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Sproul State Forest



Bucktail State Park- Hemmed in by mountains, this state park scenic drive follows PA Route 120 as it winds from Lock Haven to Emporium along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the Sinnemahoning Creek. The scenic drive has no recreational facilities. In June, the mountain laurel is in bloom and in early October the fall colors are breathtaking.
Kettle Creek State Park- Kettle Creek State Park consists of 1,793 acres along Kettle Creek in western Clinton County. The park is in a valley surrounded by mountainous terrain and wilderness. Many of the existing recreational facilities arose from a joint flood control project developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources.

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General Information

Description - Sproul State Forest is a physiographic region of rolling plateau which features steep narrow valleys. These valleys were caused by erosion, and the underlying rock structure is sandstone. This region of Pennsylvania contained ancient virgin forests before the arrival of immigrants from Europe.

The West Branch of the Susquehanna River bound the south side of the Sproul State Forest on three sides. Within this area there are about 450 square miles where there is no electricity, permanent homes, or commercial telephone service. For the Eastern United States, this is certainly a remote area. The Sproul State Forest offers excellent opportunities for low density, high adventure, outdoor recreation.

The Forest offers lovely views and features the State Flaming Foliage Festival in Renovo. This event is held during the second weekend in October each year.

Hunting in this region includes black bear, white-tailed deer, wild turkey and ruffed grouse. Coldwater fishing is a major attraction. There are over 400 miles of freestone coldwater streams on the Sproul State Forest. This total includes 12 streams where water quality and native trout populations as such that these streams are classified as Wilderness Trout Streams.

Two hiking trail systems designated as State Forest Trails are located within the Sproul State Forest, The Chuck Keiper Trail and The Donut Hole Trail. Maps of both trails are available from the district office in Renovo or the Bureau of Forestry Central Office in Harrisburg.

A 15-mile loop equestrian trail has a trailhead parking area at Kettle Creek State Park.
Horseback riding is permitted on all roads and trails except the Donut Hole Trail and Chuck Keiper Trail. Hall's Run watershed and Paddy's Run watershed are also closed to equestrian use. A map of the equestrian trail is available at the district office.

The Hiding Bear Ski Trail (cross-country) is located on Hyner Mountain. Vehicular trailhead parking is located on Ritchie Road and SR 44 near Reeder Hollow. The trail system is a series of loops which include some moderately steep terrain.

The West Branch of the Susquehanna River from Karthaus to Keating is a spectacular voyage by canoe. The river loops several times and the canyon is remote and beautiful.

All State Forest roads and old woods roads are open to mountain bikers. The only areas closed to bicyclists are the Chuck Keiper Trail and Donut Hole Trail. The most popular and scenic routes are SR 120 and SR 144. These two roads bisect the Sproul State Forest in all four cardinal directions.

The Hyner Mountain Snowmobile Trail is part of a complex of snowmobile trails in North Central Pennsylvania. This trail is groomed when snow conditions permit this activity.

The All Terrain Vehicle Management Area has been designated for All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) use during certain seasons of the year. All roads and trails outside the All Terrain Vehicle Area are closed to ATVs year-round.

A camping permit is required for overnight camping on the Sproul State Forest. Certain watersheds near exceptional value or high quality waters are closed to overnight camping near the streams. Camping permits can be obtained in advance by telephoning, stopping by or writing the district office.

Attractions - Sproul State Forest is a physiographic region of rolling plateau which features steep narrow valleys. These valleys were caused by erosion, and the underlying rock structure is sandstone. This region of Pennsylvania contained ancient virgin forests before the arrival of immigrants from Europe. These forests were cleared for various forest products including, lumber, bark, tannin for leather, chemical wood and paper pulp. These forests were then abandoned and huge wildfires burned most of the cut over forest. Also, accelerated erosion and sedimentation caused degradation of watersheds and streams.

The south side of the Sproul State Forest is bounded by the West Branch of the Susquehanna River on three sides. Within this area there are about 450 square miles where there is no electricity, permanent homes, or commercial telephone service. For the Eastern United States, this is certainly a remote area. The south side is bisected by SR 144 from Snow Shoe to Renovo. The north side of the Sproul State Forest is bounded on the south by the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and SR 44 on the north.

