Pennsylvania Parks: A Day at Big Pocono State Park

What better way to end a day out with one of your closest friends, than to spend it taking in one of the best views of the Poconos from the Big Pocono State Park?

During the summer, you know, that season that occurred a few short months ago (I am very behind, I realize this. Moving on…), my friend Jody and I decided to go to the one of the nearest Pennsylvania state parks, Big Pocono State Park. I have hiked up to the peak of this particular park when I was young and I took Adam there in the fall, but this was my friend’s first time there. It really was a beautiful, clear, allergy filled visit! pennsyvlania-state-parks-big-pocono

Big Poconos State Park is a 1,306 acre Pennsylvania state park that has 8.5 miles of hiking trails, some of which you can go horseback riding and mountain biking on.  It is also jointly maintained by Camelback Ski Corp. and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  Camelback Ski Corp uses the mountain for its skiing and snowboarding slopes, as well as for their resort. During the summer you can ride the ski lifts up to the top from Camelbeach, their water park.

This Pennsylvania state park, towards turn of the 20th century, was initially owned by Henry S. Cattell. Due to his love of the view from the peak, he had a stone cabin built at the summit in 1908 for others who enjoyed the views. The cabin remained unlocked for some time in case individuals needed to take refuge there.

The Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry has erected and used the Big Pocono Fire Tower on top of the summit as a way to detect forest fires since 1921. Unfortunately, you are not legally allowed to climb to the top of the tower. Twelve years after Henry S. Cattell’s death, in 1928, the Pennsylvania Game Commission bought the land. In 1950, the north part of the mountain was leased to a company named Big Pocono Skiing, Inc., which later became Camelback Ski Corporation.
pocono-state-parks-big-pocono-state-parkWhile you are able to hike to the summit of Big Pocono State Park, we opted for their 1.4 mile paved roadway around the summit. This park at 2,100 feet, has some of the most expansive views, compared to some other Pocono parks. During the summer, particularly in mid-June, mountain laurel start to bloom. We were both fortunate and unfortunate to get to experience this at Big Pocono State Park. Que allergies.

In the picture below, you can actually see my high school and junior high campus in the middle from this particular Pennsylvania state park.



At the summit of this Pennsylvania state park, you get to see views of three states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey and on a clear day, New York. On the south side of the summit at Big Pocono State Park, you will see the Kittatinny Range of the Appalachian Trail:

On the north side of the summit at this Pocono park, you can see the Pocono Plateau, but you also have the possibility of seeing the Catskill Mountains. Unfortunately, while it was clear the day that we went, it was not clear enough to see the Catskills from Big Pocono State Park:
Have you been to Big Pocono State Park? What is your favorite state park in Pennsylvania or the Poconos?

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