Scenic USA - Pennsylvania

Hickory Run State Park

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Massive boulder field, Hickory Run State Park - Pennsylvania

Photo by Marty Straub
Marty's Parks Photos

   Located in the western foothills of the Pocono Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania, Hickory Run State Park is centered on two outstanding features, an excellent trout stream and an incredible mass of boulders. Nearly 16,000 acres, the Carbon County park offers a huge picnic area, swimming beach, hunting areas, and 43 miles of hiking trails. The park also hosts winter activities, such as snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
   Extensive woodlands and a most unusual geological formation makes this an excellent park for environmental education. Measuring over 400 feet wide, and stretching out for over a third of a mile is the largest boulder field of its kind in the eastern Appalachian Mountains. Comprised of a jumble of large rounded rocks, the boulder field is loosely packed and is thought to be at least 12 feet deep. At times you can hear Hickory Run flowing under this collection of red sandstone boulders. Perched on the Pocono Plateau, the boulder field is spread over a flat valley. Average sized boulders measuring 4 feet in diameter, with some of the largest rocks measure upwards of 25 feet in length. Located on the most southern extent of the Wisconsin Ice Sheet, huge layers of sandstone fractured on natural planes of weakness. Over thousands of years a natural freeze and thaw cycle broke off large sheets of rock, and sent them tumbling into the valley. Further movement eventually smoothed and rounded the rocks, looking much like you see in the boulder field today. Rain and snowmelt have washed away the fine clay and sand material between the rocks, leaving this incredible mass of boulders.

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