Tobyhanna State Park
Tobyhanna State Park is in scenic Monroe and Wayne counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. The 5,440-acre park includes the 170-acre Tobyhanna Lake. Tobyhanna is derived from an American Indian word meaning "a stream whose banks are fringed with alder." Gouldsboro State Park is nearby.
Caution: Please Read
Visitors using more remote and undeveloped areas of Tobyhanna State Park should be aware that they could encounter old, unexploded artillery shells. Three types of shells have been found in the park. The largest projectile is 18 to 24 inches in length and about 6 inches in diameter. The medium projectile is 2.5 inches in diameter and from 10 to 14 inches in length. The smallest projectile is 3 inches long and 1.25 inches in diameter. Shells are found in severely rusted condition without any recognizable markings or imprints. Their overall appearance is that of a pointed cylinder of rusted steel. Visitors encountering such items should not touch, attempt to move or otherwise disturb the items, and should call the park office and report the location to insure proper disposal.
Picnicking: Picnicking is permitted throughout the year. Tobyhanna State Park provides four picnic areas with picnic tables and charcoal grills. Three of the areas are wooded and one is in an open, grassy area. A small playfield is near Lot 4 and a playground is near the swimming beach. Near Lot 1, an ADA accessible picnic pavilion with electricity can be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. If unreserved the picnic pavilion is free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Make a reservation.
Swimming: The sand beach at Tobyhanna State Park is open from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please follow posted rules. The Tobyhanna bathhouse has flush toilets and changing areas. Showers are available for a fee.
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 common fish in the 170-acre Tobyhanna Lake are bass, pickerel, yellow perch, catfish and sunfish. Brook and brown trout are stocked. An ADA accessible fishing pier is in the day use area.
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 Tobyhanna State Park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are white-tailed deer, black bear, squirrel and turkey. Furbearers include beaver, muskrat, mink, fox, coyote and raccoon. Hunting is also permitted in nearby state game lands 127 and 312.
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.
Mountain Biking: Lakeside Trail is an improved surface trail that circles the lake and borders the Black Bear and Bender Swamps Natural Area.
Hiking: 10 miles of trails
Follow these rules for a safe hike:
Lakeside Trail: 5.1 miles, easiest hiking
Range Trail: 3.3 miles, more difficult hiking
Frank Gantz Trail: 3.2 miles, most difficult hiking
Camping: flush toilets and hot showers
Due to the high elevation of nearly 2,000 feet above sea level, campers should be prepared for cool nighttime temperatures, even during the summer months. Pets are permitted at selected campsites for a fee.
Explore the campground map.
Explore camping for more information.
Make a reservation.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: one host position in the modern campground
Organized Group Tenting: Five rustic sites are available. Sites One to Four accommodate up to 20 people. Site Five accommodates up to 40 people. Or, all sites can be combined to accommodate up to 120 people. The area is adjacent to Lot 4 and is open year-round. It has vault toilets and hand operated water pump.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Snowmobiling: Tobyhanna State Park provides a one-way snowmobile trail 5.1 miles in length that runs counterclockwise on Lakeside Trail. The trail begins at Lot 1, which has restrooms, parking and unloading space. Conditions permitting, snowmobiles may be operated only on the designated, one-way trail from the day after the last deer season in December until April 1. Operators and passengers must follow the PA Snowmobile Law. Please remember to respect the environment and the rights of others.
Ice Fishing: 170-acre Tobyhanna Lake is popular for ice fishing. Ice thickness is not monitored. For your safety, be sure the ice is at least four inches thick and carry safety equipment.
Ice Skating: Ice skating is available as natural conditions permit. Tobyhanna State Park has a 1.2-acre area near Parking Area 3. Ice thickness is not monitored. Be sure the ice is four inches thick and carry safety equipment.
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.
Tobyhanna and Gouldsboro state parks are 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 the area. Evidence of the glacier is the very rocky soil that is called glacial till and the abundance of bogs.
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. Interesting plants like the carnivorous pitcher plant, cotton grass and many sedges inhabit the bogs. The carnivorous plant yellow bladderwort lives in some of the bogs and in Tobyhanna Lake. In the underwater portion of the plant, small sacks trap tiny aquatic animals.
Due to the logging of the forests, large portions 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, serviceberry trees flower. In mid-June, the plentiful mountain laurel blooms, followed in late-June to early-July by rhododendron. In mid-July, 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, bear find human food to be nearly irresistible. Please observe wildlife from a safe distance and do not feed wildlife.
