September 22, 2005
Pennsylvania presents awesome state parks, and Little Buffalo is no exception. Whether it is the state-of-the-art pool with slides, fountains, and water umbrellas or the canoe, rowboat, and pedal boat rentals that draw your attention, this park boasts a good time for everyone.
The 88-acre Holman Lake is stocked with large-mouth bass (15 inches long, limit four per day), catfish, and panfish. Brook, rainbow, and brown trout are stocked a few times during the year. Two boat launches are on the east side of the park. In winter, ice fishing and skating are permitted when conditions are right.
Hiking and biking trails are found throughout the park. My favorite hiking trail runs from the dam breast, through the woods, and over to the pool side of the park. For biking, we park along the main road (which has WIDE shoulders for pedestrians) and start from there. Head east to the Blue Ball Tavern and turn right. Go through the tavern parking lot and follow the trail across the covered bridge. Turn right and head up to the dam breast and cross it. At the end, take the trail to your right—you must walk your bike on this portion. Take this trail to the other side of the park and hop back on. Go through the parking lot. To your left is a blue building in the grass. Take the trail (an old rail bed) in front of it (not the uphill one) and follow through the woods. Take a right when a trail heads off that way, down to the creek. Go left along the creek and across a couple foot bridges. Eventually the trail comes back out to the road. It is approximately a 4-mile loop.
The park is built on land with a past with historic attractions that are open to the public. Enjoy a stroll or bike ride through Clay’s Covered Bridge or tour Shoaff’s Mill (closed for renovation until 5/31/2006). Inspect the railroad car that still rests on the old rail bed. An old farmhouse stands where the Blue Ball Tavern once stood and houses historic collectibles from the area.
Picnic areas and playgrounds are found on both sides of the park. Pavilions are available for rent. The stage is on the east side. Creek hikes are allowed, but water shoes are advisable and rocks are slippery.
Special events held at the park include a Halloween night of haunted hay rides, pumpkin carving, and storytelling and a Christmas Walk with thousands of lights and cutouts.
The boat rental and pool are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. For hours, fees, tour, and event times, contact the park office at 717/567-9255, or click on Little Buffalo State Park.
Directions: Take 322 to Newport Exit - Route 34 South. Follow through the town of Newport. Turn right on Little Buffalo State Park Road. Driving distance from the Newport Exit is 4.6 miles. For more directions, try MapQuest.
From journal Pennsylvania Parks