Cherry Springs State Park Pa
Cherry Springs State Park – Photo by Troy Snead from Flickr
Cherry Springs State Park is an 82-acre state park surrounded by 262.000-acre Susquehannock State Forest. People love to come and see the amazing night sky at this state Park. When the sky is dark, you can see the views of astronomical objects like the Milky Ways, planets, and other objects that you won’t see anywhere else.
Backpacking and hiking are the favorite things to do at Cherry Springs State Park. So, for you who love those kinds of activities, you can come whenever you want because the park is open every day of the year. The Rustic Campground at Cherry Springs is open from the second Friday of April to the last weekend of October.
The Night Sky Public Viewing Area, it’s for short time, a few hours or less. Unfortunately, this area is not for overnight stays. Also, there is The Overnight Astronomy Observation Field that is available all night to registered users.
For the reservation, you can call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS between 7 AM and 5 PM from Monday to Saturday. For other information about Cherry Springs State Park, you can just keep scrolling.
Pets Are Not Allowed Everywhere
When camping in such places, keep in mind that pets are not allowed into all the areas of the park, only in very limited designated areas. For those who have no option but to bring along their pets, they can find their way to the nearby Pennsylvania Wilds, where pets are allowed. Pets are also not allowed in the public night sky programs, at the Overnight Astronomy Observation field, and in the Rustic Campground either. There are also other rules which are meant to be followed like Alcoholic beverages are not permitted and occupants in trailers at the camp have to be responsible and ensure that clean disposal of waste is taken care of. Also, there is to be no dishwashing in the restrooms or at the hydrants. Other than some simple rules of clean hygiene and non-intrusive boarding, the Cherry Springs State Park camping is a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Where To Stay At Cherry Springs
There are a few campgrounds in the area that make it easy to visit Cherry Springs State Park.
While we looked into camping, we were also planning this trip in the middle of August and didnt want to be sweating up a storm or be eaten alive by bugs. I was able to find this cute accommodation that even allowed dogs.
It was remote , had a picnic bench, fire pit, queen size bed, kitchen, bathroom with shower, and a living room. It was also pet-friendly. We typically dont bring our dog because hes high energy around other people but because of the remoteness we decided to try it out and he LOVED it. Our host was responsive and we loved our time there.
Our cabin was the perfect place to stay! We could see plenty of stars at the house, but we chose to go to the park for a wider look at the sky. You can book accommodation here.
There is a Cherry Springs Country Store for any essentials you may have left behind or treats you want to have
Travel Tip: Check the clear sky chart to help you choose the optimal time to visit, but in general the best stargazing happens in the fall and winter
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What To Bring To Cherry Springs State Park
Its worth planning ahead before visiting Cherry Springs State Park as there are a few things you may want to bring with you to best enjoy your experience.
Many people bring telescopes or binoculars with them to view the celestial bodies you can see. While your eyes can see a lot without any aid, these will definitely amplify the night sky and make it all the more impressive.
Youll also want to bring some form of red light with you to the park. On both observation fields, white lights are prohibited. This includes light from phones, cameras, and flashlights. Red lights are allowed, in moderation, because they dont impact your night vision as much as white light does.
You can purchase red flashlights and red cellophane to cover things like phones and the back of cameras before you head to the park. While the park used to provide red pieces of cellophane for free, they no longer offer them, so make sure to bring your own.
Its also worth noting that it is typically colder at the park than in the surrounding area. Even if its supposed to be a warm night, a sweatshirt or blanket is recommended. Youll also likely want a blanket or chairs for sitting in the observation fields.
You should also note that both dogs and alcoholic beverages are prohibited in Cherry Springs State Park.
Keeping The Skies Dark
The visitors and park staff work to keep white light to a minimum as outside lights make it more difficult to see the stars. In the Overnight Astronomy Observation Field, they actually close the gate at sundown, and no cars are permitted to enter or leave until morning. It is an area set aside for serious stargazers who bring their own observation equipment. This area has strict lighting restrictions and prohibits campfires and all forms of white light.
We really try to protect that area of the park, Morgan said.
The friends group, Cherry Springs Dark Sky Fund/Association, volunteers to raise money to plant light screening trees and shrubs, convert all park lighting to shielded, red-light fixtures, bury the overhead electrical lines, and install electrical pedestals on the astronomy field.
Keep in mind, the Night Sky Public Viewing Area is intended for short-term star gazing and is not permitted for overnight stays. If you want to stay overnight theres an adjacent rustic campground that has 30 non-electric campsites and a sanitary dump station. All sites include a picnic table, lantern hanger and fire ring.
