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Codorus State Park
September 21, 2008 - 10:09pm — Don Neske
The 3,452-acre Codorus State Park, in the rolling hills of southern York County, features the 1,275-acre Lake Marburg, a 190 site campgrounnd, trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, and more!
We visited Codorus State Park in late August and had a blast! Located in the rolling hills of southern York County, Codorus Park has ample trails, a huge swimming pool, and the 1,275-acre Lake Marburg with its 26 miles of shoreline.
If you’re camping, Codorus State Park makes a great base from which to see the general area. The Gettysburg National Military Park is close by, as is the small city of Hanover. Surprisingly, our kids loved Gettysburg, and said it was like history coming alive! It might interest some folks to take the drive over to the Harley Davidson factory in York, PA for a tour. The tours are free and last about an hour. (Just check the schedule and don’t go anywhere near the plant when a shift is letting out – a mistake we made.)
The park staff is very proud of their local wild life, especially the birds, and are quick to point out that Lake Marburg is a wonderful place to see migrating waterfowl and shorebirds who use the area as a rest-stop. The Saturday night that we were there the park put on a very informative owl lecture and night hike that was attended by about 100 campers or more. The guest of honor was a barn owl that had the kids (and more than a few adults) on the edge of their seats.
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When visiting the park, you'll need supplies, and there is no better or closer place to get them than Baker's General Store. It's about a mile down the road from the park on Rt. 216. They have everything from live bait and fishing equipment to camping supplies and prepared food like hoagies. If the kids are hot from a long day of hiking, stop in and get them some ice cream!
If you are looking for an excuse to buy a good pair of binoculars, Codorus is it. We purchased a pair of Bushnell 16x60 field glasses, and they were worth every penny. Testing them out, I could see the letters on a license plate 300 meters away.
At Codorus, we saw a Heron across the lake about 150 meters, and it seemed like it was 10 feet away. You might want to splurge and get the tripod, because it’s hard to hold those suckers still enough when you’re looking at something at 300+ meters. And trust me, these babies are good well beyond that distance.
The lake is also popular for boating of all types, but you’re probably most likely to see pontoon boats and sailboats. Anglers love the lake for warm water fishing and can also fish Codorus Creek for trout. There are also many fine places to picnic.
Camping: flush toilets and hot showers
The campground opens the second Friday in April and closes the third Sunday in October. There are about 190 campsites which are suitable for tents or recreational vehicles up to 50 feet in length. Many campsites have electric hookups. Seven campsites with electricity can accommodate people with disabilities. Fifteen rustic sites are available for tents only. Hot showers, flush toilets and a sanitary dump station are available.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day the maximum stay in the campground is 14 consecutive nights. All camping equipment must be removed from the park for 48 hours before returning.
We took our new dog for the family’s first camping-with-dog trip, and there were some lessons to be learned. Even though you can bring dogs to these places, they are really only marginally dog friendly. If you stick to the rules of keeping them on a leash of six feet in length and tied to a tether not much longer than that while in camp, you and your dog would be miserable. Dogs need to run. They need space. Parks need to lighten up. And dog owners need to be more responsible, so they can.
The 1,275-acre Lake Marburg is a warm-water fishery. Popular species are yellow perch, bluegill, northern pike, crappie, largemouth bass, catfish, muskellunge and tiger muskellunge. Bow fishing is permitted in the shallow cove areas.
Lake Marburg is in the Big Bass Program. Large and smallmouth bass must be a minimum of 15 inches long to be harvested and the daily limit is four fish of either species, combined.
East Branch Codorus Creek, along Park Road, is an approved trout stocking stream. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and PA Fish and Boat Commission rules and regulations apply.
Hunting and Firearms:
About 2,800 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel and waterfowl. Hunting in Codorus State Park is limited to the use of three types of short-range weapons, shotgun, muzzleloader and bow during the appropriate hunting seasons. Waterfowl hunting is especially popular and 25 duck blinds are awarded by lottery on the third Saturday in September.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas.
Hiking: 20 miles of trails
Although the park only has two “hiking only” trails, there are many more miles of equestrian and trail biking trails that can also be hiked. All trails are in hunting areas so visitors should wear fluorescent orange during hunting seasons.
Mary Ann Furnace Trail - 4.5 miles - From the trailhead along Black Rock Road, the trail begins on a boardwalk through the wetlands of Black Rock Flats then climbs through a tall deciduous forest that borders old farm fields and comes to a Y. The left trail eventually follows the shoreline of the lake. The right trail climbs to the top of the hill and gives a view of the campground. Both trails interconnect and connect to a spur that leads to the campground. A third spur loops along the old farm fields and by the old Rummel barn.
LaHo Trail - 1.5 miles - 1.5 miles - This trail follows the shoreline of Wildasin Flats. The wetlands make this an excellent area for birding, year-round. The trail is primarily a single-track path that hugs the hillside, although a few trail sections ascend steep terrain and portions of the trail can be muddy. On a grassy knoll in the eastern part of the trail is Wildasin Cemetery, which has a tombstone dated 1722.
Trail Biking: 6.5 miles of trails
The designated 195-acre Trail Biking Area is on the northern shore of the park. The trails crisscross forests and climb short hills. During hunting seasons, bikers should wear fluorescent orange for safety. Please respect other trail users.
Horseback Riding: 8 miles of trails
Ranger Trail travels over rolling hills, through forests and fields, crosses streams and passes near Lake Marburg. There are many views of the lake, including Ranger Overlook which has benches and hitching posts.
The 40-trailer parking lot is off of the Main Launch Day Use Area entrance road.
Due to the volume of boat traffic on Lake Marburg, scuba diving is only permitted in Sinsheim Cove, in the east side of the park. Divers must register and show their certification at the park office before diving, then sign out at the park office after diving. Divers must use the buddy system and a diving flag for safety.
The site of the 2005 state champion-ships, Codorus Disc Golf Course is rated one of the most challenging courses in Pennsylvania. The course is just inside of the entrance to the Marina Day Use Area and affords views of the lake. The 54 holes have paved tees and are spread through fields and forests.
On the west side of Marina Road is a nine-hole, mini disc golf course for children. During the summer, golf discs can be purchased at the marina concession building.
The summer hours are 11 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Admission is charged. Swimmers arriving after 5 p.m. receive a discount. Season passes are available at the park office.
The pool is very popular and reaches capacity on holidays and many weekends. Mid-week swimming is often less crowded.
A seasonal snack bar has hot and cold foods and beverages.
Due to the extreme water level fluctuations of Lake Marburg, it is impossible to maintain a swimming beach. Swimming in the lake is prohibited.
Boating: up to 20 hp motors permitted
The 1,275-acre Lake Marburg has seven boat launch ramps around the lake. All are open to the public, but the campground launch is only for the use of registered campers.
Motorboats must display a boat registration from any state. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration from any state; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks that are available at most state park offices; launch use permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Codorus State Park Hanover, PA, 17331
Phone: 1 717-637-281639° 47' 41.352" N, 76° 54' 8.0532" W