“More than 30 Miles of Trails!”
Once an industrial complex for the fledgling United State of America, today French Creek State Park is an oasis for people and wildlife. Straddling the Schuylkill Highlands, the 7,730-acre park is the largest block of contiguous forest between Washington D.C. and New York City. The forests, lakes, wetlands and fields are a destination for the people of southeast Pennsylvania to hike, fish, camp and bike. Those same habitats are homes to many animals and plants that are rare in this corner of the commonwealth. French Creek State Park is an Important Bird Area and Important Mammal Area as designated by the National Audubon Society and also has Pine Swamp, a State Park Natural Area. More than 35 miles of well-marked trails cover a large portion of the park’s 7,730 acres. Hikers at French Creek have a wide variety of opportunities for quiet reflection, nature study and physical challenge. Trailhead parking is located in many convenient areas. The forest covering the park has changed since Hopewell Furnace began operation, producing iron for a young America from 1771 to 1883. It required tremendous amounts of charcoal to fuel the large blast furnace. Woodcutters chopped wood from the forest and colliers burned it in “hearths” throughout the wooded hills surrounding the furnace to produce charcoal. To sustain the furnace operations, the entire area now contained in French Creek State Park was timbered repeatedly to make charcoal. The original forest of predominately American chestnut was cleared and eventually mixed oak forests developed after the furnace closed in 1883. It is hard to imagine that the thickly wooded hillsides enjoyed by today’s visitors were once barren and treeless. The forest of French Creek State Park played a vital role in America’s industrial infancy. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Federal government purchased much of the land used for charcoal production as part of a national project to reclaim marginal lands. This project provided jobs and improved local economies by developing recreation sites called recreation demonstration areas. Two Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps were built at French Creek and operated until the early 1940s. The camps built two dams, two group camps, several tent camping areas, beaches, roads, picnic areas, and started the restoration process for the historic core of Hopewell Furnace
Beautiful secluded camp ground. Woodsy but well kept. Clean facilities. Reserve online! Would love to stay again. Tent spaces on the D loop were nicely surrounded by brush providing privacy. Amazing symphony from the night insects!
Good campground for beginners. Nice hiking, birding, boating, biking and fishing opportunities. That said, avoid the pool at all costs. Overcrowded, filthy, and attracts an unruly crowd. Boating can get rowdy over the summer. Still, it is a very enjoyable park during the off-peak season.
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French Creek State Park
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