Northeast Backcountry Ski Getaways

Promised Land State Park, Pennsylvania
  |  Gorp.com

Farther south, planning ski trips gets a little trickier. Instead of tossing a few snowballs, the weather might throw a curve ball in the form of 55-degree temperatures.

"To find snow, go a little higher." That's the advice of Roger Homeyer, who leads trips in the Delaware Valley. "Here in the Poconos, it's usually a good 10 degrees colder than in neighboring Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. So we tend to have more reliable snow," says Homeyer. His favorite destination? Promised Land State Park, which offers a large network of well-marked trails on 3,000 acres of gentle terrain.

"It's a beginner-friendly area," says Homeyer. "There's nothing terribly steep, just a few short ups and downs to add some interest. Mostly, the trail weaves in and out of forests on old logging roads. It's a very beautiful park."

The park is mostly wooded with beech, birch, maple, and hemlock interspersed with a few shady pine groves and backcountry lakes. In summer, the lakes are favorites of fishermen. In winter, they're sheets of ice. "When it is cold enough you can even ski across the lakes," Homeyer says.

Location: The parking area is located on PA Route 390, about five miles south of I-84.
Contact: Promised Land State Park, R.D. #1, Box 96, Greentown, PA 18426, (570) 676-3428.
Maps: Available at the park office, open year-round.

The only disadvantage is that on a crisp sunny weekend, it might seem that everybody is flocking to Promised Land. Homeyer recommends an early start, because by afternoon, the trails can be a little worn, especially if the snow cover is light. But popularity has its advantages — in this case, the recent opening and marking of new ski trails. A hint: If you want to avoid the crowds, stay away from popular Bruce Lake. Or try nearby Brady's Lake State Game Lands near Blakesley, which features a trail system developed by local telemarkers.


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 4 Dec 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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