Pennsylvania’s beautiful lakes, creeks, trails, and the night sky


In the past few weeks I’ve been really working to catch up to my monthly goal of visiting six state parks per month and in May I’ve achieved that – and the month isn’t over!

As I continue to share the 52 Pennsylvania State Park 2021 Challenge, in which I plan to hike in up to 52 state parks this year, I’m happy to update the tally after this week to 17 after visiting Cherry Springs State Park, Lyman Run State Park, Patterson State Park, and Marsh Creek State Park.

You can visit my previous post here.

Cherry Springs State Park

Photograph of the night sky with an iPhone using the Night Sky App

For more than five years I have wanted to visit this park and sit under the dark sky to view the Milky Way. It was something that I kept putting off, but not this year. I booked a three-day camping trip for this past week. If you want to camp there this summer, you are out of luck, the site is 100% booked. I do plan to return back and camp at a local park nearby which has “first-come-first-serve” campsites.

As a photographer, I would’ve loved to create an image like the one above with my DSLR, but alas, it was not in the cards for me. I actually much more enjoyed just lying in the middle of this field and staring up into the expansiveness of the sky, thinking about what is out there, and all that jazz.

During the day I visited the nearby parks to hike, and enjoy campfire-cooked meals. I also took time to work on my art journal, which features notes, photos, and other visual content for this mixed-media “junk journal”

Lyman Run State Park

Lyman Run Reservoir
Lyman Run State Park – Photo by Deb Schell – More Photos

About 20 minutes from Cherry Springs State Park is this awesome park with a lake, campground, a dam, and a few hiking trails. Once I arrived I had decided to hike Lyman Run Trail which takes hikers from one end of the park to the other, traveling through the creek, over bridges, across a dam, and through the woods.

Patterson State Park

Patterson State Park – Susquehannock Trail SystemPhoto by Deb Schell – More photos

I stopped for a short hike at Patterson State Park located on PA Route 44. The site has picnic pavilions and a few camping spots that are “first-come-first-serve” and payment is by the “honor system” but the access to the amazing trails are why I want to return here. There is access to the Susquehannock Trail System, an 85-mile loop which passes through several state parks. I would like to return to this area to hike the STS – maybe not all 85 miles, but it would be cool to connect from one park to another.

Marsh Creek State Park

Marsh Creek Lake & State Park – Photo by Deb Schell – More photos

This weekend was hot but Marsh Creek was the perfect spot to cool down and go swimming, fishing, or just relax under the shade and enjoying the view of this 535-acre lake. Unless, that is, you find yourself walking along the shore with no shade, in the 80-degree weather. Funny enough, that was part of my trip on Saturday.

I arrived with some friends and we checked out the visitor’s center to get a map and a passport stamp, and then headed off to hike in the woods, the Red Trail, which led us right down to the very-crowded beach.

After a bit of exploring the white trail from the East Launch, we traveled to the other side of the lake. If you head to this park, I’d recommend going early in the day as it fills up in the afternoon. I’d also stick to the West Launch area, as there are more shaded trails to explore.

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