Maurice K Goddard State Park is a picturesque state park located in western Pennsylvania. It covers an area of 2,856 acres and offers plenty of recreational activities for visitors. The park was named after Maurice K Goddard, a prominent conservationist who played a significant role in the development of Pennsylvania’s state park system, heading the addition of 45 state parks during his time as a government official.
The park features a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, boating, and biking. There are over 126 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty, that offer a great way to explore the land surrounding the park’s star attraction, Lake Wilhelm. The park’s Lake Wilhelm is a popular spot for fishing and boating, and there are several boat launches and fishing piers available for visitors to use.
In addition to its outdoor activities, Maurice K Goddard State Park also offers several picnic areas and playgrounds for kids to enjoy. The park’s nature center provides educational programs and exhibits on the park’s ecology and wildlife, typically offered throughout the summer months.
With its beautiful scenery and abundance of activities, Maurice K Goddard State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts easily accessed from Interstate 79 in western Pennsylvania.
Seasons and Hours
Maurice K. Goddard State Park is open every day of the year at sunrise and offers various facilities and activities for visitors to enjoy throughout the season. Day-use areas close at dusk, so visitors are advised to plan their trips accordingly.
The park provides a variety of facilities, including a park office, boat rental, and a fueling station at the marina building. The boat rental services are available from May 1 through Labor Day, 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
Recreational activities such as biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing are also available.
Whether traveling on Interstate 79 or residing in Sandy Lake or Greenville, the park’s location is easily accessible via Lake Wilhelm Road or Sheakleyville Road. If you’re looking for a day trip from Pittsburgh or Erie, this state park is the perfect destination!
Surrounded by mature forests, abundant wetlands, and a diverse ecosystem that provides habitats for wildlife and common game species, Maurice K. Goddard State Park offers outdoor opportunities for individuals of all ages.
Recreation: Things to Do
At Maurice K. Goddard State Park, visitors have the opportunity to partake in a wide variety of recreational activities. With its 2,856-acre expanse, the park boasts the impressive 1,680-acre Lake Wilhelm, perfect for enjoying water sports, fishing, or simply taking in the beauty of the surroundings.
But that’s not all! Whether it be bike rides, hiking, or cross-country skiing, the park offers fun activities during all seasons.
Enjoy Lake Wilhelm
Lake Wilhelm, the centerpiece within Maurice K. Goddard State Park in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, is a beautiful destination that offers visitors a variety of recreational activities and water sports. The 1,680-acre lake is perfect for fishing, boating, and other water activities.
Visitors can take advantage of the park’s boat launches, marinas, and range of watercraft available for rent. Different types of boats, such as pontoons, motorboats, canoes, and kayaks, are available for rent at affordable rates.
There are eight launches around the lake where you can put your own boats in, whether you bring your fishing boat or your kayak.
The lake is known for its abundant species of fish such as largemouth bass, walleye, catfish, and crappie. Fishing enthusiasts can test their angling skills here and catch some of the big fish that thrive in the lake.
Overall, Lake Wilhelm provides visitors with an opportunity to enjoy various recreational activities and water sports.
Biking around Lake Wilhelm
Visitors to Maurice K. Goddard State Park can enjoy beautiful views of Lake Wilhelm and the surrounding park area while biking on its scenic trail. The park offers a fantastic paved biking trail, the John C. Oliver multipurpose trail.
This 12-mile paved trail loops around the lake, offering bikers views of both the water and thick green forests. The trail is suitable for bikers of all skill levels, making it a great option for families and those who want an easy, yet scenic ride.
Along the way, riders can stop and take a break at one of the park’s recreational facilities or seek out views of the park’s wildlife.
Visitors can bring their own bikes or rent them. The park offers bike rentals, which are really easy to use by scanning a QR code, via the Koloni app. Once payment occurs, the bike lock will be released and you are free to ride. When finished, just lock the bike back up at one of the park’s bike racks.
This isn’t a completely flat paved bike trail. There are a few short hills that will get your heart rate up, perfect for a little workout!
All bikers under age 12 must wear a helmet while biking in the park.
Hiking the Trails
Maurice K. Goddard State Park offers hikers a chance to explore the park’s diversity via two great short hiking trails, in addition to the multipurpose bike trail already covered, each with its unique appeal.
The popular Falling Run Nature Trail provides a beautiful short loop following an old logging path. The trail is perfect for hikers of all skill levels and offers a 0.7-mile loop. Hikers can enjoy the beauty of the park’s hemlock forest while exploring Falling Run’s small cascades.
