Promised Land State Park
About 3,000 acres in size, Promised Land State Park is on the Pocono Plateau, 1,800 feet above sea level, and is surrounded by 12,464 acres of Pennsylvania’s Delaware State Forest, including natural areas.
The forests of the park consist primarily of beech, oak, maple and hemlock trees. Two lakes and several small streams add to the park’s outstanding scenic beauty.
Hiking - Biking - Mountain Biking - Horseback Riding - Picnicking - Swimming - Boating - Fishing - Hunting - Education - Orienteering - Cross-country Skiing - Snowmobiling - Ice Fishing - Ice Skating - Cabins - Camping
Picnicking: The Picnic Area is by Promised Land Lake and has many picnic tables in a scenic woodland setting. The Picnic Area has parking areas, water, garbage containers, sand volleyball court and restrooms. The Main Beach, boat rental and refreshment stand are all within a short walk.
Two 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.
Prior to arrival, busses must get a permit to be in the picnic area.
Make a reservation.
Swimming: There are two sand beaches that are open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. The Main Beach is in the Picnic Area. The Pickerel Point Beach is on the end of Pickerel Point. Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules for swimming.
All children ten years of age or younger must be accompanied by a person at least 14 years of age. All groups at the beach must meet the state park adult to child ratio requirements for supervision.
Refreshment Stand: Located in the Day Use Area off of PA 390, the Food Concession offers numerous items including pizza, hotdogs, hamburgers, pierogies, nachos, pretzels, French fries, chicken nuggets, soda, candy, and ice cream. The Concession is open from the Saturday immediately preceding Memorial Day through Labor Day from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily. 570-676-0311
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.
Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Boat Rental: Located off of PA 390, south of the Day Use Area, the boat concession offers rentals by the hour, day, overnight or week. Types of boats include rowboats, canoes, one and two-person kayaks and paddleboats. Electric motors are available for rent. The Boat Concession operates daily from the Saturday immediately preceding Memorial Day through Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. The Concession also operates the two weekends before Memorial Day and the two weekends after Labor Day. 570-676-4117
Fishing: The 422-acre Promised Lake and the 173-acre Lower Lake offer great opportunities for fishing, including ice fishing. The common fish species are largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel, muskellunge, yellow perch, sunfish and catfish. Lower Lake is approved trout waters and is stocked with brook, brown and rainbow trout. 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: About 450 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, bear and turkey. Adjacent forestry land has additional areas 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 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.
Trail System: Designated recreational trails in this area are marked with a vertical blue blaze. At each trail intersection, a sign will designate the trail name, trail uses, equipment permitted, distances, directions, and other pertinent information. Permitted trail usage is designated by international symbols. Any other markings are NOT relevant to this trail system. Additional trail information and descriptions are available at the park office.
Hiking: 50 miles of trails
The trails lead through areas rich in historic and scenic interest. This is especially true from mid-June until mid-July when the mountain laurel and rhododendron are in bloom and again in mid-October at the height of the fall foliage.
Motorized vehicles are prohibited on all hiking trails, except snowmobiles, which are allowed on designated snowmobile trails. Before hiking, let someone know where you are going and when you will return. Take a map, stay on the trails and plan to return before dusk. Wear proper attire and footwear when hiking. Be aware of hunting seasons and hunting areas within the park and wear fluorescent orange clothing during hunting seasons.
Biking: 6.5 miles of roads
Mountain Biking: Adjacent Delaware State Forest land has trails.
Horseback Riding: Promised Land State Park provides access to selected equestrian trails on state forest lands. Rentals are not available.
Orienteering: Beginner and intermediate orienteering courses are near the Rock Oak Ridge Trailhead, near the Pines Campground.
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, electric hook-ups
Lower Lake Campground opens in April and closes in December. The Beechwood and Northwoods areas are open from early April through Mid-December. Modern facilities are available Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Rhododendron Area is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Please contact the park office for specific dates. Pets are permitted on designated sites.
Explore the Lower Lake Campground map.
The recently remodeled Pickerel Point Campground is on a peninsula on the southern side of Promised Land Lake. Six modern campsites and three camping cottages are open year-round. Walk-in campsites on the lakeshore and other modern sites will be open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Pickerel Point Campground now has twelve full hookup sites that include electric, sewer and water hookups on site. These full hookup sites are a first for Pennsylvania State Parks.
Explore the Pickerel Point Campground map.
The Pines Campground is at the northwestern end of Promised Land Lake and is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend. The restrooms have flush toilets. Pay showers are in the Picnic Area. A trail leads to the Picnic Area and the Main Beach. There are ADA accessible campsites.
