sinnemahoning state park landscape
Adventures Pennsylvania RVing

Trip Report: Sinnemahoning State Park in Pennsylvania

on
July 17, 2019
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Sinnemahoning State Park is deep in the Pennsylvania Wilds region, complete with a creek winding through it, a reservoir at one end of the park and a new LEED-certified Wildlife Center at the other.

 

History & Location

Sinnemahoning State Park is located in north-central Pennsylvania with acreage in both Potter and Cameron counties.

The area was mostly stripped by the logging industry during the 1800s. Once the resources had been plundered, most people moved on until the DCNR obtained the land and began to repair the damage done.

About 20 years after the hard work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the park eventually opened in 1958, and now includes the George B. Stevenson Dam and reservoir.

The Sinnemahoning Creek (and lots of smaller streams flowing into it) winds through the park, ending in this large reservoir- perfect for fishing or kayaking.

At the other end of the park, the Wildlife Center has several wildlife & historical displays, plus an indoor deck to look out over the valley.

As an added bonus, if you are there on a Sunday, you can take a guided pontoon boat ride around the reservoir.  

Campground

The Sinnemahoning State Park campground is relatively small compared to those we’ve visited recently and is very remote. We had a hard time finding it on our way in- although, admittedly, we arrived in the dark.

There are 35 sites – 14 are pet-friendly and all but 2 have electric. 

We had site #20, a level site with decent campground views and a reasonable walk to the bathrooms and shower house.

#23 also looked good to me because it has some spare space and is next to the Red Spruce Trail head.  

If I didn’t have pets, I’d probably go for #14 or #15, which are tucked in the forest a little more.

You can see the entire Sinnemahoning State Park campground map here. 

The shower house was quite clean, but is also quite small- there is only one shower stall in each side (male/female). 

AND, as I am finding more & more this year, the showers are on a timer button.

EW, but OK, they were at least very clean- and this shower was also very hot. Take the good with the womp-womp!

PRO TIP for the Campground

The campground is really well-hidden in the park in the dark. Do your best to arrive while it is still light outside to avoid having to dodge the abundant wildlife- deer, elk, bear, raccoon, opossum, rabbit- on the narrow road & to be able to easily spot the campground!

Trails & Wildlife

Sinnemahoning State Park has about five miles of relatively flat hiking, some through cut field paths in the open sun (take water!). 

We hit up the Red Spruce Trail out of the campground to see the 40 Maples area.

We stopped at the Wetlands Viewing Area along the way, but didn’t spot anything from the overlook. 

sinnemahoning state park wetlands viewing area

HOWEVER, after not seeing many interesting fungi this summer, Red Spruce Trail totally delivered!  

Visit our Instagram feed to see my novice ID skills on display.

Of course, I was using my trusty Mushrooms of Northeast North America guide.

After the wetlands & the ‘shrooms, we arrived at the 40 Maples area along the stream.

Area resident Chauncey Logue was around when the region was pretty much plundered by the timber industry. He actually planted 48 trees, but for some reason it’s still called 40 Maples.  

40 maples at sinnemahoning park

I took the opportunity to hug a few, while Russ & Franklin stood on what appeared to be  a recently-removed 40 (48?) Maple.

40 maples hug at sinnemahoning state park
sinnemahoning state park 40 maples tree missing

The dogs enjoyed taking a dip in Sinnemahoning Creek, which was cold & shallow & not rough enough to whisk Hazel away. 

We then made our way along the road and to the Lowlands Trail. 

Huge mistake in the hot, open sun!

Unlike the shady, cool Red Spruce Trail, the Lowlands Trail is cut from an open field with very little cover.

The reservoir was much further than we anticipated, but we got there in one piece and tried to find the eagle’s nest that is supposedly across from the boat launch. 

We weren’t successful, but we did see a blue heron. 

We trekked back along more of the Lowlands Trail until it met Red Spruce again so we could retreat to a little more shady hiking. 

We were able to take a few clean landscape shots on Lowlands Trail.

lowlands trail landscape at sinnemahoning state park 1
lowlands trail landscape at sinnemahoning state park 2

We heard there were lots of bear spotted in the park & campground, but unfortunately for me/fortunately for Russ, we didn’t run into any! 

Aside from the deer & elk we nearly hit on our drive in & the blue heron at the boat launch, we didn’t see any other wildlife.

On Sunday morning on our way out of the campground, I made a quick stop to see the Wildlife Center, which was worth it! It has a few interesting displays plus an indoor wildlife viewing deck over the valley.

sinnemahoning state park wildlife center entrance
sinnemahoning state park wildlife center displays
sinnemahoning state park interior viewing deck

 

SIDE TRIP & PIT STOP: ZILCH! 

I wish we had more to share here about places to stop in the area (you can certainly hit up the Austin Dam if you haven’t been yet), but after our brake debaucle last week with Axl Roads, he wasn’t feeling so great this week, either. 

Our ALT light began blinking as we pulled into the campground, so we were afraid to make any stops on the way home for fear we were draining the batteries and would end up stranded in the Wilds for the summer. 

Stay tuned for more Costs of Older RV Updates posts, sigh, because it seems NOW Axl needs a new alternator & ground fault wire system. 

 

THE LAST WORD

Sinnemahoning State Park is the perfect size for a peaceful, remote, flat-hiking kind of RV weekend in the Pennsylvania Wilds.

How have our state park visits fared so far? See the roundup here.
What modifications have we already made to our older RV, Axl Roads? Read all about them.
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