Sinnemahoning State Park
Sinnemahoning State Park, located near the center of the Pennsylvania Wilds’ scenic steep valleys region, encompasses 1,910 acres of beautiful scenery and outstanding wildlife habitat. Situated in Cameron and Potter counties, the park is nestled between the green-shouldered ridges of Pennsylvania’s Elk and Susquehannock State Forests. The park is long and narrow and includes lands on both sides of First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek, a major tributary to the Sinnemahoning Creek. At the southern end of the park, a 145-acre reservoir created by the George B. Stevenson dam provides excellent fishing and water recreation opportunities. The abundance of wildlife within the park provides visitors with opportunities to view bald eagles, coyotes, elk and bobcats. In addition, the park’s geographic location is excellent for visitors to explore the other treasures of the PA Wilds region.
Picnicking: There are three picnic areas. Two picnic pavilions are available in the Forty Maples Picnic Area and may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis. Feeding wildlife is strongly discouraged. When wild animals lose their fear of people, they can become pests and dangerous situations can result.
Make a reservation.
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.
Fishing: The 145-acre George B. Stevenson Reservoir has fishing for cold-water and warm-water species, including brook, rainbow and brown trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, sunfish, bluegill, pickerel, perch, crappie, catfish and tiger muskellunge. Nearby creeks and runs also provide good angling. Some feeder streams in the park contain native brook trout. There is a delayed harvest-artificial lures only special regulation area from mouth of Baily Run south 2.1 miles on First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek.
Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: About 1,400 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, grouse, squirrel, bear, turkey and waterfowl.
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: 5 miles of trails
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, electric hook-ups
Explore the campground map.
Explore camping for more information.
Make a reservation.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: one host position in the modern campground
Modern Cabin: The Brooks Run Cabin is a two-story house with four bedrooms, living room with a fireplace, sunporch and play equipment. The house sleeps 12 people. Prior to arrival, contact the park office for information on the check-in packet.
Brooks Run Cabin Brochure (.pdf)
Explore cabins for more information.
Make a reservation.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: Park trails and open fields are available for skiing with adequate snow cover.
Snowmobiling: The park trail consists of 1.1-mile of joint-use road and 3.1 miles of trail for a total of 4.2 miles. The trail is clearly delineated by signs and orange blaze markers.
The park trail joins the trails of the Elk State Forest at the Brooks Run Road, making a 25-mile trail system (park and forestry). All state forest trails are groomed weekly.
Snowmobiles may be operated on designated trails and roads from the day following the last deer season in December until April 1, weather permitting. Snowmobiles are prohibited from operating on frozen water surfaces and shorelines. All snowmobiles must be registered.
EXTREME CAUTION must be taken during ice related activities. Dangerous ice conditions like unsafe or weak ice or air pockets may exist due to rapidly rising or falling lake levels.
Ice Fishing: Conditions permitting, all areas of the lake are open for ice fishing except within 50 feet of the trash boom by the dam.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
Environmental interpretive pontoon boat rides are offered from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Please contact the park office for a current schedule of pontoon boat programs. Other environmental education and outdoor recreation programs are offered on weekends year-round.
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.
Sinnemahoning offers the visitor a variety of wildlife watching experiences. Depending upon the season, one could encounter nesting bald eagles, elk nursing their calves in a small nursery group, hear the howl of a coyote as it advertises its territory or maybe catch a glimpse of a bobcat slinking through the thick spruce.
Bald Eagles are a common sight on the 145-acre lake. Since 2000, a pair of eagles has set up year-round residence. The nest is on a forested ridge overlooking the lake, and can be observed from the dam breast walkway. Pair bonding rituals, mating and nest building activity takes place January to March, when one to three eggs are laid and incubation commences. Eaglets usually hatch in the middle of April. Fledging occurs in late June. During the winter months, watch for eagles fishing in the open waters below the dam or eating carrion along the roadside. Throughout the rest of the year, a good pair of binoculars and some patience will provide the casual observer with a spectacular display of eagle behavior.
Sinnemahoning State Park is home to a growing elk herd. Elk are mainly grazers, preferring to feed on forbs, legumes and grasses, but will browse on trees and shrubs when adequate ground vegetation is not available. Look for elk near 40 Maples Picnic Area, and north to the Wildlife Viewing Area. The Viewing Area is managed cooperatively between the PA Game Commission and DCNR, Bureau of State Parks. The grassy opening near the viewing platform was planted in clover and trefoil, a wildlife favorite. Although elk prefer these open, grassy areas, other wildlife benefit from the food source as well.
