Raccoon Creek State Park - Pennsylvania

US National Parks and Monuments Travel Guide: US-Parks.com

Description

Raccoon Creek State Park has continued to develop from the park’s beginning as a Recreational Demonstration Area operated by the National Park Service in the 1930s, to one of the largest and most beautiful state parks in Pennsylvania. Facilities at the park are a mix from the early Civilian Conservation Corps camp to modern facilities. In addition to recreational areas, there are large tracts of undeveloped land. The 7,572-acre park features the beautiful 101-acre Raccoon Lake.

Recreation

Picnicking:

About 400 picnic tables are available throughout the park. All picnic areas have grills, drinking water and restrooms.

Swimming:

The 500-foot, ADA accessible sand/turf beach is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Please read and follow posted rules for swimming. Swim at your own risk. A bathhouse and a food refreshment stand are nearby.

Boating: electric motors only

The 101-acre Raccoon Lake has two boat launches and 48 mooring spaces. A boat rental has canoes, rowboats and kayaks.

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.

Fishing:

The 101-acre Raccoon Lake has bluegill, sunfish, bullhead catfish, yellow perch, walleye, muskellunge, crappie, sauger, largemouth and smallmouth bass. Cold-water fish like brook and rainbow trout are stocked and found both in the lake and in feeder streams. There is an ADA accessible fishing pier on Raccoon Lake. The twelve-acre Upper Lake provides catch and release fishing year-round. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply.

Hiking: 44 miles

The park offers a wide variety of hiking options to meet the needs of the casual day hiker as well as the overnight backpacker looking for a challenge within a wilderness setting. Explore trails for complete trail descriptions.

Mountain Biking: 17 miles

Multi-use trails and roads are for trail biking. A variety of terrain features offer everything from steep and rolling hills to level service roads. Explore trails for complete trail descriptions.

Horseback Riding: 16 miles of equestrian trails

Multi-use trails and roads provide horseback riders with an extensive bridle trail system. The equestrian trailhead parking lot is along PA 168 on the western border of the park. Access to the trail system is from the parking lot via the Appaloosa Spur Trail. There are no horse rentals. Explore trails for complete trail descriptions.

Recreation Hall:

The large, ADA accessible Recreation Hall in the Modern Cabin Area can be rented for group meetings or family reunions. The facility is a large hall with modern bathrooms, kitchen and fireplace. It is ADA accessible with parking and recreational facilities. Reservations for the hall can be made, for a fee, at the park office.

Stay the Night

Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups

The 172 modern tent and trailer campsites are open from the second Friday in April to mid-October. The wooded campground offers a selection of secluded or adjoining sites, a playground, five central washhouses with hot showers and a sanitary dump station. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. Campsites B, 1, 2, 3 and F21 are ADA accessible. All sites in C and F loops are designated for pet camping.

Camping: rustic sites

Sioux Rustic campground is open year-round, water and pit-latrines are available. Access is not guaranteed during severe winter storms.

Free Camping for Campground Hosts: one host positions

The modern campground host site has amenities that include 20, 30 or 50-amp electric service. The host is required to assist park personnel perform daily campground duties and provide information to campers Fridays through Mondays and holidays/special events. There is a three-week minimum stay requirement and a six-week maximum limit. Contact the park office for additional information or availability.

Backpacking: 19.5 miles

There are five Adirondack shelters and tenting sites in each of the Pioneer and Sioux backpacking areas. These shelter and tent sites are for backpacking only and can be reserved through the park office or online. Explore trails for complete trail descriptions.

Modern Cabins:

The ten modern cabins contain a furnished living area, kitchen/dining area, toilet/shower room and two or three-bedrooms. The cabins have electric heat and are available for rent year-round. Cabin 10 is ADA accessible. Cabin users must bring their own cooking and eating utensils and bed and bath linens. Pets are prohibited in the cabins.

Lakeside Lodge:

This three-bedroom cottage that sleeps ten people. The lodge can be rented by the week during the summer season and with a two-night minimum during the off-season. The lodge has a full kitchen, dining room, one and one-half bathrooms, living room with a fireplace, laundry facilities, and central heat and air conditioning. It also has a large patio area with an outdoor gas grill. Renters must bring their own linens. Pets are prohibited in the lodge. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the park.

