This 82-acre state park in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, sits within Susquehannock State Forest, 262,000 acres of remote woodlands in Potter County that are perfect for stargazing.
Northwestern Pennsylvania is home to a wealth of areas for outdoor adventure, ranging from the 85-mile Susquehannock Trail to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania (also known as the Pine Creek Gorge) to the Kinzua Sky Walk, a reinvention of the landmark viaduct that provides travelers a glimpse into the structure’s history.
It is also where travelers will find Susquehannock State Forest, 262,000 acres of remote woodlands in Potter County. Contained within the state forest is the 82-acre Cherry Springs State Park, named for the thick stands of black cherry trees originally found there.
Cherry Springs State Park is known as a destination for stargazers thanks to the low levels of light pollution in the area, with Potter County having some of the darkest skies in the eastern United States. Cherry Springs is on the International Dark-Sky Association’s list of Dark Sky Parks and offers programs that help stargazers make the most of their visit, even beyond the summer months that most of us commonly associate with stargazing.
The park is open year-round for public night-sky viewing, although the view of the sky shifts with the changing seasons. A glimpse of the expansive, star-studded Milky Way is visible through October, while constellations like the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia can be seen year-round. During the winter, Orion appears with its easy-to-spot band of three stars on the mythological hunter’s belt.
For visitors seeking an overnight stay at Cherry Springs State Park, the Cherry Springs Rustic Campground takes reservations through October and has 30 sites without electricity. (The astronomy field does offer electrical connections that must be shared when in heavy use.) Campers are encouraged to keep artificial lights low to preserve the integrity of the area’s night-sky viewing and campfires are prohibited. 4639 Cherry Springs Rd., Coudersport, Pennsylvania 16915, 814/435-1037, dcnr.pa.gov