Explore the Pine Campground map.
Tucked into the trees and rocks, Deerfield Campground is just south of Promised Land Lake and is open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. This rustic area has flush toilets. Pay showers are in the Picnic Area.
Explore the Deerfield Campground map.
Explore camping for more information.
Make a reservation.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 6 host positions
Rustic Cabins: Nestled in hemlocks, adjacent to Lower Lake, the Bear Wallow Cabin Colony has twelve rustic rental cabins constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. These rustic cabins each have a fireplace, electricity and an adjacent private bathroom. One cabin is ADA accessible.
Scattered around Promised Land State Park are privately owned cabins on leased land. Please respect the property rights of these cabin owners.
Explore the cabin map.
Explore cabins for more information.
Make a reservation.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: Skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all trails. Bruce Lake Natural Area and Conservation Island are the best trails for skiing.
Snowmobiling: Registered snowmobiles may be used on more than 23 miles of designated snowmobile trails. The trails, which are on both state park and state forest lands, are open daily after the end of deer season in late December, weather permitting. Snowmobile maps are available at the park office.
Ice Fishing: Conditions permitting, ice fishing is popular on both lakes. Bass, pickerel, panfish and on Lower Lake, trout, are the common species captured through the ice.
Ice Skating: Conditions permitting, ice skating occurs on Promised Land Lake. Contact the park office for information.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
Spring through fall, school programs are offered on a wide variety of topics and levels. Everyone is invited to our traditional summer weekend campfire programs and guided outdoor recreation programs.
The park has a small museum that features displays of natural features found in the area and artifacts and the story of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
A one-mile self-guiding interpretive trail is on Conservation Island on Promised Land Lake. A trail guide is available for investigating different habitats of this island.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of events from today forward.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Wind Turbine: The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) installed small-scale wind turbines to show how alternative energy can reduce pollution and lessen our dependence on fossil fuels.
For hundreds of years, traditional windmills harnessed wind energy to pump water or grind grain. Today's modern equivalent – the wind turbine – uses wind energy to generate electricity which has far less impact on the environment than energy generation based on fossil fuels.
To see how much energy is generated by the park's small-scale wind turbine, and how much energy is used daily, weekly and monthly visit the wind turbine page.
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.
Promised Land 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 Promised Land. The very rocky soil is glacial till, evidence of the glacier. 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.
Due to logging of the forests, large portions of the forest 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, the serviceberry trees flower. In mid-June, the plentiful mountain laurel blooms, followed in late-June to early-July by the rhododendron. In mid-July, the highbush blueberries bear fruit, providing a feast for bears and birds.
Black bear are common in the park. This omnivore eats plants, grasses, berries and occasionally meat. Unfortunately, bears find human food to be nearly irresistible. Please observe wildlife from a safe distance and do not feed wildlife.
Promised Land State Park is an important Bird Area, as designated by the National Audobon Society.
A wildlife observation station is on Lower Lake by Bear Wallow Boat Launch. Approach the area quietly for the best chance to see waterfowl and other animals. Bald eagles have nested in the park for several years and the nest is across the lake from the wildlife observation station.
Plants and animals are protected at the park. Park animals are wild, potentially dangerous and can become a nuisance. Please do not feed any wildlife. Feeding raccoons, squirrels or chipmunks may expose you to the threat of rabies.
Feeding Canada geese at the swimming areas results in large quantities of fecal droppings, which is offensive to park visitors and a potential health hazard.
The Bear Truths
Many Pennsylvania state parks are habitat for black bears. Although they appear cute and cuddly like a teddy bear, black bears are wild animals.
A black bear can scramble up a tree like a raccoon and sprint as fast as a race horse. Bears use their claws to tear apart rotting logs to find food, and those claws also work well to open garbage cans and coolers. The size and strength of a black bear is astonishing.
Black bears have poor eyesight and fair hearing, but an excellent sense of smell. Aromatic scents coming from your food can attract a curious and hungry bear from a great distance.
Store all food items inside a vehicle. At primitive, walk-in campsites, suspend food between two trees, ten feet in the air and three feet from either tree.
Black bears normally avoid people, but bears dependent on eating human food can become slightly aggressive when people get between them and food.
If you come in contact with a black bear, try chasing it away by making loud noises like yelling, honking a car horn or banging a pot. Notify a park employee if you have difficulties with bears.
Never approach a bear and be especially wary of mother bears and cubs.
The land that became Promised Land State Park was hunting grounds for the Minsi Tribe of the Wolf Clan of the Lenni-Lenape Indians (Delaware).