The Goddard McKeever Trail is a bit more challenging and takes hikers along the hillside at the opposite corner of the lake. This 2.8-mile trail, one way, offers hikers a chance to spot wildlife species such as bald eagles, deer, and other small birds and mammals. This trail leads to the McKeever Environmental Learning Center, adjacent to the park.
For those seeking a leisurely walk, head out and back along the multipurpose trail for as far as you’d like to go, from any of the access points around the lake.
Hunting enthusiasts will find ample opportunities at Maurice K. Goddard State Park. The park allows hunting during established seasons and times set forth by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Hunters must comply with all rules and regulations, obtain proper permits and licenses, and adhere to designated hunting areas.
Common game species such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and small game like squirrel and rabbit can be hunted in the park.
For hunters who want to explore beyond the park, there are several nearby state game lands that can be accessed for hunting. State Game Lands No. 270 is adjacent to the park, to the west. Hunting opportunities, regulations, and permitted species vary on the state game lands.
It is essential for hunters to familiarize themselves with all regulations, including bag limits and safety requirements, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. As always, it’s crucial to hunt ethically and responsibly to maintain a sustainable and healthy ecosystem.
Maurice K. Goddard State Park offers a wide array of recreational activities, including outdoor winter activities for enthusiasts. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities in the park, with the southern half of the multipurpose trail being transformed with snow. You’ll have to bring your own equipment.
Lake Wilhelm also offers ice fishing opportunities and a designated ice skating area at Launch #3 when conditions permit. You’ll also have to bring your own equipment for this activity.
Lastly, near the dam is a hill designated for sledding in the winter. When the hill is covered in snow, it provides a great slope for kids (and kids at heart) to enjoy racing down on the white powder.
Maurice K. Goddard State Park welcomes pets but has established rules and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit for all visitors.
Pets must be kept on a leash that is no longer than six feet at all times and under the direct control of the owners.
Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up their pet’s waste and properly disposing of it in designated receptacles.
As long as pet owners abide by these rules and regulations, pets are welcomed and can enjoy the park’s beautiful scenery and recreational activities right along with their human companions.
One of the best ways to experience the Pennsylvania outdoors is by camping in the beautiful scenery. However, there is no camping area within this state park.
Thankfully, there are several nearby campgrounds to choose from. The two most convenient campgrounds are Camp Wilhelm Campground just to the south of Lake Wilhelm, and Goddard Park VacationLand Campground on the north side of the lake.
These campgrounds provide a variety of camping options to suit needs, ranging from basic tent sites to sites with full hookups for RVs.
Additionally, some of the campgrounds have cabins, lodges, and yurts for rent. This means visitors can enjoy all the benefits of camping without sacrificing comfort and convenience.
Many campgrounds are located within a short drive of the park’s recreational facilities and offer a wide range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts.
FAQs: Maurice K Goddard State Park
Yes! All Pennsylvania state parks are free to explore. Some activities, like boat rentals and camping, do have fees.
Pymatuning State Park is the largest in Pennsylvania, covering 16,892 acres. The 17,088-acre Pymatuning Reservoir that is featured in Pymatuning State Park is the largest lake in the Commonwealth, even though it is manmade.
Mont Alto is the oldest park still in the Pennsylvania state park system, established in 1902. It’s small, at only 24 acres, but is home to a beautiful picnic shelter.
More Nearby State Parks to Explore
While Maurice K Goddard State Park is a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of other nearby state parks to explore as well. One such park is McConnells Mill State Park, located just a short 40-minute drive away.
McConnells Mill offers a unique landscape filled with hiking trails, beautiful waterfalls (Alpha Falls, Breakneck Falls, and Hells Hollow Falls), and a gorge carved out by Slippery Rock Creek. Visitors can also enjoy fishing, kayaking, and rock climbing in the park.
Another nearby state park is Moraine State Park, which boasts the 3,225-acre Lake Arthur. The lake is perfect for boating, fishing, and swimming, and the park also offers hiking and biking trails.
For those looking for more swimming and beach activities, head north to Erie and explore the beaches of Presque Isle State Park! There is plenty of beachfront to choose from.
Hikers should head north to Erie Bluffs State Park, where you can explore the towering bluffs with views out over Lake Erie. You might even find a trail to an undeveloped beach!
No matter which nearby state park you choose to explore, you’re sure to find plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure and relaxation.
Maurice K Goddard State Park is a hidden gem that offers lots of space for outdoor recreation. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape into nature or an active adventure, this park has it all. Choose your favorite activity, get out, and explore all that this beautiful park has to offer.