Are you daring enough to hike the Shades of Death Trail? This is just one of the hiking trails available to visitors at Hickory Run State Park. Not to worry though, the trail is not nearly as ominous as its name. Hickory Run was established as a state park in 1945 following a long and storied history of devastation and restoration. The first settlements in the area occurred following the American Revolution, when landowners began building mills on the local creeks. By the mid-1800s, the area was clearcut, then experienced several incidents of fire and flooding. In 1935 the area was purchased by the National Park Service (NPS) for use as a recreation area, and many of the roads, campgrounds and trails were developed. Ten years later, the NPS transferred the land to the state of Pennsylvania for use as a state park. Just 30 miles south of Scranton, Hickory Run State Park is a 16,000-acre natural area in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains. The area features numerous trout streams, boulder fields, wetlands and restored forests. The area is also home to a variety of wildlife, from birds to black bears. The park’s large campground features more than 300 tent, trailer and RV sites, as well as a few walk-in sites and camping cottages. Some campsites are ADA accessible. Park facilities include restrooms with showers, drinking water, two playgrounds, amphitheater, fishing pier, dog-walking area, and a camp store. There’s also recycling and dump stations. The Shades of Death and Beach trails are accessible right from the campground. Campsite rates range from $15–$40/night; cabins and cottages range from $38–$105/night. There is no shortage of outdoor play to be enjoyed on your visit to Hickory Run. On warm days, cool off with a dip in Sand Spring Lake, or go wading below Hawk Falls; cast a line for brook and brown trout in Hickory Run or Mud Run; or test your precision at the park’s disc golf course. There are also several geocaches hidden in the park if you’re up for a little treasure hunting. If you’re packing hiking boots, you have 44 miles of trails to wander. Choose from short, family-friendly nature and wildlife-watching trails, to the more strenuous Boulder Field Trail, which traverses a 16.5-acre field of sandstone boulders that predate several of North America’s ice ages. In winter, many of the park’s trails are open for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.