About two weeks ago, I went on a camping trip with some friends at Hickory Run State Park, located on the Eastern side of Pennsylvania near the town of White Haven. We stayed in the group tenting area, which was about 2 miles from the park office.
On the first day, after we got the campsite set up, we ran the main road through the park (State Road 534) down to park office and back. The run was all downhill on the way to the park office, but the way back was over 500 feet elevation in 2 miles. It was a nice, scenic road with trees surrounding it and numerous trail offshoots on each side. We went on another run later in the evening around some of the gravel roads through the other campgrounds and a short portion on a trail.
On Saturday, we decided to make the 15 minute drive to the neighboring Lehigh Gorge State Park. Once there, we started our run to the Lehigh Gorge Trail. But on the way to the trail-head, we encountered a cave, which we had to go check out. After walking through the cave, we made our way back to the road and onto the Lehigh Gorge Trail.
We ran 8 miles on the Lehigh Gorge Trail (4 out & 4 back). On the way out, there was a very slight uphill grade. The trail itself was in fantastic shape. It was a firm, fast surface that consisted of compact gravel. The trail had really good footing and was devoid of any potholes or divots. On the one side of the trail were views of the Lehigh Valley River, while on the other side were views of the rocky, mountainous terrain and a beautiful waterfall. The trail had mile markers and benches along the way. There were some offshoot paths that travel deeper into the woods, if you’re looking for a dirt trail.
After the run, we went to a nearby stream with rushing water to take a natural ice bath. Shortly after the ice bath, we returned back to campsite and grilled some burgers. After lunch, we headed to the beach at Sand Spring Lake. The beach was quite large for a state park, but the sand was a bit rocky. Before playing some volleyball on the beach, we decided to play some disc golf. I’m not a huge disc golf fan, but this disc golf course was the best one I’ve ever played on. The course traveled through the forest, but was kept in such good shape that it would be almost impossible to lose a disc. It also had some unique features like a stonewall guarding one of the holes.
Later in the evening, we hiked the Fireline Trail in Hickory Run State Park to the Lehigh Valley Gorge Overlook. Once at the end of the trail, we took in sweeping views of the valley and surrounding mountains. This was my favorite part of the park.
On Sunday morning, we “ran” The Shades of Death Trail. This trail is very appropriately named. “Ran” is in quotations because we attempted to run it, but it was not really possible since some portions of the trail were so challenging and technical. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful trail that was very fun to explore.
After experiencing the Shades of Death, we checked out the Boulder Field, which is one of the main attractions in the park as it is a national landmark. The road on the way to the Boulder Field was a nice compact dirt road that would have been really great to run, but we didn’t get the chance. The Boulder Field was incredible because it is all natural. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Hickory Run State Park provides diverse running options. It has paved, dirt, and gravel roads. It has hilly and flat terrain. It has easy and highly technical trails. This park really has everything a runner could want. I highly recommend it not only for adventurous runners, but for people just looking for a weekend in the great outdoors.
Here’s some additional photos from the trip: