What to do in Lehigh Gorge State Park

Settlement was sparse during the 19th century until loggers arrived and began felling trees and building saw mills. Famed naturalist and painter John James Audubon visited the area in 1829 and spent six weeks painting birds. He was distressed at how quickly trees were cut and shipped down river. The industrial revolution was just beginning in the area.

In the 1970's the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania began purchasing parklands and in 1980 the land was turned over to the Bureau of State Parks. Today the park is a favorite spot for outdoor recreation enthusiasts that enjoy mountain biking, fishing, viewing wildlife and whitewater boating. The park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Most of Lehigh Gorge State Park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, bear and small game.

Settlement was sparse during the 19th century until loggers arrived and began felling trees and building saw mills. Famed naturalist and painter John James Audubon visited the area in 1829 and spent six weeks painting birds. He was distressed at how quickly trees were cut and shipped down river. The industrial revolution was just beginning in the area.

Between 1835 and 1838 a series of dams, locks and canals were constructed to haul coal downriver. At the turn of the 20th century, railroads popularized the southern end of the canal as a resort called Glen Onoko. Hotel Wahnetah boasted 47 rooms, a dance pavilion, tennis courts, fresh air and hikes to the scenic Glen Onoko Falls. In 1911, a fire closed the hotel and another fire in 1917 ended the resort era.

In the 1970's the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania began purchasing parklands and in 1980 the land was turned over to the Bureau of State Parks.

Recreation
Today the park is a favorite spot for outdoor recreation enthusiasts that enjoy mountain biking, fishing, viewing wildlife and whitewater boating.

Lehigh Gorge State 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 Hickory Run park office at 570-443-0400.

Most of Lehigh Gorge State Park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, bear and small game. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for accessible hunting information. The park also provides access to state game lands 40, 141 and 149, which adjoin the park.

Location
The park has three access points: White Haven is the northern access area and can be reached off of Exit 40 of Interstate 80. Follow Route 940 East to the Thriftway store. Go through the Thriftway parking lot and bear left to the state park access area.

Rockport is the central area and the location of the park ranger station. It can be reached from the south by following 209 South from Jim Thorpe to Route 93 North, continuing to S.R. 2055 (Lehigh Gorge Drive), through Weatherly to the small village of Rockport at S.R. 4014. Rockport is accessible from the north by following U.S. Route 940 West from Exit 40 off of Interstate 80, left onto S.R. 2055 (Lehigh Gorge Drive) continuing south to the small village of Rockport at S.R. 4014.

Glen Onoko is the southern access area and may be reached by taking Exit 34 of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Follow U.S. Route 209 South to Jim Thorpe. Then take Route 903 North across the river to Coalport Road. Turn off of Coalport to Glen Onoko.

Climate
Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Lehigh Gorge State Park area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging around 24 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 to -2 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range around 72 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 23 Celsius).

Address
c/o Hickory Run State Park
RR # 1, Box 81
White Haven, PA 18661

Phone: 570-443-0400


Email: hickoryrun@dcnr.state.pa.us
  • Lehigh Gorge State Park Travel Q&A

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