SWATARA STATE PARK
SWATARA STATE PARK
Grantville, Pennsylvania 17028
Toll Free: 888-727-2757
The 3,515-acre Swatara State Park consists of rolling fields and woodlands situated along Interstate 81 between Second and Blue mountains. One of the main focal points is the eight miles of Swatara Creek that winds through the park.
Swatara State Park was acquired with capital development funds appropriated by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. A recreation area is planned for the future and will offer canoeing, fishing, hiking, picnicking, bicycling, swimming, camping and environmental education.
The area in and around Swatara State Park is rich in American history. American Indians originally used the land along the Swatara Creek as a transportation route.
After settlement by Europeans in the 1750s, anthracite coal was discovered in the Tremont area. In the 1820s, as the demand for coal rose, a need for better transportation led to the construction of the Union Canal that connected the Schuylkill and Susquehanna rivers. From Lebanon, a branch canal was constructed to Pine Grove through what is now the Swatara State Park. A dam and 672-acre reservoir in the park area supported canal traffic to Pine Grove and supplied water for the Union Canal at Lebanon.
The dam was washed away in the Flood of 1862, destroying the canal and reservoir. The dam was never rebuilt because the railroad soon went into operation on the opposite bank of the Swatara Creek.
Remains of the abandoned railroad bed, five canal locks and the old dam on Old State Road can be found within the park.
The Commonwealth began acquisition of the park in 1971 and was completed in 1987 by the Department of General Services.
Vernal Pool Walk
Join Wildlife Biologist Dave McNaughton of the Friends of Memorial Lake and Swatara State Parks for a walk through the woods to vernal pools in the vicinity of the Lickdale Trailhead to observe spring salamander activity.
Spring Maintenance of Union Canal Lock 5B
Join Swatara State Park DCNR Conservation Volunteers and members of the Friends of Memorial Lake and Swatara State Parks who will be removing brush with loppers, picking up trash, and weed whacking around Lock 5 and Mifflin Trail. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and sturdy shoes. Bring gloves, eye protection, hearing protection and insect repellant if you have them. Bottled water will be provided. Shine Only.
Spring Maintenance Union Canal Lock 6B
Join PA DCNR Conservation Volunteers and members of the Friends of Memorial Lake and Swatara State Parks in spring maintenance of the Lock 6 in the Swatara Gap. Volunteers will be clearing brush and fallen trees from the canal, the tow path, and Lock 6 with loppers, saws, and weed whackers. Wear long sleves, long pants, gloves, and sturdy shoes. Bottled water will be provided.
Swatara Clean Up Day
Come out and join the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful effort at Swatara State Park conducted by the Friends of Memorial Lake and Swatrara State Parks. Bring your gloves if you have them, wear long pants, and be prepared to stash the trash. Bottled water will be provided. Meet at the Trout Run Trailhead. Please sign up on the DCNR Volunteer Website or call the park office at 717 865-6470. Shine only. Make Up Date: April 30, same location, same time.
Boating: non-powered boats onlySwatara Creek is a popular area for canoeing in the spring. There are several locations of easy access to the creek for put-in and take-out of boats.
Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Approved U.S. Coast Guard personal flotation devices (PFD) must be in your boat or worn at all times while boating on state park waters.
Spring trout season attracts many anglers to Trout Run, the park?s only stocked, cold water trout fishing stream. There are also a few small streams within the park that boast native populations of brook trout.
Warm water fish like smallmouth bass and panfish can be caught in the Swatara Creek. Fishing continues to improve because numerous abandoned mine drainage abatement projects, agricultural best management practices and sewage treatment efforts are improving water quality of the Swatara Creek and its tributaries. Irving?s Pond provides opportunities to catch largemouth bass and panfish.