What to do in Tobyhanna State Park

Tobyhanna State Park is located in northeastern Pennsylvania just minutes away from Gouldsboro State Park. The park offers 5,440 acres of recreation land with a 170-acre lake available for fishing, swimming and boating. The topography of both parks is one of broad, flat, swampy areas intermixed with low hills covered with a northern hardwood forest. Common tree species are beech, birch and maple.

Tobyhanna State Park is named for Tobyhanna Creek which flows into Tobyhanna Lake. Tobyhanna is derived from a Native American word meaning "a stream whose banks are fringed with algae."

The park is a recreation haven for outdoor enthusiasts offering a swimming beach, boat launching site, water supply, sanitary facilities, family campground, group camping, picnic area, fishing and a network of trails. A summer concession offers rowboats, canoes and sailboats rentals. The park also provides designated areas for hunting, trapping and the training of dogs. Common game species at the park include white-tailed deer, black bear, snowshoe hares, squirrels and turkey. Furbearers include beavers, muskrats, mink, foxes, coyotes and raccoons.

Parking spaces in Parking Area 3 and Area 1, nearby picnic tables and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. A fishing pier with paved access ramp is available from the parking sites in Area 1.

Tobyhanna State Park is located in northeastern Pennsylvania just minutes away from Gouldsboro State Park. The park offers 5,440 acres of recreation land with a 170-acre lake available for fishing, swimming and boating. The topography of both parks is one of broad, flat, swampy areas intermixed with low hills covered with a northern hardwood forest. Common tree species are beech, birch and maple. The woodland area offers an inviting habitat for white-tailed deer, black bear, snowshoe hares, squirrels, wild turkey, beaver, fox and raccoons.

Tobyhanna State Park is named for Tobyhanna Creek that flows into Tobyhanna Lake. Tobyhanna is derived from a Native American word meaning "a stream whose banks are fringed with alder".

From about 1900 to 1936, Tobyhanna and Gouldsboro lakes were sites of active ice industries. The ice was cut from the lake during the winter and stored in large barn-like structures. During the rest of the year it was added to railroad boxcars hauling fresh produce and meats destined for east coast cities. Boxcar loads of ice were also shipped to the cities for use in iceboxes. During the summer when the usage of ice was at a peak, up to 150 boxcar loads per day were shipped out of the Tobyhanna, Gouldsboro and Klondike (near Gouldsboro) plants. Some ice was shipped as far south as Florida for use in hospitals.

In 1949, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania acquired approximately 26,000 acres of the Tobyhanna Military Reservation. The history of this area is quite interesting. From the time that the federal government acquired the property in 1912, it served many functions. In World War I (1914-1918), the reservation was used by the regular Army, the National Guard as an Artillery Training Center and as a Tank and Ambulance Corps Training Center. From 1918 to 1931, it was used for Artillery Training.

CAUTION: PLEASE READ - Visitors using more remote and undeveloped areas of the park should be aware that they could encounter old unexploded artillery shells. Two types of shells were used and have been found in the park. The larger projectile is 18 to 24 inches in length and about 6 inches in diameter while the smaller is 2 1/2 inches in diameter and from 10 to 14 inches in length. Both are found in severely rusted condition without any recognizable markings or imprints. Their overall appearance is that of a pointed cylinder of rusted steel. Persons encountering such items should not touch, attempt to move or otherwise disturb the items, and should call the park office and report the location to insure proper disposal.

During the early 1930's, the reservation was used to house Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees and, from 1937 to 1941, it served as an Artillery Training Center for West Point Cadets. During World War II, it housed German prisoners-of-war and, from 1946 to 1948 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers utilized the reservation. In 1948, the War Assets Administration assumed control of the property and, in April, 1949, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania received title to most of the area from the Federal government, with the remaining area being operated as the Tobyhanna Army Depot. Of the land acquired, about two-thirds of the area was made into State Game Lands No. 127, and the remaining one-third was used to create both Gouldsboro and Tobyhanna State Parks.

With the completion of parking areas, swimming beach, boat rental and boat launching site, water supply and sanitary facilities, Tobyhanna State Park was opened to the public in 1949. The family camping area was added in 1959.

Recreation
Tobyhanna State Park is a recreation haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The area offers a beautiful clean fishing lake where only non-powered and electric motors are permitted. People fish year-round at the lake catching warm water species. There is family camping and group camping in second growth forests. Swimming is offered during the warmer months, while picnickers use the tables year-round. Many people find the winter sports attractive at Tobyhanna. A diverse terrain over 13 miles of paths attracts hikers and mountain bikers.

During the summer season, Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, a watercraft rental concession is open daily. The concession offers rowboats, canoes and sailboats that can be rented on an hourly, half-day or full-day basis.

Designated areas of Tobyhanna State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs. With the exception of: 1) hunting of woodchucks also known as groundhogs is prohibited and 2) dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations are in effect for all activities in the park.

Common game species found in Tobyhanna State Park include whitetail deer, black bear, snowshoe hares, squirrels and turkey. Furbearers include beavers, muskrats, mink, foxes, coyotes and raccoons.

Parking spaces in Parking Area 3 and Area 1, nearby picnic tables and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. A fishing pier with paved access ramp is available from the parking sites in Area 1.

Location
Tobyhanna State Park is located in Monroe and Wayne counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. The park entrance is located 2.1 miles north of the community of Tobyhanna on SR 423. SR 423 intersects with Interstate 380, 2.5 miles south of the park entrance. The park is also accessible from Interstate 84 via SR 507, 191 and 423, a total distance of 11.4 miles.

Climate
Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Tobyhanna 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
P.O. Box 387
Tobyhanna, PA 18466-0387

Phone: 570-894-8336

Email: tobyhanna@dcnr.state.pa.us
  • Tobyhanna State Park Travel Q&A

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