Swatara State Park
The 3,520-acre Swatara State Park consists of rolling fields and woodlands situated in the Swatara Valley, between Second and Blue mountains. The scenic Swatara Creek meanders the length of the park and is surrounded by forests and wetlands that support a diversity of wildlife.
Boating: non-powered boats only
Be aware of naturally occurring hazards which may be encountered on Swatara Creek. Each boater must possess a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD). Those 12 and younger must wear a PFD. Tubers 9 and younger must wear a PFD.
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.
Visit the U.S. Geological Survey Web site for the water level of Swatara Creek at Inwood. Recommended gauge height is a minimum of 3.25 feet. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/pa/nwis/dv/?site_no=01573560&PARAmeter_cd=00060,00065
Fishing: Spring attracts many anglers to Trout Run; the park’s only trout stocked stream. Other cold-water tributaries within the park support native populations of brook trout, as does Swatara Creek.
Warmwater fish like smallmouth bass and panfish can be caught in Swatara Creek. Wagners Pond provides opportunities to catch largemouth bass and panfish.
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: Most of Swatara State Park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, ruffed grouse, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel and waterfowl, with populations of furbearers including muskrat, raccoon, opossum and fox. Be alert for trail users and the 150-yard safety zone surrounding each of the occupied buildings in the park.
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 and Bicycling: 18.2 miles of trails
Appalachian National Scenic Trail: 2 miles in the park
Swatara Rail Trail: 10 miles, easiest hiking
Bear Hole Trail: 4.8 miles, more difficult hiking
Mountain Biking: 27.7 miles of trails, most difficult hiking
Mountain bikes are also permitted on Swatara Rail Trail (10 miles), Bear Hole Trail (4.8 miles), Moonshine Trail (0.8 mile), Trout Run Trail (0.5 mile), State Park Lane (0.5 mile), Portage Trail (0.4 mile), Mifflin Trail (0.3 mile), Round About Loop (0.5 mile) and Sand Siding Trail (0.4 mile), adding an additional 18.2 miles.
Horseback Riding: 12.8 miles of trails
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: The 10-mile Swatara Rail Trail is good for skiing with adequate snowfall.
Trash Disposal and Recycling
Swatara State Park participates in a carry-in/carryout trash disposal program for small parks. There are no trash collection or recycling facilities. Visitors are asked to limit the amount of disposable items brought to the park and to take all trash and recyclables home.
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.