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.
My brother and I took our kids here a few years ago for tent camping in August. The campground wasn’t very crowded and the sites were a decent size, we easily put two tents on our site. The bathhouse we used was a bit lacking and not really big enough for the amount of people it needed to handle. Lots to do in the area if you do your research.
My husband and I have camped at Hickory Run twice now. Once before we had our daughter and once when our daughter was 7. Both times we had our dog with us. We enjoyed our stay. The other campers were quiet and considerate. The bathhouse was in a good condition. Our only complaint was that some of the dumpsters were full so we had to locate one that wasn't. As with any camping experience, check the layout of the campsite before booking to make sure the layout will accommodate your equipment.
Love this state park. The dog area is very nice.
I reserved site 364 which is a non electric site. Perfect for my solo camping trip. It has a lantern post, picnic table and fire pit with grate. I found the trees to either be too close together to hang a hammock or the trunks too wide for my hammock rope. You can also see the RV loop from this site as well which circled a large open field.
PROS - Close to camp store (biking distance), pit toilets and main office. This site also backs up to no other sites so behind you is just trees, deer and squirrel
CONS - These sites are literally on top of each other (at least this loop was). I was luck I was literally the only one camping in this loop. This site is also not close to hiking trails so you will need to drive out to go hiking. There is also heavy vehicle traffic at this location and people stopping at the dumpster across the road constantly.
Would I return? Probably on a different loop. But for a first solo camping trip it was nice to see other campers in the distance.
Stayed two nights in this park on our way from NC to Maine. We were happy to find a nice wooded site and had a quiet, refreshing stay. An easy rewarding walk is the "Shades of Death" trail - gotta love the name. Also worth an exploratory trip is their mammoth boulder field and learning about the last Ice Age.
nice and clean and lots of trails. we were warned to be cautious about leaving food out as there have been some bear sightings. Not much of a playground. All in all a pretty Park.
Bathrooms are undersized and not cleaned regularly, but otherwise, gorgeous trees campground with hiking and bike trial nearby. Electric hookup only in some sites. Crowded on summer weekends but not unbearable. Hike to the falls, see the boulder filed and bring bikes! Lehigh gorge rails to trails is a short drive.
I love everything the campground and state park has to offer. Bolder field is a great way to spend the day, and the campground has a great price for the sites. Showers and bathrooms are close by to the basic tent campgrounds, and the sites are large and easy to set up.
We camped here twice and enjoyed the peacefulness and cleanliness of the campground. A definite added bonus was the Boulder field which is a short drive, or long hike if you prefer, from the campground. Our whole family also enjoyed riding our bikes around the campground.
There are different levels of campsites. We love the "modern tent only", where we had the peaceful woods for company.