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.
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. Areas of the park are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.
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/nwis/uv?site_no=01572025%2C01572190&format=gif_mult_sites&PARAmeter_cd=00065&period=7
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 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: 24.2 miles of trails
Bear Hole Trail: 4.8 miles, more difficult hiking
Swatara Rail Trail: 10 miles, easiest hiking
Appalachian National Scenic Trail: 2 miles in the park, more difficult hiking
Northern and Southern Multi-use Loops: 11 miles of trails
Bicycling: 14.8 miles of trails
Mountain Biking: 28 miles of trails
Mountain bikes are also permitted on Swatara Rail Trail (10 miles), Bear Hole Trail (4.8 miles), Moonshine Trail (0.8 mile), and other short trails that allow riders to make various loops.
Horseback Riding: 12.8 miles of trails
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: When there is adequate snow cover, the 10 miles of the Swatara Rail Trail is good for cross-country skiing.
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.