Keystone State Park

keystone state park

Keystone State Park: A Natural Gem in Pennsylvania

Welcome to Keystone State Park, a 1,200-acre natural haven nestled in Derry Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, just about an hour or so from Pittsburgh. With its picturesque Keystone Lake, extensive hiking trails, and abundant wildlife, this park is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Whether you’re seeking a thrilling camping adventure, a relaxing day at the beach, or a scenic fall foliage experience, Keystone State Park has something for everyone. Join us as we explore the history, activities, and attractions that make Keystone State Park a true gem in Pennsylvania.

A Rich Historical Background

Keystone State Park has a fascinating history that dates back to the early 1900s. It was originally owned by the Keystone Coal and Coke Company, which constructed Keystone Lake to provide water for washing bituminous coal extracted from nearby mines. The lake also served as a recreational spot for the company’s executives, who built a stone lodge for business meetings and leisure activities.

In 1945, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania acquired Keystone Lake, the lodge, and the surrounding land, establishing Keystone State Park. Today, remnants of the coal mining era can be found within the park, adding an intriguing historical dimension to its natural beauty.

Camping and Accommodations

Keystone State Park

Keystone State Park offers two campgrounds that provide a variety of options for overnight stays. The Lakeside Campground, situated on the shores of Keystone Lake, features 40 campsites suitable for tents or campers. The Hillside Campground, located in a more secluded area of the park, offers 60 campsites with electric hook-ups available.

For those seeking a more comfortable camping experience, the park offers 11 modern cabins. These cabins can accommodate up to six guests and are equipped with amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor picnic area.

Exploring Keystone Lake

Keystone Lake is the centerpiece of the park, spanning an impressive 78 acres. It not only provides a stunning backdrop for recreational activities but also serves as a habitat for a variety of fish species. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck catching carp, northern pike, tiger muskellunge, largemouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch, and bullhead catfish.

Boating is another popular activity on Keystone Lake, with non-powered and electric-powered boats permitted. If you don’t have your own watercraft, the park offers boat rentals during the summer months. Enjoy a leisurely paddle or explore the lake’s nooks and crannies while immersing yourself in the serene surroundings.

Hiking Trails for All Levels

Keystone State Park boasts a network of well-maintained hiking trails that cater to all levels of experience. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, you’ll find a trail that suits your preferences.

The Davis Run Trail, a three-mile path, takes you through wetlands and upland forests, offering a diverse range of natural landscapes. For a more leisurely stroll, the Lakeside Loop Trail provides a two-and-a-half-mile loop around the lake, allowing you to soak in the scenic beauty from various angles. If you’re up for a challenge, the Stone Lodge Trail offers a more rugged terrain with a rewarding view at the top.

Abundant Wildlife and Birdwatching Opportunities

Keystone State Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers. The park’s diverse ecosystems attract a wide range of species, providing ample opportunities to observe and appreciate nature’s wonders.

Throughout the year, migratory birds, including warblers, kinglets, buffleheads, herons, and osprey, pass through the park, making it a hotspot for birdwatching. You can also spot resident wildlife such as deer, rabbits, squirrels, and grouse while exploring the park’s trails.

Relaxing Beach and Swimming Area

During the summer months, Keystone State Park offers a sandy beach area where visitors can cool off and enjoy a refreshing swim in Keystone Lake. The beach is open daily from 8:00 AM until sunset, providing the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun. Please note that lifeguards are not provided, so remember to swim responsibly.  The Beach at Keystone Lake is considered one of the best beaches near Pittsburgh.

Keystone State Park

Picnicking with a View

With its scenic views and well-maintained picnic areas, Keystone State Park is an ideal destination for picnicking. Numerous pavilions, groves, and individual picnic tables are scattered throughout the park, offering picturesque spots to enjoy a meal with family and friends. Whether you prefer a lakeside view or a peaceful forest setting, you’ll find the perfect picnic spot to suit your preferences.

Fall Foliage Extravaganza

Keystone State Park is renowned for its breathtaking fall foliage. In fact, it has been ranked as the number one place in the entire United States for spectacular autumn views. As the leaves change colors, the park transforms into a vibrant tapestry of red, orange, and gold hues.

The park’s hiking trails provide excellent vantage points to witness the beauty of fall in Pennsylvania. The McCune Run Trail offers stunning views of the surrounding forest, while the causeway crossing Keystone Lake provides a unique perspective. Don’t miss the opportunity to capture the essence of fall at Keystone State Park.

Nearby Attractions

While Keystone State Park offers an abundance of activities and attractions, there are also several noteworthy sites to explore in the surrounding area. Linn Run State Park, located nearby, is a popular destination for hikers, campers, and picnickers. Explore the park’s trails and discover the remarkable ruins of an abandoned hunting lodge.

Fort Ligonier, a historically accurate reproduction of a British fort from the 18th century, provides a glimpse into Pennsylvania’s colonial history. The museum at Fort Ligonier houses a comprehensive collection of French and Indian War artifacts.

For those seeking natural beauty, Buttermilk Falls in neighboring Indiana County offers a picturesque waterfall experience. Marvel at the cascading water and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

Plan Your Visit to Keystone State Park

Keystone State Park is conveniently located just three miles from the intersection of PA 981 and US 22 in Derry Township, Westmoreland County. The park office is situated at 1150 Keystone Park Road, Derry, PA 15627. If you’re using GPS coordinates, enter 40.376024, -79.379726 to locate the park office.

Whether you’re a Pennsylvania resident or visiting from out of state, Keystone State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the park’s rich history, explore its diverse trails, and enjoy the serenity of Keystone Lake. Plan your visit today and create lasting memories in this natural gem of Pennsylvania.

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