Fall is the rut or breeding season for elk. Watch for a herd of cows being guarded by a dominant bull. Listen and you may hear the bugle and belly grunts of a bull as he defends his harem from other intruding bulls.
Remember that elk are wild and can be dangerous especially during calving (June) and rutting (September/October) seasons. Please view elk and other wildlife from the viewing platform at the northern end of the food plot and stay on designated trails.
Sinnemahoning State Park is in a deep valley carved in a high plateau. A great place to see this landform is from the Logue Run Vista in Elk State Forest. From PA 872 take Brooks Run Road then turn right onto Ridge Road. The spectacular view from the vista shows uniform, flat-topped hills that rise 2,300 feet above mean sea level, cut by steep valleys. Long ago meltwater from glaciers eroded layers of sandstone and shale, creating the deep valeys.
Settlers to the area cleared the valleys for farms. Today, those farm fields are growing in with brush and young forests, creating a new habitat. The many habitats of the park, including the riparian lands by the lake and streams, are part a rich tapestry that support a variety of plants and animals
Spring in the North Country is a time of renewal. Wildflowers, like spring beauties, hepaticas and wood lily, are scattered across the forest floor. During an early morning walk one may encounter a variety of migratory songbirds winging their way back from South America to raise their young in the seclusion of the park. Common migrants include scarlet tanagers, ovenbirds, northern parula (look for them at the 40 Maples Picnic Area) and the black-billed cuckoo—one of the few birds that may even be heard singing at night.
Summer is the time of growth. Lush vegetation provides the needed nutrients for elk and deer to nourish their young. Look for spotted elk calves and fawns along the Low Land Trail. A variety of butterflies can be seen along the trails and near the Wildlife Viewing Platform at the northern end of the park. Scan the sandy banks along the First Fork for holes, which indicate nesting belted kingfishers, a fish-eating bird that inhabits the stream banks.
In the fall, the foliage reaches its peak as the reds, oranges and yellows are revealed in the leaves of the deciduous forests. Watch for the annual migration of bald eagles as they rest and feed on the lake before trekking to their winter grounds. A resident, nesting pair can be seen year-round at the lake and surrounding area. Watch for small congregations of monarch butterflies in October as they prepare for their long migration to South America.
Winter is a good time to search for signs of wildlife. Look for strips of bark removed from trees, indicating the presence of elk, or tracks of coyotes and bobcats in the snow. Resident bald eagles can be seen nest building and preparing for the upcoming nesting season.
Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park
Enjoy state-of-the-art interpretive exhibits, opportunities to view wildlife, and learn about green building design at the new Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning.
In 2011, a new visitor center and park office opened in the northern section of the park. The 9300 square foot facility will provide office space, improved visitor services and a gallery of interactive exhibits (Spring 2013) that will help connect the visitor to the park and the PA Wilds region.
Sinnemahoning State Park is in the “heart” of the PA Wilds region, which is comprised of wild, natural areas from 13 counties in the northern tier of Pennsylvania. It includes 29 state parks and 1.5 million acres of state forest and state game lands. The park is surrounded by the Elk, Susquehannock and Sproul state forest districts. Sinnemahoning was chosen because of its central location and the many connections that it offers visitors to other activities and facilities within this remote region. The wildness of the area is an important draw as it provides an abundance of wildlife watching opportunities from elk to otters and an outstanding variety of birdlife. It is also a place for DCNR to share its stewardship messages with local communities, businesses and park visitors.
The first inhabitants of the area likely arrived about 10,000-12,000 years ago, when glaciers still sculpted the upper Susquehanna watershed. Evidence of American Indian inhabitants can sometimesbe found along the riparian bottoms in plowed fields that turn up remnants of artifacts left behind from encampments and hunting parties. The name Sinnemahoning is derived from an American Indian word meaning “Rocky Lick.” This natural salt lick is reputed to be near the mouth of Grove Run, a stream that flows through the nearby town of Sinnemahoning.
The late 1800s saw the heyday of logging in this area. Large expanses of forests were clearcut, targeting the massive white pines and hemlocks that covered much of the area. Log drives on the First Fork were not an uncommon sight in the early spring as lumber companies herded their supply down river to market.
By the 1850s, rail transportation was beginning to grow. As transportation and access improved along the creek, the race to develop those resources began in earnest. The Lowlands Trail, which runs through the middle of the park, was constructed on the railbed of the former Goodyear Brothers/Sinnemahoning Valley Railroad system, which later became the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad. This artery opened up trade and transportation, providing a reliable and efficient route for goods and services to reach the communities in the area.