The campground opens the second Friday in April and closes the last weekend in October.
Pets are prohibited in the Night Sky Public Viewing Area, Overnight Astronomy Observation Field, and campground.
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Camp At Cherry Springs State Park
Added by Brittany Weber
Experience a darkness so dark that it’s actually bright! Cherry Springs State Park is perfect for photographers, campers, backpackers and more with it’s easy 1 mile trail and access to over 550 miles of trails in the Susquehannock State Forest. This is the place to experience the wilderness as it’s meant to be.
Cherry Springs State Park was my first ever International Dark Sky Park and it stole my heart, and I promise it will steal yours too.
The park itself is very quaint, but don’t let it’s size deter you! The park is still as remote and wild as it was nearly two centuries ago, and that’s nearly impossible to find East of the Mississippi anymore.
The 82-acre park sits at around 2,300 feet above sea-level and is surrounded by the 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest which has about 550 miles of trails to explore! The Cherry Springs Interpretative Trail begins by the information kiosk and features wayside exhibits on forests and forestry practices. This 1 mile self-guided and easy trail will open your eyes to the ways forests are and will continue to be vital to human survival. Beside the Cherry Springs Working Forest Interpretive Trail, the Susquehannock Trail passes nearby and offers 85 miles of backpacking and hiking as well.
What Can You See In The Night Sky At Cherry Springs State Park
While there are plenty of dark places in Pennsylvania, there is nowhere in PA that you can see the sky more clearly than at Cherry Springs State Park.
The main attraction here is the Milky Way which can be easily seen without aid. Amazingly, its said to be so dark in the park that you can sometimes see a shadow cast by this celestial object.
However, while the sky is incredible with just your eyes, having a telescope or even a pair of binoculars can really amplify what you can see and make it truly amazing.
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Cherry Springs State Park Lodging
Apart from many good hotels, there are also many lodgings nearby. Some of these cottages have that delightful quaint and rustic look. One of these is Cherry Springs cottage, which is truly a cottage and cabin by the stream. It truly is a delightful place besides which runs a crystal clear bubby brook.
There are other Cherry Springs State Park lodging that promise to be a peaceful getaway for your hunting or fishing trip. There are also numerous hobby activities like biking, fishing, hunting, and simply exploring for those who are not happy with the delights that Cherry Springs State Park camping offers. While there are many good hotels near Cherry Springs State Park, lodges and hotels are not the only places to stay. There are many trailers and other forms of nonconventional residences in the campground near Cherry Springs State Park.
For those on a budget and who fancy roughing it out, there are trailers and caravans that can be rented too. The rates for these trailers range all the way from $80 per night to as high as $209 per night. During peak seasons, even the trailers are booked, so make sure that you make your reservations early enough, to use a rather cliched word avoid disappointment. Note that the rates mentioned varying from year to year and may also fluctuate depending on the seasons and the rush at the campground near Cherry Springs State Park.
Cherry Springs State Park Weather
Cherry Springs State Park – Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli from Flickr
If you have no idea about when to visit Cherry Springs State Park, we recommend you to come between April and October. It’s when the weather is just perfect and to do outdoor activities at the park, especially watching the dark sky.
The park is on clear and moonless nights during that time. You will also have a chance to see the most stars and a clear view of the Milky Way.
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When To Visit Cherry Springs For The Best Night Sky Experience
Check out the clear sky chart for Cherry Springs to make sure there wont be too much cloud cover. You can also find out whats in the sky on any given night. Its helpful if youre looking for certain planets or stars.
Camping in Pennsylvania at Cherry Springs State Park is only available seasonally, from the second Friday in April to November 1st. The park often offers events and tours of the night sky, which can be found on the Cherry Springs website.
Consider the pros and cons of visiting during different seasons. I took my trip to Cherry Springs in June. In retrospect, literally any other month might have been better because I wouldnt have had to stay up so late waiting for the sky to get completely dark.
Visiting during the fall or winter will give you more time to look at the night sky. It can get very cold up on the mountain, even in the summer months, so bundle up.
