Open dawn to dusk.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
- Hawk Point Overlook offers visitors a glimpse of the Conowingo Reservoir, the northernmost and largest of several hydroelectric impoundments on the lower Susquehanna. Straddling the Pennsylvania and Maryland border, the reservoir generates hydroelectric power and cooling water for the Peach Bottom nuclear reactors while also serving as a popular boating and fishing destination.
- Located downriver on the far left of Hawk Point, visitors can see Mount Johnson Island, the world’s first bald eagle sanctuary. For many years, Mount Johnson Island hosted a pair of nesting bald eagles. Visitors can use the optical viewer or binoculars to spot eagles, osprey, turkey vultures and black vultures that regularly soar by these cliffs using columns of rising air called thermals.
- Wisslers Run Overlook gives an excellent view of the Susquehanna’s naturally rocky riverbed. The overlook also provides a view of the Muddy Run pump storage hydroelectric plant with the impressive 21-span Norman Wood Bridge and Holtwood Dam in the background. The Osprey nest on the large power line towers in front of the overlook.
- Panoramic views of the Susquehanna River can be seen from the 380 feet high overlooks of the park complex. When enjoying the views, visitors should remain a safe distance back from drop-off areas and children should be closely supervised.
Picnicking: More than 80 picnic tables and 20 grills are spread throughout both sunny and shaded areas of Susquehannock State Park. Parking, water fountains, restrooms, a playground, volleyball court, horseshoe pits, and two softball fields with backstops and benches are easily accessible. Two large picnic pavilions with grills, water, electric outlets and lights can accommodate larger groups and special events and may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee.
Horseback Riding: The trails of the park provide a beautiful setting for horseback riding, although it is prohibited at the overlooks and on Rhododendron Trail. Several shaded hitching rails for horses are located in the park to accommodate riding clubs and horse drawn wagons.
Hiking: 5.6 miles of trails
- Scenic hiking trails offer a variety of interesting habitats and evidence of past use of the area. Native holly, rhododendron, spring and summer wildflowers, and a variety of other plant life await discovery. Sit quietly or walk along a trail to observe deer, songbirds, lizards and many other forms of wildlife. From the overlooks, watch for vultures, hawks, osprey and even bald eagles. Several trails also feature remnants of old homestead sites.
- Chimney Trail: 0.35 mile, more difficult hiking. This wooded trail is great for birding and viewing spring wildflowers.
- Fire Trail: 0.33 mile, more difficult hiking. Actually a short logging road, this trail features a nice stand of poplar trees.
- Five Points Trail: 0.7 mile, most difficult hiking. Hikers can see rhododendron and views of creek valleys from this trail.
- Holly Trail: 0.5 mile, easiest hiking. Native holly and Christmas fern line this easily hiked trail.
- Landis Trail: 0.6 mile, more difficult hiking. Named for Lester Landis, a former owner of the historic Long Home near the park office, this trail features a fine stand of Virginia bluebells that bloom in late April and early May.
- Nature Trail: 0.3 mile, easiest hiking. This trail features mature hardwood trees, ferns and wildflowers.
- Overlook Trail: 0.55 mile, more difficult hiking. This popular trail leads to Hawk Point and Wisslers Run overlooks, which offer memorable views of the Susquehanna River.
- Pine Tree Trail: 0.31 mile, most difficult hiking. This short, steep and rocky hike winds its way down to Wisslers Run.
- Pipeline Trail: 0.24 mile, easiest hiking. This leisurely stroll follows an old, abandoned pipeline right-of-way that crosses the park.
- Rhododendron Trail: 1.2 miles, most difficult hiking. The park’s longest and most difficult trail crosses steep and rocky terrain and rewards the hiker with spectacular rhododendron blooms during late June and early July. Remnants of the homestead of Thomas Neel and an impressive beech tree can be seen along this trail.
- Spring Trail: 0.4 mile, easiest hiking. Pawpaw trees, with their banana-like fruits, can be found along this trail.
Cross-country Skiing: Visitors enjoy cross-country skiing on more than 2 miles of park trails including the Pipe Line, Chimney, Landis, and Overlook, as well as throughout open fields.
Stay the Night
Organized Group Tenting: The four organized group campsites can accommodate various group sizes. Qualified adult and youth groups may reserve space in the organized group tenting area for overnight use. Call toll-free, 888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757) for reservations.
While exploring the Chesapeake Bay in 1608, Captain John Smith first encountered the Susquehannocks. In his journal, Captain Smith described them as “seemed like Giants to the English” but archeological research shows the Susquehannocks to have been of average size for the time.
It is unknown what the Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannocks called themselves, but the name that graces the river, the people and the state park is derived from the name, Sasquesahanough, given to Captain Smith by his Algonquian-speaking American Indian interpreter. The word has been translated “people at the falls” or “roily water people” referring to the Susquehannock’s home by the river. This small but powerful tribe occupied only one or two major towns at a time, but controlled the important trade routes along the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay. Their last town was near present-day Conestoga and the Susquehannocks were sometimes referred to as Conestoga Indians.