Recreation - The Sproul State Forest offers excellent opportunities for low density, high adventure, outdoor recreation. The Forest offers lovely views and features the State Flaming Foliage Festival in Renovo. This event is held during the second weekend in October each year.

Hunting in this region offers a diversified forest habitat. The rugged forested slopes are home to Pennsylvania big game including black bear, white-tailed deer and wild turkey. The state bird, the ruffed grouse, is abundant. All State Forest land is open for public hunting. Some roads, trails, utility rights-of-ways and special use areas are closed to vehicular traffic. All of the Sproul State Forest is accessible on foot.

Cold water fishing is a major attraction. The rugged freestone streams flowing through forested watersheds within the Sproul State Forest contain exceptional value and high quality water. There are over 400 miles of freestone cold water streams on the Sproul State Forest. This total includes 12 streams where water quality and native trout populations as such that these streams are classified as Wilderness Trout Streams.

Two hiking trail systems designated as State Forest Trails are located within the Sproul State Forest. These hiking trails can be used for day hikes or extended backpack hiking.

The Chuck Keiper Trail is located on the south side of the Sproul State Forest. Vehicular trail head parking is found along SR 144 and where the trail crosses various State Forest roads. The Chuck Keiper trail is a double looped system with each loop being about 25 miles long. The system traverses parts of the Burns Run Wild Area and the Fish Dam Wild Area. The trail is marked with rectangular orange paint blazes. The system utilizes Civil Conservation Corps built fire trails, old woods roads, and remnants of logging railroad grades. The trail system is certainly not overused and offers the hiker an exciting Backcountry hike.

The Donut Hole Trail is located on the north side of the Sproul State Forest. This system has end points at Farrandsville on the east and Sinnemahoning on the West. The Donut Hole Trail exceeds 100 miles in length. It connects with the Susquehannock Trail to the north and the Bucktail Path and Quehanna Trail to the west. The Donut Hole Trail passes through Hyner Run State Park and Kettle Creek State Park. There are several spectacular views of the Susquehanna River Valley from the trail which traverses parts of the Bucktail State Park Natural Area.
The trail is marked with rectangular orange paint blazes and utilizes Civilian Conservation Corps fire trails, old woods roads and old railroad grade remnants and goes by the first purchase monument in Young Womans Creek. Vehicular trail head access is from the Farrandsville Road, Hyner Mountain Road, and SR 120 near Sinnemahoning. There is also vehicular trail head access at Hyner Run State park and Kettle Creek State Park.

Maps of both trails are available from the district office in Renovo or the Bureau of Forestry Central Office in Harrisburg.

The designated equestrian trail has a trailhead parking area at Kettle Creek State Park. The designated trail is a 15-mile loop marked at turns with brown fiberglass posts.

Horseback riding is permitted on all roads and trails except the Donut Hole Trail and Chuck Keiper Trail. Hall's Run watershed and Paddy's Run watershed are also closed to equestrian use. A map of the equestrian trail is available at the district office.

The Hiding Bear Ski Trail (cross-country) is located on Hyner Mountain. Vehicular trailhead parking is located on Ritchie Road and SR 44 near Reeder Hollow. The trail system is a series of loops which include some moderately steep terrain. The trail system is marked with rectangular blue paint blazes. A map of the trail is available at the district office.

The West Branch of the Susquehanna River from Karthaus to Keating is a spectacular voyage by canoe. The river loops several times and the canyon is remote and beautiful. Some of the feeder streams are marked by name where the stream enters the river. This helps to orient paddlers.
The Sproul State Forest maintains a canoe access area south of the Karthaus bridge on SR 879. There is a designated canoe access at the Flaming Foliage grounds along SR 120 in Renovo. Additional canoe access areas are found at North Bend, Hyner and Lock Haven. There are several canoe rental businesses which also feature vehicle shuttles.

All State Forest Roads and old woods roads are open to mountain bikers. Because of the surface conditions of most of the State Forest and old woods roads, mountain bicycles should be utilized rather than touring bicycles. The only areas closed to bicyclists are the Chuck Keiper Trail and Donut Hole Trail. The most popular and scenic routes are SR 120 and SR 144. These two roads bisect the Sproul State Forest in all four cardinal directions.

