Located in the quiet woods of northern Pennsylvania, Hills Creek State Park is the perfect family getaway for your next RV trip. Quaint and unpretentious, this 400-acre park packs a powerful punch into a small area. The park has been entertaining visitors since 1953 with a combination of tranquil landscapes and exciting outdoor recreation. There is no bad time to visit the park, as summers are warm yet mild, autumns put on a grand fall foliage show, and springtime presents carpets of wildflowers throughout the newly awakened landscape. Even winter can be fun, with snow sports enthusiasts flocking to Hills Creek to enjoy the park in a whole different way.
After you park the rig and set up camp, you can take advantage of the park's scenic Hills Creek Lake by boating, swimming, or fishing. There are also five miles of trails available to hikers, and if you tread lightly, you may be able to spot some of the park's unique wildlife, from bald eagles to beavers. Hills Creek is also home to numerous picnic tables and a snack bar when you're ready to take a break after a day full of activities.
Hills Creek State Park will have you feeling so relaxed that you may want to stay for longer than just a day. The park is equipped with 85 RV- and trailer-friendly sites, along with a variety of cabins and yurts for the true glampers in your group.
Hills Creek State Park is surrounded by unspoiled nature in all directions, and although the park affords a quiet sense of isolation, there are actually a number of towns and major roadways located in the surrounding area. Hill Creek sits halfway between Mansfield and Wellsboro in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, near the crossroads of major routes US-6 and US-15. No matter which direction you're coming from, or what kind of vehicle you're maneuvering, these well-maintained highways make it easy to reach the park. While you're in the area, you can also check out the nearby Colton Point State Park and Tioga State Forest.
The main park roads are paved, and even tall rigs won't have to worry about any low hanging branches or sharp turns. Although the park keeps its gates open year-round, those visiting in the winter will want to check the local weather forecast and road conditions before putting the motorhome in drive, as heavy snow can make travel in and around the park difficult.
Those staying overnight can park the campervan at their campsite, while day visitors will find lots near the boat ramp at the north of the park, and at the park office at the south end of the park.
You may find that one day at Hills Creek State Park simply wasn't enough. Luckily, there are 85 RV- and trailer-friendly sites at the park's campground. There are 15 full-hookup sites and 22 sites with electric hookups, while the remaining sites are standard with no hookups. There are also a number of pet-friendly and ADA-accessible sites available.
Sites vary in size between 20 and 40 feet, and each is outfitted with a picnic table and fire ring. You can choose from an open, grassy site, or a shaded site surrounded by towering hemlocks. Guests will find a dump station, restrooms, and water fountains spread throughout the campground along with access to main points of attraction like hiking trails and the lake.
The campground is open from May through October, and reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.
If you'd like to enjoy a cozy camping experience during your time at Hills Creek State Park, rent out one of the three Camping Cottages. These small cabins are equipped with conveniences like electric heat and lights, and enough beds to sleep up to five. The cottages are also outfitted with a porch, along with a picnic table and a fire ring located outside. There is no indoor plumbing, but guests will have access to nearby laundry facilities and restrooms with showers. Two of the cottages are ADA-accessible.
The Camping Cottages are available from April through October, and reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.
Those looking for a unique way to stay at Hills Creek State Park can rent out one of the park's two yurts. These modern tent-style edifices are equipped with electric heat and outlets, kitchen appliances, and enough bunks to sleep up to five people. Guests will also find a wooden deck, a fire ring, and picnic table outside each yurt. Although there is no indoor plumbing in the yurts, restrooms with showers are located nearby.
If you'd like to rent a yurt, they are available from April through October, with reservations available up to 11 months in advance.
If you prefer the ritz over the rugged, then stay at one of Hills Creek State Park's ten modern cabins. These cabins are equipped with top-notch creature comforts like electricity, indoor plumbing, and modern kitchen appliances (guests will need to bring their own linens and utensils). The cabins can sleep up to six, and two are ADA-accessible and three allow pets for an additional fee.
The modern cabins are open year-round, and reservations are available up to 11 months in advance.
Even those camping with a crowd can find a place to hunker down for the night at Hills Creek State Park. The Organized Group Tenting site can accommodate up to 40 tent campers and comes equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, grills, and restrooms with flush toilets and showers. The pet-friendly group site is available from April through October (weather depending), and reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.
Don't hesitate to tow your boat behind the Sprinter when you visit Hills Creek State Park. Hills Creek Lake offers 137 acres for motorboating and paddling, and you could easily spend a whole afternoon cruising along the scenic waters. There are two boat launches and three mooring areas available to park guests, and parking lots and restrooms can be found nearby. If you didn't bring your own boat to the park, rentals are available near the swimming beach. Boaters should note that only electric motors are allowed in the lake.
Once you've parked the pop-up and set up camp, stretch your legs on one of the three trails that carve their way through the park. Yellow Birch Trail and Tauscher's Trail are both fairly easy treks that measure between one and 1.5 miles, while the Lakeside Trail is excellent for those looking for a more challenging trail. This 2.5-mile stretch will lead you around the lake while presenting great wildlife viewing opportunities.
Pennsylvanian summers can get warm, so don't forget to pack a bathing suit along in the travel trailer when you visit Hills Creek State Park. Those preferring to play in the water rather than on it can spend their days on the shores Hills Creek Lake. The beach is located on the east side of the lake, and offer both sandy and grassy areas for sun tanning, reading, or watching the young ones splash in the water. Once you've had enough sun, there are also picnicking areas, restrooms, a snack bar, and a playground that can all be found nearby.
Throughout the year, Hills Creek State Park offers a variety of programs and events aimed towards environmental education. These programs are a great way for the whole family to learn more about the park and the history, culture, and geology of the surrounding area. Interpretive programs are offered during the peak season between May and September, and other events take place throughout the year. Programs could include guided hikes, animal talks, or even learning how to make maple syrup. Head to the park office to see what events are taking place during your time at Hills Creek.
Long before the Hills Creek was impounded to make the lake we see today, beavers built their own dams along the creek. The beavers and their dams can still be seen at the park, along with other full-time residents, including deer, muskrats, and the occasional bear wandering through. Head to the lake for your best chance of spotting great blue heron, osprey, and bald eagles. As you wander the trails, keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for pileated woodpeckers, grouse, rabbits, and woodchucks.
Anglers will have plenty of space to cast out when they visit Hills Creek State Park on their RV vacation. The 137-acre Hills Creek Lake offers up a wide variety of fish in its warm waters, with common catches including yellow perch, largemouth bass, muskellunge, crappie, and bluegill, among others. You can drop a line via boat, or from the ADA-accessible fishing pier located on the west side of the lake. A Pennsylvania fishing license is required for all anglers hoping to reel in a keeper during their time at the park.
Pack your favorite winter gear in the fifth wheel and head to Hills Creek State Park to enjoy a variety of snow sports and activities. Once the snow hits the park and a healthy layer of ice covers the lake, Hills Creek is transformed into a winter wonderland. Visitors can cross-country ski on routes usually taken by hikers, and the kiddos can hit the sledding hill located near the beach. You can also head to the lake for an afternoon of ice skating or fishing, just be sure to test the thickness of the ice before going out onto the lake.
Those looking to explore the park in a unique way can spend a day Geocaching with family or friends. This modern-day treasure hunt involves using a GPS enabled device to track down buried "caches" hidden throughout the park. Besides the GPS enabled device, all you'll need is a pencil, some loot to replace the treasure you take, and a sense of adventure. Geocache "swag," as it is known, could include anything from stickers to Pez dispensers. Once you uncover a cache, simply sign your name in the log, replace the booty, and head to your next coordinate.