Located between Washington DC and New York, you’ll find over 7,730 acres of forest both you and the wildlife can enjoy at French Creek State Park. There is lots of variety here in Pennsylvania, and not only will you get to walk through enchanting forests, but you can also relax at the lakes, explore the wetlands, and skip through fields.
While you’re taking your time through the park, you may find it hard to believe that this wonderful area was once deforested and made ugly by an iron-producing company called Hopewell Furnace from 1771 to 1883. They needed wood to create energy, so they cut down all the trees in this area. It wasn’t until the 1940s that the forest began to be restored and the area was turned into a state park for all to enjoy. You can see artifacts and learn more about this important part of history by visiting the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site here.
While this site is a hot attraction, the weather isn’t, so be sure to dress in layers. Summers are mild, usually tending to stay in the 70s. Winter temperatures though can get as low as the teens. If you’re looking for a break from the usual heat of summer, French Creek State Park is the perfect place to bring your RV.
RV Rentals in French Creek State Park
Transportation in French Creek State Park
Driving on the roads inside the park is usually no problem, even for RVs. For people who aren’t used to the winter driving conditions of Pennsylvania, you may want to drive with a little more caution if you’re visiting during a time when there is snow and ice on the roads. Some roads might also be closed for cross-country skiing in the winter. There is also one spot where a one-lane road goes under a bridge--just be sure to look and honk before going through.
There is parking available at each lake and at the park office. Around Memorial Day and through the summer parking availability can be slim, so just be aware and plan ahead if you’re coming during that time. At the campsites, two vehicles are allowed so you can park both your RV and your car right there.
Campgrounds and parking in French Creek State Park
Campsites in French Creek State Park
Campgrounds at French Creek State Park
The campground that you’ll in the park has 200 total campsites that are divided up into four loops labeled A, B, C, and D. There are 60 sites that offer electric hookups, but only 17 of them have full hookups that include electricity, water, and sewer. You’ll find the campsites with the full hookups in loop C, and you’ll be happy to hear that this is the loop that is also pet-friendly. All sites are back-in and fit rigs up to 50 feet long. You’ll also be able to bring both your RV and car to the site with no problem. Whichever loop you choose to camp at, you’ll have easy access to bathrooms with showers and flush toilets available. Camping is available year-round, but only certain loops will remain open in the off-season. This shouldn’t be a problem, as less people come camping in the winter time.
Cottages, Cabins, and Yurts
There are three cottages, ten cabins, and two yurts available for you to stay at here if you’re looking for a change of pace from RV camping. The cottages will sleep up to 5 people, the cabins will sleep 6, and the yurts sleep 4 on two bunk beds. These are great places to reserve, especially if you’re thinking about visiting during the winter time when it’s really cold. All three of these options have electric heat that will keep you warm the entire time. If you stay in a cabin, you’ll have access to a kitchen and all you’ll need to bring is cookware, dishes, and your own bedding. The yurts each have a stove, microwave oven, and a fridge ready for your convenience as well.
Seasonal activities in French Creek State Park
Hiking & Biking
There are 35 miles of trails available for hiking and 20 available for mountain biking. You can expect most of the trails for hikers and bikers to be somewhat difficult. The trails are long and the terrain is rough, but it can be a great way to get out and explore the wonderful nature.
If you wish to bring your horse along, you can enjoy a ride on Horseshoe Trail. The complete trail actually totals 130 miles, but 8 miles of it is available inside French Creek State Park. This is the only trail here that is open for horseback riding, but it’s a great one. If you want more, just keep following the trail out of the park.
There are picnic tables scattered throughout the park, and they are all conveniently located near restrooms. Many of the picnic tables are near the lakes, offering pleasant views while you eat. This is a great way to enjoy a family get-together in a spot that's both convenient and beautiful.
In the summertime, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as jumping into a swimming pool. And there just so happens to be a pool in the park that you can cool off in. It’s near Hopewell Lake, and it’s the perfect spot for splashing around and sunbathing. There is also a food concession stand handy in case you work up an appetite.
Motor boats are allowed at French Creek State Park and there are boat launches available at both Hopewell Lake and Scotts Run Lake. Take your pick of 68-acre Hopewell Lake and 22-acre Scotts Run Lake. Be sure to go over the boating rules and local regulations before heading out.
During the winter time, many different areas of the park become available for cross country skiing. Closed-off roads, various hiking trails, and fields are all open for those who wish to cross country ski. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there is a spot for you.
When the lakes freeze over in the winter, it can make for the perfect opportunity to go ice skating. Ice skating can be a lot of fun, but do so at your own risk. Be sure that the ice is plenty thick enough, and don’t go out on the ice by yourself. Be sure to take the proper precautions, and have fun.
Sledding is a fantastic snow activity to enjoy here in the park. One of the most popular places to go sledding is at the backside of the dam at Scotts Run Lake. This is the perfect slope for a fun, fast, and exciting ride.
Here at French Creek, you have the choice to go ice fishing at either lake. Many people find that Scotts Run Lake is easier to ice fish on, making it ideal for beginners. There is lots of trout to catch here, along with some other species of cold water fish. Hopewell Lake is bigger and known for its bass. Be sure to take special precautions before heading out and while fishing.
Playing in the Snow
Snow is abundant here in the winter time, so there’s no better place to bundle up and head out for some snowy fun. Make snow angels side by side, work together to build a snowman or an igloo, or have a friendly snowball fight right where you are. Lots of snow means lots of fun.