Finding calm lakeside, enjoying the view from the top, and the joy of solo camping


Photo by Deb Schell © 2022 – All Rights Reserved – Prints Available on the website

Almost a full week of camping has left me thrilled to share these images and a bit about my recent travels to a few Pennsylvania State Parks over the past few weeks.

Between June and July, I’ve managed to make it to 8 more state parks, bringing my total count to 16 parks since the beginning of 2022 and a total of 52 between 2021 and this month.

Last year I challenged myself to hike at 52 state parks, and although it didn’t happen (I made it to 36 in 2021) I can now report that I’ve hit that goal. I just needed 6 additional months! (See full list below)

 Promised Land State Park

I camped at Pickerel Point, which has views of the lake right from the campsite and a swimming area just a few steps away. This is a very popular park, and I knew once I saw these sites, I wanted to stay here. This campground, a peninsula, is booked out so I decided to reserve a spot during the week so that I could enjoy the campsite while also not having to wait until September.

From the PSP website: About 3,000 acres in size, Promised Land State Park is on the Pocono Plateau, 1,800 feet above sea level, and is surrounded by 12,464 acres of the Delaware State Forest, including natural areas.

The forests of the park consist primarily of beech, oak, maple, and hemlock trees. Two lakes and several small streams add to the park’s outstanding scenic beauty.

Tobyhanna State Park

Photo by Deb Schell © 2022 – All Rights Reserved – Prints available for purchase on the website

About 30 minutes from Promised Land State Park, I visited Tobyhanna State Park to walk around the lake, enjoy the views, and have the trail all to myself.

The 5,440-acre park includes the 170-acre Tobyhanna Lake. Tobyhanna is derived from an American Indian word meaning “a stream whose banks are fringed with alder.” Gouldsboro State Park is nearby.

Gouldsboro State Park

Photo by Deb Schell © 2022 – All Rights Reserved – Prints available on the website

A short 15-minute drive, Gouldsboro State Park offers another chance to enjoy nature by the lake with a wonderful view and nice picnic areas. There are great hiking trails here too. A sand beach is open to enjoy through the summer.

Big Pocono State Park

Photo by Deb Schell © 2022 – All Rights Reserved – Prints available on the website

After hiking at both Goldsboro and Tobyhanna, I headed 30 minutes south and enjoyed great views at Big Pocono State Park, which is in Monroe County in northeastern Pennsylvania. The park consists of 1,306 acres of rugged terrain on the summit and slopes of Camelback Mountain and features scenic views of three states.

Chapman State Park

After the 3-day, 2-night camping trip in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, I headed west, towards Erie, where I stayed for a long weekend, at Chapman State Park, near Warran, which just happens to be where one of my best friends lives so I was able to visit with her while I was in the area.

The 862-acre Chapman State Park includes the 68-acre Chapman Lake on the West Branch of Tionesta Creek.

This was one of my favorite campsites because I had selected a “walk-in” which I find so much more private, and usually away from the noise of a campground full of kids, teens, and adults. I had an enjoyable time despite the rain on the first night. Thankfully I arrived before the storm and was able to set up my tent and cook dinner before the storm started. The best part about this park was the lake, which I enjoyed several times since the weather was too hot for a lot of hiking.

Kinzua Dam, Kinzua Bridge State Park

Photo by Deb Schell © 2022 – All Rights Reserved – Prints available on the website

After waking up at Chapman State Park, headed to Kinzua Bridge State Park, while also stopping by the dam and at the swimming area to relax before heading over to the bridge. The dam was pretty cool and I remembered visiting it a few years back, at night, when I had been working at my photography job.

Photo by Deb Schell © 2022 – All Rights Reserved – Prints available on the website

Kinzua Bridge State Park

The 339-acre Kinzua Bridge State Park, located in McKean County, is the home of the reinvented Kinzua Viaduct. The Viaduct, once the longest and tallest railroad structure at 2,053 feet long and 301 feet high, was partially destroyed by a tornado during 2003. Reinvented as a pedestrian walkway during 2011, visitors can stroll 600 feet out on the remaining support towers, peer miles out into the Kinzua Gorge, and gaze down through the partial glass platform at the end of the walkway.

Photo by Deb Schell © 2022 – All Rights Reserved – Prints available on the website

Elk State Park

Photo by Deb Schell © 2022 – All Rights Reserved – Prints available on the website

After time spent at the other park, I made a quick stop to view the lake at Elk State Park

The 1,160-acre East Branch Lake is large enough for unlimited horsepower boating and is great for waterskiing. The lake and nearby streams are stocked with warm water and coldwater fish.

Bendigo State Park

Photo by Deb Schell © 2022 – All Rights Reserved – Prints available on the website

Nearby Elk State Park (About 15 minutes) I traveled to Bendigo State Park for a short walk through the trail from the parking area. This park is best for having a picnic as there is only one trail that I could find but I did notice that people were swimming, so that is also a fun adventure, to go floating.

Parks I’ve visited so far

1 French Creek State Park, March 2021

2 Little Buffalo State Park, March 2021

3 Caledonia State Park, March 2021

4 Mont Alto State Park, April 2021

5 Pine Grove Furnace State Park, April 2021

6 Kings Gap State Park, April 2021

7 Colonel Denning State Park, May 2021

8 Samuel S Lewis State Park, May 2021

9 Susquehannock State Park, May 2021

10 Gifford Pinchot State Park, May 2021

11 Swatara State Park, May 2021

12 Cherry Springs State Park, May 2021

13 Lyman Run State Park, May 2021

14 Patterson State Park, May 2021

15 Marsh Creek State Park, June 2021

16 Big Springs State Park, June 2021

17 Fowlers Hollow State Park, June 2021

18 Boyd Big Tree Preserve SP, June 2021

19 Joseph E Ibberson Conservation Area, July 2021

20 Codorus State Park, July 2021

21 Memorial Lake State Park, July 2021

22 Tuscarora State Park, July 2021

23 Ridley Creek State Park, July 2021

24 Presque Isle State Park, August 2021

25 Shikellamy State Park, September 2021

26 Colton Point State Park, October 2021

27 Leonard Harrison State Park, October 2021

28 Raymond B Winter State Park, November 2021

29 Ravensburg State Park, November 2021

30 Sand Bridge State Park, November 2021

31 McCalls Dam State Park, November 2021

32 Bald Eagle State Park, November 2021

33 Greenwood Furnace State Park, November 2021

34 Black Moshannon State Park, November 2021

35 Whipple Dam State Park, November 2021

36 Neshaminy State Park, November 2021

37 Reeds Gap State Park, January 2022

38 Canoe Creek State Park, February 2022

39 Trough Creek State Park, February 2022

40 Warriors Path State Park, February 2022

41 Hickory Run State Park, June 2022

42 Frances Slocum State Park, June 2022

43 Lehigh Gorge State Park, June 2022

44 Nescopeck State Park, June 2022

45 Promised Land State Park, June 2022 

46 Big Pocono State Park, June 2022

47 Tobyhanna State Park, June 2022

48 Gouldsboro State Park, June 2022

49 Chapman State Park, July 2022

50 Bendigo State Park, July 2022

51 Elk State Park, July 2022

52 Kinzua Bridge State Park, July 2022

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