What to do in Little Buffalo State Park

Little is known of the original inhabitants of the land that became Little Buffalo State Park. It was occupied by American Indians for short periods of time as they migrated away from the increasing colonial population.

Farming continued as the main use for the land until the 1960's. During the late 1960's the state legislature and Secretary Maurice K. Goddard of the Department of Forest and Waters, instituted a goal of providing a state park within 25 miles of every citizen in Pennsylvania. To raise money to reach this goal, there were two voter-approved state bond issues. At Little Buffalo State Park, money from Project 70 purchased the land and the park facilities were constructed with Project 500 funds. The park officially opened on June 11, 1972. Recreation opportunities abound at Little Buffalo State Park. There are two picnic areas offering swimming, trails, first-aid station, playfields, playgrounds and horseshoe pits. Fishing is offered on the 88-acre Homan Lake. The park offers a variety of winter sports and features four historical attractions: Shoaff's Mill, Clay's Covered Bridge, The Blue Ball Tavern and Newport & Sherman's Valley Railroad.

Four special events are held each year at the park: Little Buffalo Festival of Arts (third weekend in September), Old Fashion Cider Squeeze (third weekend in October), Halloween Night (Saturday before Halloween) and Christmas Walk (December 17 - 23, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.).

Little Buffalo State Park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Approximately 300 acres of Little Buffalo State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, ruffed grouse, rabbit, pheasant and squirrel.

It is unknown why the stream is called the Little Buffalo Creek or the adjacent ridge is called Buffalo Ridge, but local tradition holds that buffalo inhabited the area.

Little is known of the original inhabitants of the land that became Little Buffalo State Park. It was occupied by American Indians for short periods of time as they migrated away from the increasing colonial population.

John Koch opened the Blue Ball Tavern in 1811 along the Carlisle Pike, the main road between Carlisle and Sunbury, currently called the New Bloomfield Road. In 1808, David Watters of Carlisle built a charcoal burning iron furnace. About 1840, a water powered gristmill was built which served the neighboring community. Shoaff's Mill operated until 1940.

Farming continued as the main use for the land until the 1960's. During the late 1960's the state legislature and Secretary Maurice K. Goddard of the Department of Forest and Waters, instituted a goal of providing a state park within 25 miles of every citizen in Pennsylvania. To raise money to reach this goal, there were two voter-approved state bond issues. At Little Buffalo State Park, money from Project 70 purchased the land and the park facilities were constructed with Project 500 funds. The park officially opened on June 11, 1972.

Recreation
Recreation opportunities abound at Little Buffalo State Park. There are two picnic areas offering swimming, trails, first-aid station, playfields, playgrounds, horseshoe pits and more.

Governed by the American Volksport Association and the International Federation of Popular Sports, Volksmarchers earn awards for hiking. Little Buffalo State Park has a Volksmarcht Year Round Walk. White arrows point out the 10K (6.2 miles) walk on Mill Race, Fisherman's, Buffalo Ridge, Little Buffalo Creek, Middle Ridge, Little Buffalo State Park Road and Exercise trails. For official information contact the park office.

Fishing is offered on the 88 acre Homan Lake. Electric and non-powered boats are permitted. A boat rental is offered during the summer months.

The park offers a variety of winter sports and features four historical attractions: Shoaff's Mill, Clay's Covered Bridge, The Blue Ball Tavern and Newport & Sherman's Valley Railroad.

Four special events are held each year at the park: Little Buffalo Festival of Arts (third weekend in September), Old Fashion Cider Squeeze (third weekend in October), Halloween Night (Saturday before Halloween) and Christmas Walk (December 17 - 23, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.).

Little Buffalo State Park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and campfire 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.

An accessible fishing pier is located at the main boat launch. There is a paved trail from the swimming pool to the boat rental. Blue Ball Trail is paved and accessible in the East Picnic Area.

Approximately 300 acres of Little Buffalo State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, grouse, rabbit, pheasant and squirrel. 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.

Location
From PA Route 322, take the Newport Exit and follow PA Route 34 South through the town of Newport. One mile from town turn right onto Little Buffalo State Park Road to the park. From PA Route 322 to the park entrance is 4.6 miles.

Climate
Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Little Buffalo 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 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 Celsius).

Address
R.R. 2 Box 256A
Newport,, PA 17074-9428

Phone: 717-567-9255

Email: littlebuff@dcnr.state.pa.us
  • Little Buffalo State Park Travel Q&A

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