Keep your food in the trunk of a car or in a camper.
Black bear normally avoid people, but bear 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 a bear. Never approach a bear and be especially wary of mother bears and cubs.
Feeding wildlife is prohibited. 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.
Bender/Black Bear Swamps Natural Area
The Black Bear and Bender Swamps Natural Area is made up of acidic shrub swamps totaling 1,600 acres. Openings through the trees contain sphagnum moss and rare plants and animals. Black Bear and Bender Swamps will be maintained in a natural condition by allowing physical and biological processes to operate, usually without direct human intervention.
Explore natural areas for more information.
The landscape of the area is of broad, flat, swampy areas intermixed with low hills covered with a northern hardwood forest. Common tree species are beech, birch and maple. This landscape affected the settlement and industries of the area.
Ice Industry: From about 1900 to 1936, Tobyhanna and Gouldsboro lakes were the site of active ice industries. The ice was cut from the lakes during the winter and stored in large barn-like structures. During the rest of the year, the ice was added to railroad boxcars hauling fresh produce and meats destined for East Coast cities. Boxcar loads of ice were also shipped to cities for use in family iceboxes (early refrigerators). During the summer when ice usage peaked, up to 150 boxcar loads per day shipped out of the Tobyhanna, Gouldsboro and Klondike (near Gouldsboro) plants. Some ice was even shipped to Florida for use in hospitals.
Land Acquisition: In 1912, the federal government acquired the land that became the Tobyhanna Military Reservation. In World War I, (1914-1918), the Army used the reservation as a tank and ambulance corps training center and the National Guard used it as an artillery-training center.
From 1918 to 1931, the reservation was used for artillery training.
In the early 1930s, the reservation housed Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees.
For more information on the CCC, explore The CCC Years.
From 1937 to 1941, the reservation served as an artillery training center for West Point cadets. During World War II, the reservation housed German prisoners-of-war. From 1946 to 1948, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used the reservation. In 1948, the War Assets Administration took control of the property and in April of 1949, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania received title to most of the 26,000 acres, with the remaining area operated as the Tobyhanna Army Depot. Of the land acquired, about two-thirds of the area was made into Game Lands 127, and the remaining one-third was used to create both Gouldsboro and Tobyhanna state parks.
Tobyhanna State Park opened to the public in 1949, complete with parking areas, swimming beach, boat rental and boat launching site, water supply and sanitary facilities. The camping area was added in 1959.
The former Department of Forests and Waters (DFW) subsequently acquired additional properties, and in 1956, the former Pennsylvania Fish Commission (PFC) purchased Gouldsboro Lake and land not included in the larger government tract.
In 1958, the DFW and the PFC agreed to combine the area owned by both agencies into a single recreational site. Gouldsboro State Park opened to the public in 1958.
In 2004, the lake and land owned by the PA Fish and Boat Commission was transferred to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
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Scouts and organized groups can earn free camping by completing service projects.
Volunteers Needed at Tobyhanna
Tobyhanna State Park Complex is searching for a long-term host to live in our rustic 140-site campground to provide visitor information and perform light maintenance duties. A camp host will need to provide their own camping unit and demonstrate model camping ethics. The park will provide a large wooded campsite with electric hook-up. There is water available nearby and a sanitary dump station. We will also provide free firewood for the duration of your stay. The campground at Tobyhanna is open from about mid-April until mid-December. A long-term host would be needed five days a week including weekends from at least Memorial Day Weekend until Labor Day Weekend. If interested, please contact the park manager at 570-894-8336.
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
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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.
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.
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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.
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Tobyhanna State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau. www.800poconos.com
Tobyhanna and Gouldsboro state parks are in the famous Pocono Mountain resort area. Nearby attractions include: Lake Wallenpaupack, one of the largest man-made lakes in Pennsylvania; state game lands 127 and 312; Big Pocono State Park at the top of Camelback Mountain, which features a view of three states; and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area www.nps.gov/dewa/index.htm.
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.
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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:
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 entrance is 2.1 miles north of the community of Tobyhanna on PA 423. PA 423 intersects with I-380, 2.5 miles south of the park entrance. The park can also be reached from Interstate 84 via PA 507, PA 191 and PA 423, a total distance of 11.4 miles.
GPS DD: Lat. 41.20736 Long. -75.39643
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.
Tobyhanna State Park