Items the renters need to bring with them are bed linens, pillows, blankets, towels, dish soap, laundry detergent and first aid kit. Optional items to consider bringing are a bow saw, matches, lawn chairs, cell phone, TV w/antenna, and radio.

Organized Group Tenting:

There are two main rustic group tenting areas in the western side of the park. The Sioux group tenting area is divided into two sites: area A, 20 people; area B, 60 people. The more remote Pioneer group tenting area is divided into four sites: Apache, 60 people; Blackfeet, 20 people; Cherokee; 60 people; Mohawk, 40 people. Potable water and vault latrines or portable restrooms are available. Access is not guaranteed during severe winter storms.

Organized Group Cabin Camps:

These three camps are rented from mid-April to mid-October at a nominal fee to nonprofit, organized adult and youth groups like scout, YMCA, school, church or other organizations. The camps contain rustic lodges, dining halls, cabins and utility buildings. Camp #1 holds 30 campers. Camp #2 holds 130 campers. Camp #3 holds 80 campers. Reservations are made at the park office for long or short rental periods.

Winter Activities

Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.

There are various wintertime special events. Spectacular ice formations may be seen at the Frankfort Mineral Springs in the winter.

Cross-country Skiing:

Most trails are open to cross-country skiing, however it is recommended to avoid trails rated ‘difficult.’ A designated 2.2-mile cross-country skiing trail can be accessed from its trailhead in the Pavilion Area.

Ice Fishing:

Ice fishing is permitted on the 101-acre Raccoon Lake as conditions permit.

Ice Skating:

Ice skating is permitted on the 101-acre Raccoon Lake as conditions permit.

Snowmobiling:

Snowmobiling is permitted on four miles of Nichol and Pioneer Camp roads, conditions permitting. Parking is available in a lot off PA 168 and Nichol Road. Please use caution because these roads are also open to hunters with disabilities.

Environmental Education and Interpretation

The park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources.

Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Teacher workshops are available. Group programs must be arranged in advance and may be scheduled by calling the Wildflower Reserve Interpretive Center. The Wildflower Reserve Interpretive Center has exhibits and brochures on natural history and historic areas of the park Programs are offered year-round.

Wildlife Watching

Many opportunities exist at Raccoon Creek State Park to see a variety of wildlife. When observing wildlife, remember to maintain a safe distance and never feed wild animals. For birders, the Audubon Trail in the Wildflower Reserve is great for warblers. Waterfowl are abundant around Raccoon Lake and Wetland Trail. In winter, it is common to see large flocks of turkeys near the campground and roadside picnic areas. Deer and raccoon are common throughout the park. Most of the larger stream valleys have active beaver, muskrat and mink. In the more remote western side of the park you may encounter the elusive red fox, skunk and opossum.

Raccoon Creek State Park Wildflower Reserve

The 314-acre Wildflower Reserve contains one of the most diverse stands of wildflowers in western Pennsylvania. Over 700 species of plants have been identified in the Reserve.

Trails lead through a variety of habitats like, oak-hickory forest, pine plantations, woodland meadows and flood plain forest along Raccoon Creek. Peak wildflower blooms occur in late April and August.

Because of its uniqueness and to preserve the many wildflower species, the Reserve is closed to all activities other than hiking on designated trails. Pets are prohibited in the Reserve.

Detailed trail information can be found in the Wildflower Reserve Trail Map, available at the Wildflower Reserve Interpretive Center and the park office. The Wildflower Reserve is open 8 a.m. to sunset.

History

In the 1930s, the National Park Service created the Raccoon Creek National Recreation Demonstration Area. Men from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built the recreation facilities of the park and did conservation work on park lands.

In 1945, the planned transfer of land finally took place, creating Raccoon Creek State Park. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania continued to develop facilities, including Raccoon Creek Lake in 1948, swimming and picnicking areas in 1950, a campground in 1956 and a cabin colony in the 1980s.

Historic Areas

Frankfort Mineral Springs is south of the park office. This once famous resort complex of the late 1800s attracted visitors who believed in the healing qualities of the mineral water. The springs can be viewed by hiking the short Mineral Springs Trail from the parking lot on PA 18.

King's Creek Cemetery, on the park's southwestern boundary off of PA 168, is the final resting-place of many of the first settlers of the area.

Contact

3000 State Route 18, Hookstown, PA 15050-1605

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