Experience Fun Outdoor Adventures At This Underrated Eastern US State Park

With 2,747 official state parks to choose from in the U.S., it's impossible for even some of the most beautiful to get the limelight they deserve. One U.S. state park that often flies under the radar is Salt Springs State Park. But although it's underrated, Salt Springs is a stunning nature reserve packed with opportunities for unforgettable outdoor adventures. Tucked away in the northeastern region of Pennsylvania, this hidden gem is situated in Susquehanna County, just seven miles from the town of Montrose.

The state park stretches across 405 acres. Alongside this land, guests are welcome to roam an additional 437 acres owned by the volunteer-run non-profit, Friends of Salt Springs. Due to the park's rolling hills and Catskill peaks, the area has been known as "the Endless Mountains" since the 1700s. Alongside the Catskill Mountains is Fall Brook, an 80-foot river gorge that features three stunning waterfalls and the park's namesake salt spring. Amidst the gorge and surrounding area, you'll find verdant mossy woods as well as a rare, 300-year-old hemlock forest.

Beginning in the 1830s, Salt Springs State Park was nothing more than farmland owned by members of the Wheaton Family. However, by 1970, the Wheaton's recognized that the land was too good to keep to themselves and they offered it to the Bureau of State Parks. Since then, guests have taken advantage of the park's fantastic skiing, hiking, camping, fishing, and more.

Explore the trails of Salt Springs State Park

Getting around Salt Springs State Park is made easy with its extensive trail system. Following one of the many designated paths will allow you to fully absorb the park's abundant beauty. You can access a PDF of the official trail map via the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Recourses.

If you're looking for a more challenging hike, we suggest you head out on the Border Trail. This trek has a hefty incline and totals just under two miles. While it's difficult, you'll find that the breathtaking scenery makes it feel worthwhile. For a little less of a climb, take the Spruce Trail. Only .4 miles long. This short and sweet journey traverses through spruce tree groves, giving hikers a serene natural escape.

The best time of year for hiking is considered April through October. However, if you visit during the winter months, you can still make your way through the park's majestic landscape. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all trails and are popular options once the ground is covered in a layer of white.

Fishing and camping in Salt Springs State Park

For the outdoor explorers, Salt Spring State Park is like a goldmine, filled with things to do. For fishermen, the park's waterways are paradise. Between Silver Creek and Fall Brook, almost two miles of crystal clear freshwater fishing is available. At the start of spring, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission supplies Silver Creek and Fall Brook with trout. On the east end of the Picnic area, you'll find a local favorite spot at the point where the two rivers meet.

Once you step foot in Salt Springs State Park, it's likely you won't want to leave. Luckily, the park offers overnight camping so you don't have to. There are 14 campsites equipped with picnic tables and fire rings. Most of these are accessible to campers and RVs. The park also offers three rented cabins equipped with electricity, though they come without heat and running water. Both require payment, as well as a reservation made at least three days in advance (by email or phone).