For more information about the logging history of north central Pennsylvania, contact the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Potter County, 814-435-2652. www.lumbermuseum.org
History of the Park
Sinnemahoning State Park was developed on the First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek following the completion of the George B. Stevenson Dam. This dam was originally known as the First Fork Dam, and later renamed in honor of Clinton County Senator George B. Stevenson, who promoted the drive for legislation authorizing the project. The dam reduces downstream flooding in the Susquehanna River Basin. It was completed in December of 1955.
The opening of Sinnemahoning State Park represents one of the state’s first attempts to develop multi-purpose use of an impoundment area. The park opened to the public in 1958. On March 9, 1959, the construction of the recreation areas and facilities were completed. The park then contained three picnic areas with three non-flush toilets, four wells, a beach area and a boat launching and mooring facilities. In 1966, one picnic area was converted into a camping area.
When the park area first opened to the public in 1958, it was managed by the Bureau of Forestry. In 1962, the park was incorporated into the state park system.
On July 1, 1983, the George B. Stevenson Dam, a state owned and operated flood control dam, was transferred to the Bureau of State Parks for administration.
George B. Stevenson Dam
In 1955, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania constructed the George B. Stevenson Dam on the First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek as a unit of the general comprehensive plan for flood control along the West Branch Susquehanna River Basin. This plan consists of four reservoirs: George B. Stevenson, Alvin R. Bush (Kettle Creek State Park), Curwensville and Foster Joseph Sayers (Bald Eagle State Park). Coordinated operation of the four reservoirs controls a total of 1,163 square miles of drainage area. By controlling the runoff from these areas, these reservoirs provide significant flood prevention to the towns downstream.
In order to achieve best results from the system, all four dams are regulated during floods in accordance with instructions issued by the Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Statistics of George B. Stevenson Dam
Keep in Touch
Add yourself to the DCNR's online community to receive info on this park, or parks in general.
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
To a park - find this park's address below
To a park or the Bureau of State Parks - Pennsylvania Parks and Forestry Foundation www.paparksandforests.org
Through a purchase at a park gift shop
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.
Sinnemahoning State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from:
the Potter County Visitors Association www.pottercountypa.org
the Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau. www.visitpago.com
Elk State Forest: Principally in Elk and Cameron Counties, the 200,000 acres of forest land are open to hunting, fishing and general recreation. Within Elk State Forest is a portion of the Quehanna Wild Area, which is south of Sinnemahoning. The Quehanna Trail System provides access for primitive-type forest recreation limited to day use activities and backpack hiking. 814-486-3353
Bucktail State Park Natural Area: This 75-mile scenic drive follows PA 120 between Emporium and Lock Haven. Along the way is Cameron County’s Little Museum at Sterling Run and the Bucktail Regiment Monument at Driftwood. This scenic drive follows the route taken by the Bucktail Regiment on their way to Harrisburg for the American Civil War.
Old Austin Dam Site: Along PA 872 north of Austin is the site of the Austin Dam, which broke in 1911, destroying much of the town.
Pennsylvania Flaming Foliage Festival: In Renovo, PA, the festival is second full weekend in October, 570-923-2411.
Elk Viewing: Elk may be seen in the areas between Sinnemahoning State Park, PA 555 (Benezette) and PA 120 near St. Marys.
Explore Pennsylvania Wilds
Pennsylvania Wilds is two million acres of public lands for hiking, biking, fishing, boating, hunting and exploration in northcentral Pennsylvania. Within the twelve-county region are: 29 state parks, eight state forest districts (1.3 million acres); 50 state game lands and Allegheny National Forest (500,000 acres. www.pawilds.com
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:
Sinnemahoning State Park Map (.pdf) (1,433 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.
Brooks Run Cabin Brochure
Brooks Run Cabin Brochure (.pdf) (1,988 kb, 4/13)
Sinnemahoning State Park is located on PA 872 in Cameron and Potter counties in northcentral Pennsylvania. The park is 13 miles north of the intersection of PA 120 and PA 872 (outside of the village of Sinnemahoning) or 15 miles south of Austin. The park office, located within the Wildlife Center, is 0.5 mile south of the northern intersection of PA 872 and Park Road. The northern entrance of the park is about 3 miles north on PA 872.
Some online mapping sites can find the park by using Lushbaugh, Pa. or Austin, Pa.
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.
Sinnemahoning State Park