Gather Up A Few Items
You dont need much to enjoy The Greatest Show on Earth in Cherry Springs, but having these items on hand can help improve the experience:
- Warm clothes/layers
- A flashlight with red filter or cover
- A blanket or camping chairs for comfy star-watching
- A constellation guide or app for your device
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Cherry Springs State Park
|The sky at Cherry Springs State Park, the second International Dark Sky Park and the first in the eastern US, is so dark that the Milky Way casts a visible shadow.
|Location of Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania
|West Branch, Potter, Pennsylvania, United States
|A large stand of cherry trees in the park
|Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
|Cherry Springs State Park
Cherry Springs State Park is an 82-acre Pennsylvania state park in Potter County, Pennsylvania, United States. The park was created from land within the Susquehannock State Forest, and is on Pennsylvania Route 44 in West Branch Township. Cherry Springs, named for a large stand of Black Cherry trees in the park, is atop the dissectedAllegheny Plateau at an elevation of 2,300 feet . It is popular with astronomers and stargazers for having “some of the darkest night skies on the east coast” of the United States, and was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and its Bureau of Parks as one of “25 Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks”.
Overnight Astronomy Observation Field
Image by The Dyrt camper Trip Over Life
In this viewing area you can stay all night, but you must register and pay a per-person usage fee. Fees can be paid per night, or you can buy a galaxy pass from Lyman Run State Park to access the field year-round. For information on the fee schedule and how to pay, see the park bulletin board.
Some benefits of using the overnight astronomy observation field include being able to drive onto the field, and having access to concrete telescope pads, electricity, and wi-fi. White light is prohibited in this area, so any light must be converted to red light. Most people who use this field are serious about their stargazing, so if you just want to kick back and enjoy the view, you might be better off heading to the public viewing area.
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Stargazing At Cherry Springs State Park
Image by The Dyrt camper Trip Over Life
Cherry Springs State Park spans 82 acres in northern Pennsylvania and is bordered by the Susquehannock State Forest. The combination of surrounding forest and its 2300 elevation on the Allegheny Plateau creates night skies rarely seen elsewhere.
The dark skies of Cherry Springs are so striking that the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources named it the first Dark Sky Park, noting that dark night skies are a natural resource.
The first thing on your list should be to see the stars. But if youre looking for other activities, youll find them. There are 85 miles of hiking trails in the Susquehannock State Forest, or you can hit the ATV trails, swim, and fish in nearby Lyman Run State Park.
Hunting is prohibited within Cherry Springs, but you can hunt in Susquehannock. When not actively hunting, be sure to keep your firearm and archery equipment in your vehicle.
Cherry Springs State Park Cabin
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Cherry Springs State Park Cabin. Just a short drive to Cherry Springs State Park. Lodging near cherry springs state park pa.
Private Cabin Lodging a short drive to Cherry Springs State Park. Camping. The Susquehanna Trail passes nearby and offers 85 miles of backpacking and hiking.
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Where To Stay When Visiting Cherry Springs State Park
Despite being pretty much in the middle of nowhere, there are several places to stay near Cherry Springs State Park.
First, Cherry Springs features two campgrounds. In addition to the one mentioned above in the Overnight Astronomy Observation Field, there is a 30-spot rustic campground located adjacent to the Night Sky Public Viewing Area.
This campground fills up quickly, so prior reservations are highly recommended and can be made here.
The campground is described as rustic, which means no flush toilets and no showers. However, each space does have a fire ring, picnic table. There are no RV hookups, though there is a dump station.
If you cant get a spot at Cherry Springs or want a few more amenities, both Lyman Run State Park and Ole Bull State Park are located near Cherry Springs and have great campgrounds. Both parks offer RV hookups, showers, hiking trails, and swimming areas.
If youd rather stay in a hotel, there are several small hotels and bed and breakfasts a short drive away. One nice option is Susquehannock Lodge along Route 6 which even has its own field thats perfect for stargazing.
There are also hotels in Wellsboro, about 45 minutes from the park.
Cherry Springs State Park: The Complete Guide
The secluded and scenic Cherry Springs State Park is situated in Potter County in upstate Pennsylvania, within the north-central part of the Keystone state. With over 80 remote and wooded acres, this expansive destination is surrounded by nearly 300,000 acres of wilderness within the Susquehannock State Forest. Located not far from the New York State border, the entrance to this state park is located along Pennsylvania Route 44 in West Branch Township.
A favorite among hikers and campers, the Susquehannock Trail passes close to Cherry Springs State Park, offers 85 miles of meandering picturesque trails, many with steep inclines and descents.
Famous for its spectacular stargazing opportunities, Cherry Springs State Park happens to be home to exceptionally dark skies. Its in a prime location for viewing the stars and other celestial beingsand attracts both professional astronomers and novice stargazing enthusiasts throughout the year. This park usually hosts special events that coincide with views of the night sky, such as appearances of planets and constellations that draw avid stargazers from across the world.
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