The State Forest road system within the Sproul State Forest is over 300 miles in total length. About half of the roads are limestone surfaced and the rest native material. Scenic driving to view spring green up, mountain laurel blooming and autumn color is a favorite recreational pursuit. There is no winter maintenance on the State Forest Road system. The roads become dangerous for travel when the road surfaces become snow and ice covered. There are many vistas on the plateau which view the river valleys and on clear days the views are panoramic and awesome.

The Hyner Mountain Snowmobile Trail is part of a complex of snowmobile trails in North Central Pennsylvania. This trail is groomed when snow conditions permit this activity. A side trail in the system terminates at the famous Hyner View. Additionally many State Forest Roads are open for joint use of snowmobiles and licensed motorized vehicles. Trailhead vehicular parking is located on Ritchie Road and several locations of SR 44. There is a snowmobile hotline which can be used to obtain up to date information on trail conditions. Snow conditions permitting, the Hyner Mountain Trail is open from the end of antlerless deer season until April 1 each year. All snowmobiles must be registered to use the trail and all riders are required to wear safety equipment.

The All Terrain Vehicle Management Area has been designated for All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) use during certain seasons of the year. All roads and trails outside the All Terrain Vehicle Area are closed to ATVs year round. The ATV Management Area on the Sproul State Forest is open from the Friday before Memorial Day to September 25. It is closed from September 25 to the end of muzzle loader season. The ATV area is then opened from the end of muzzle loader season until April 1. The ATV area closed from April 1 until the Friday before Memorial Day. Within the ATV Management area are many different and some very challenging riding surfaces. Conditions vary from single track woods trails to stony hard scrabble unreclaimed strip mine sites. The area has many looped trails for several days worth of riding.

A camping permit is required for overnight camping on the Sproul State Forest. Certain watersheds near exceptional value or high quality waters are closed to overnight camping near the streams. These riparian zones are set aside to protect many species of herbaceous and woody plants, and to prevent degradation of the waters by human waste and litter. These areas are posted closed to camping. Camping permits can be obtained in advance by telephoning our office or stopping at the office during business hours. Please call or write for details.

Climate - Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Sproul State Forest area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging around 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius). Precautions should be made when traveling this snowy area in the winter.

Location - The Sproul State Forest is located in the north central area of the state near Interstate 80. From the east access is from Exit 26, US 220 North and SR 120 west of Lock Haven. From the west access is from Exit 22 at Snow Shoe then SR 144 North.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Sproul State Forest, District Forester, HCR 62 Box 90 , Renovo, PA, 17764, Phone: 570-923-6011, Fax: 570-923-6014

Additional Information:
Bucktail State Park - Hemmed in by mountains, this state park scenic drive follows PA Route 120 as it winds from Lock Haven to Emporium along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the Sinnemahoning Creek. The scenic drive has no recreational facilities. In June, the mountain laurel is in bloom and in early October the fall colors are breathtaking.
Hyner Run State Park - The terrain of the park is generally level and occupies the small valley created by Hyner Run, with steep mountains on both sides. The park derives its name from Hyner Run, which flows through the park. The park is entirely surrounded by Sproul State Forest.
Hyner View State Park - Hyner View State Park features a scenic vista overlooking the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and is a favorite spot for hang gliding.
Kettle Creek State Park - Kettle Creek State Park consists of 1,793 acres along Kettle Creek in western Clinton County. The park is in a valley surrounded by mountainous terrain and wilderness. Many of the existing recreational facilities arose from a joint flood control project developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources.
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests - Pennsylvania is known for producing some of the most valuable hardwood timber in the world. The 2.1 million acres of state forest land are protected from fire, destructive insects and diseases while offering a beautiful recreation environment for the visitor. Pennsylvania's State Park system offers visitors year-round recreational enjoyment as well. Amenities include: camping, picnicking, hiking, an assortment of winter sports and the viewing of the natural biological diversity and ecosystems found within the Commonwealth.
Valleys of the Susquehanna Area - The beautiful Susquehanna River winds through fertile valleys surrounded by forest covered ridges. Anglers can explore the world-class smallmouth bass fishing in the river or Penns Creek which is known as one of the best trout streams in America.

Links:
Sproul State Forest - Official agency website

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