby.
Organized Group Tenting: Available to adult and youth groups, there are four sites: two sites hold 40 people and two sites hold 20 people, or combine to hold 120 people. A paved parking lot, showers, flush toilets, fire rings and picnic tables are provided. A garbage and recycling center is near the campground entrance.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Cross-country Skiing: The five-mile Lake Shore Trail follows mostly level terrain and parallels the lake and headwaters and then returns to the starting location. Motor vehicles and snowmobiles are prohibited in this area.
Sledding: In the main day use area, two acres of slopes extend across the lake. Ample parking is by the bathhouse. Ice must be four inches thick before the run is opened.
Snowmobiling: Ample parking is available throughout the park. There are more than 100 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the surrounding Tiadaghton State Forest. Snowmobiles may be operated on designated trails and roads from the day following the last deer season in December until April 1, weather permitting. Restrooms are available. Overnight accommodations, food, gasoline and groceries are available throughout the area.
Ice Fishing: Trout are stocked in the 60-acre Little Pine Lake for ice fishing. The ice thickness is not monitored.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
Environmental education and interpretive programs are offered on a seasonal basis.
Field learning experiences are available to schools during the spring and fall, and teachers’ workshops are offered periodically. Programs are designed to meet the standards for Environment & Ecology, but also address other areas. Programs are also available on request to civic organizations and youth groups. Topics include astronomy, botany, entomology, folklore and zoology, among others.
Guided walks, evening programs, hands-on learning activities and craft programs are offered to park visitors in the summer season.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming events.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Annual Autumn Festival
This annual event focuses on the outdoor recreational opportunities in northcentral Pennsylvania. Activities include: guided walks, crafts, presentations and informational displays by private and government conservation organizations. The festival is held on the Sunday of the second full weekend in October.
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.
Viewing wildlife is a fun activity for all ages to enjoy. At this park, no matter what time of year, there are many opportunities to see all types of wildlife.
Since 2004, bald eagles have nested in the park. From the viewing area visitors can observe the eagles and eaglets without disturbing the birds.
In the summer, visitors can see deer and songbirds throughout the park, herons and otters in the lake and songbirds in many habitats. The fall season brings many migratory birds, such as loon, snow goose and many raptors. Visitors may see raccoons or mink along the lake, deer and foxes in the fields, or bear or turkeys in the woodlands. During the winter, many species of birds take advantage of the various feeding stations in the park.
Little Pine Creek is a freestone cold-water stream that supports a wide variety of aquatic life. Cold-water fishes, mollusks, crustaceans, insects and amphibians can be found both above and below the lake. When the dam was built in 1949-1950, it altered the ecology of that part of the stream. The lake acts as a sediment trap, creating a mud bottom. This allows different species of fish, insects and plant life to thrive. The extensive shallows at the upper end of the lake are prime breeding and hunting habitat for aquatic and shoreline animals such as muskrat, mink and herons. Snapping turtles and painted turtles are often seen in this part of the lake. The lake has a slightly warmer temperature than the stream, allowing warm-water fishes like sunfish, pickerel, sucker and catfish to survive.
Little Pine State Park is in the Appalachian High Plateaus Province of Pennsylvania, in the Deep Valleys Section. The bedrock was laid down about 300 million years ago. Plant fossils from this time can be found in the cliffs near the top of the dam spillway.
During the Illinoian Glacial Advance, about 150,000 years ago, the glacier dammed the northern flow of Pine Creek, creating glacial lakes in the Wellsboro-Mansfield area. These lakes existed for long enough time for shellfish to thrive in the cold water lakes. When the glacier melted and retreated, the lakes flooded and drained to the south, reversing the flow of Pine Creek and carving valleys, including Little Pine Valley. The fossilized shellfish from the outflow of the glacial lakes can be found along Little Pine Creek, well above the present stream level. Fossil collecting is prohibited in Little Pine State Park.
The Iroquoian and Algonquian nations used the area as hunting grounds. It is believed that there was a Shawnee village and cemetery near what is now the village of Carsontown, just north of the park.
In 1782, the first American settlers in the Little Pine Valley were brothers John and James English. These brothers built two sawmills along Little Pine Creek in 1809, one of which was at the southern end of the present park boundary.
The village of English Mills was established in 1816 and housed the families of the loggers, occupying what is now the park campground. The cemetery of English Mills is on a small knoll in the middle of the campground.
Another prominent name in local history is Robert Carson. He was the first of his line to settle in the Little Pine Valley, and his descendents, who made homes near his homestead, gave rise to the village of Carsontown. Robert Carson was one of the first farmers in the area, and also operated a sawmill. The Patterson Family was also involved in the logging business. This family owned several of the properties on which splash dams were built to create artificial floods designed to carry logs downstream. Little Pine Creek was used to transport both sawn lumber and logs to Williamsport, which came to be known as “the Lumber Capitol of the World.” In 1909, the last log raft went down Little Pine Creek.
Stopping and controlling logs on the Susquehanna River was a major problem until the construction of a “log boom” at Williamsport in 1846. The boom consisted of a chain of logs that stretched across the river diagonally. At one time, the boom stretched for six miles from Williamsport to Linden, and supplied logs to over 30 mills.
In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built Camp S-129-PA and a small picnic area along Little Pine Creek. In 1937, the camp was closed and the property turned over to the Bureau of State Parks.
For more information on the CCC explore the CCC Years.
When the park opened, it used many of the CCC buildings. In 1950, a dual-purpose flood control/recreation dam was constructed. The park remained a picnic area until the campground, beach and swimming area were constructed in 1958.
In 1972, Hurricane Agnes flooded and destroyed many park facilities, including all but a few remnants of the former CCC facilities. Hurricane Agnes was the only time water went over the spillway. In 1975-76, federal disaster aid helped build a new beach house, office, maintenance area, and a new campground with modern restrooms.
As part of the “Growing Greener” initiative, several major improvements began in 2002, including, enlarging and modernizing the park office and putting showers in the campground.
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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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Explore the Calendar of Events to find a program near you.
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Little Pine State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Lycoming County Visitor’s Bureau. www.vacationpa.com
Upper Pine Bottom State Park: This small day use area along PA 44 west of Waterville is maintained by Little Pine State Park as a parking area for hunters and anglers.
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
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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.
The park is in Lycoming County. From the south, take US 220 to the Pine Creek Exit near Jersey Shore. Take PA 44 north 11 miles to Waterville, then turn right onto SR 4001 and go four miles to the park.
From the northwest, take PA 120 south to the village of Hyner. Turn left onto Hyner Mountain Road. Take PA 44 south to Waterville and turn left onto SR 4001.
From the north and northeast, take US 6 to Wellsboro, then PA 287 south to English Center and SR 4001 to the park.
GPS DD: Lat. 41.36354 Long. -77.35740
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.
Little Pine State Park