The religious group, the Shakers, purchased land in the area. After contracting the forests to be timbered, the Shakers left the area.
Early settlers of the area erected sawmills to process the large stands of conifer and hardwood trees. The land was repeatedly clear-cut. With the loss of trees came erosion and forest fires, and migration of wildlife from the area.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the land in 1902. Promised Land was the fourth Pennsylvania state park. The Commonwealth worked to protect and reclaim the area and the forest and wildlife began to return. The first park facilities opened to the public in 1905.
In 1933, to relieve the rampant unemployment of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The young men in the CCC received food, clothes and a small paycheck, in return for building roads, trails and recreational facilities, fighting fires, planting trees and performing many other conservation activities. Camp S-139 opened in May of 1933 and closed in July of 1941. The hard working young men transformed the land in and around Promised Land State Park.
For more information on the CCC, explore the Civilian Conservation Corps Online Archive.
On Sunday evening, May 31, 1998, an F-2 tornado (winds of 113 -157 mph) passed through Promised Land State Park. It cut a northeasterly path through the park and crossed Lower Lake Road, PA 390 and North Shore Road near Sucker Brook. Over 500 people were trapped overnight in the park, but no one was seriously hurt. The park office has copies of After the Wind Died Down, a booklet about the tornado and its aftermath.
Keep in Touch
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Like to spend time in the outdoors, meet friendly people and help make Pennsylvania State Parks great? Volunteering at a park might be for you.
Becoming a Conservation Volunteer is easy.
Scouts and organized groups can earn free camping by completing service projects.
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Believing that each generation is responsible for leaving behind a better legacy of good conservation, the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) was created in 1999 to give supporters and users of Pennsylvania's parks and forests a positive way to contribute to the conservation of our publicly-owned properties. The Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation welcomes the support of individuals and businesses who share a commitment to conserving, protecting, and enhancing the natural, scenic, and recreational areas of this commonwealth. www.paparksandforests.org
Make a Donation
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Thank you for your support!
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.
Explore education for more information on these and other programs.
Explore the Calendar of Events to find a program near you.
Do you take conservation personally? iConservePA is a Web site managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whose vision is to inspire citizens to value their natural resources, engage in conservation practices and experience the outdoors. Take conservation personally.
Come Work with Us
Pennsylvania State Parks and the Department of Conservation and Natrual Resources offer a wide range of civil service and non-civil service jobs, from foresters, to rangers, to engineers, to educators, to botanists and so much more. Learn what is currently available.
Tell us What You Think
Contact this park with compliments, concerns and issues about the park.
Promised Land State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau. www.800poconos.com
Varden Conservation Area: Promised Land State Park serves as the headquarters for Varden Conservation Area. The conservation area is about 25 miles northwest of Promised Land in Varden of Wayne County, Pennsylvania.
The 420-acre conservation area was a donation from veterinarian Dr. Mead Shaffer. There are over 3 miles of trails that navigate through old farm fields, forests, tree plantations and nearby wetlands.
Pennsylvania's Delaware State Forest: Promised Land State Park is surrounded by 12,500 acres of Delaware State Forest. There are two nearby natural areas and recreational opportunities like hiking, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and snowmobiling. Camping is prohibited in this state forest. 570-895-4000
Bruce Lake Natural Area: The 2,845-acre natural area contains two lakes, wetlands and unique plants. Bruce Lake is a natural glacier lake.
Pine Lake Natural Area: This small natural area has a ten-acre glacial bog.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area: Comprising 70,000 acres of the Delaware River shoreline in PA and NJ, this area offers canoeing, fishing, swimming, hiking, wildlife viewing, waterfalls and historic areas. Visitors can see Dingmans Falls, Zane Grey Home, Roebling Bridge and the Appalachian Trail. 570-426-2452
Lake Wallenpaupack: This 5,700-acre lake is owned by PPL and is open to public fishing and boating. The lake contains many species of warm-water fish in addition to trout. 570-226-3191
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:
Promised Land State Park Map (.pdf) (1,013 kb, 3/11)
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.
Promised Land State Park Cabin Map (.pdf) (54 kb, 3/11)
Promised Land State Park Directions Map (.pdf) (203 kb, 3/11)
Promised Land State Park is in Pike County, 10 miles north of Canadensis, along PA 390. The park is easily reached from interstates 80 and 84. The park is within a one to three hour drive from Allentown, Easton, Bethlehem, Reading, Harrisburg, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, and is about 100 miles north of Philadelphia and 35 miles from the New York and New Jersey state borders.
DD: 41.299 N 75.214 W
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.
Promised Land State Park