French Creek State Park
Two lakes and forested hiking trails amid the picturesque farmland of northern Chester County
Anglers and boaters both enjoy the well-stocked Hopewell and Scotts Run Lakes, home to a wide variety of local species of fish. There’s also a swimming pool if you want to get wet, plus two disc golf courses that are popular year-round.
You might opt for exploring the extensive trail system, which covers a large portion of the park’s 7,339 acres. Bicyclists are welcome, too, as long as they stick to the designated trails. There are also eight miles of trails for horseback riding.
The hilly, forested terrain is perfect for the burgeoning new sport of Orienteering, which might be why, with two popular courses that wind through the woods by Hopewell Lake, French Creek is affectionately known as the “Orienteering Capital of America.”
Hikers at French Creek have a wide variety of opportunities for quiet reflection, nature study and physical challenge. The 130-mile horse-shoe trail, which gets its name because it’s a favorite among horseback riders as well as hikers, runs through this park along both Hopewell and Scotts Run lakes.
Ten furnished modern cabins, nestled among the hardwoods, offer a pleasant alternative to state park camping. Cabins can be reserved year-round and feature sleeping for six, electric heat, kitchen, private bath with shower, and wall to wall carpeting. Bring your own dishes, cookware and bedding.
The combination of habitats at French Creek offers a variety of hunting opportunities in specified areas, which cover more than 6,000 acres of the park in season.
Trail maps are available by the park office and trailhead parking is available. Fishing and hunting licenses are required. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited and pets must be leashed.
After the heavy rains of spring, salamanders “migrate” from the hills to the lower, marshy areas of the park, turning out by the thousands to breed in the shallow pools of water.
If you are observant while at the park you will see deer, squirrels, raccoons, songbirds, and numerous other small animals and birds. The park sustains good populations of resident birds and animals, but also serves as an important stop for migratory species using the woodlands, streams, lakes, and wetlands for food and cover.