Parks and Recreation
Tohickon Valley Park (612 acres)
Cafferty Road, Point Pleasant, PA
(215) 297-0754 (in season)
Park is open all year
Printable Map of Tohickon Valley Park
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It is comprised of 22 family or individual campsites and 2 group camping areas. Nearest to the Tohickon Creek are rustic cabins (1 & 2) and modern cabins (3 & 4). Campers have ample room and are a very short walk to the creek side. Uphill from the cabins and nearby to the campground is Tohickon Valley Pool - open Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Prior to the county buying up the current land beginning in 1962, cabins 3 and 4 were privately owned by families using them as vacation homes. The owner of cabin 4 was about to build a private homestead at the group campsite when the county bought cabins 3 & 4. The county had previously bought cabins 1 & 2. Most of the current trails, used mainly for mountain biking and hiking were on logging roads. Oak, Hickory, Tulip Popular, Hemlock and White Pines were used extensively. The Tulip Poplar is the most colorful with greenish, orange flowers and maple-shaped leaves. Look for these blooms in middle to late spring. They are usually the straightest and tallest trees in the forest.
The cabins and campgrounds are a favorite during the well-known water releases in late March and early November. For 2 days, water flows from Lake Nockamixon at a rate of 500 cubic feet/second, turning the quiet Tohickon Creek into a raging class 3 & 4 whitewater playground. Paddlers from as far away as Maine piggy-back its length from Ralph Stover State Park to Point Pleasant. If you want to come out and view this event, the best rapids are around cabin 4.
(To-hick-han) Lenape word meaning "Deer Bone Creek"
The Tohickon Creek actually begins in Richland Township but for purposes of this article, we will focus on the stretch from the dam at Lake Nockamixon to Point Pleasant. This comprises 11.5 miles with alternating bands of Triassic shales, sandstones, and argillites, which line its bed. It has been identified and may one day be classified as a National Natural Landmark. The stream is currently classified as a (CWF) cold water fishery and is stocked with trout each year. Surveys conducted by the Bucks County Audubon Society state that the creek valley houses 82 bird species, including 4 species of rare concern and 10 rare breeders.
For more information, please contact the Audubon Society at (215) 345-0210.
The Tohickon Creek is reputed to be one of the cleanest in the state. High water quality is evidenced by several rare species including Riverweed (higher plant able to attach itself to rocks through fast-moving water), a river sponge and several species of freshwater mussels (not the harmful kind). Tohickon Creek is the second largest stream in Bucks County, next to the Neshaminy Creek. Large dams and gristmills were once scattered along its banks. Today, only the Stover-Myers Mill remains, also part of the Bucks County Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Two covered bridges span the creek on the E. Rockhill-Haycock line.
High Rocks is located on Tory Road, a short distance from Tohickon Valley Park. This scenic overlook of the Tohickon Creek is part owned by the county and part owned by the state. Two hundred foot cliffs of red Brunswick shale rise above the creek. This rock type is common in Bucks County and formed along an ancient fault line. High Rocks affords climbing enthusiasts the opportunity to scale vertical cliffs and represents one of the major climbing areas in the country. Trails on either side lead you to Tohickon Valley Park or Ralph Stover State Park and are excellent for mountain biking and hiking as previously mentioned. Spectacular overlooks of the creek are also a photographer's paradise.
For the nature-lover, Tohickon Valley Park, High Rocks, Stover-Myers Mill and the Tohickon Creek offer a myriad of photographic opportunities and a chance to see many flora and fauna up close. In the fields and meadows, you'll find bluebirds that come to nest in the spring. Nestled amongst the woodlands are pileated woodpeckers, the largest in the woodpecker family. Hawks, owls, and woodcocks can also be seen. Raptors are often sighted riding the thermals above High Rocks. This area is home to the true (17 year) cicada which burrows underground for its nymphal stage feeding on roots. These are smaller and reddish in color compared to the larger, greenish cicada you see and here each summer.
Copperhead snakes, although not known to be aggressive, can be found in and around rock piles along the creek. In the late spring, you can usually smell the fragrance of Multiflora Rose, a white flower that is unfortunately not a native and which many people try to eliminate. Other flowers fill the air and this area can easily remind you of areas much farther north, where the mountains house so many fragrant aromas. An oxbow is visible from High Rocks and through time, the Tohickon Creek may form an oxbow lake. An oxbow is where the creek takes a 90-degree bend, turns around and goes 90 degrees again, leaving a peninsula. Eventually, sedimentation fills up and a lake is formed. A few more interesting facts deal with the geology of the creek where mud beds, fossil mudcracks can be found. These are sedimentary rocks that formed into fossils with a crack in them.
The forest is mostly hardwoods as previously mentioned. Old stone walls still remain that marked property lines. They were dry walls that remained stacked during all this time. The Tohickon Valley is especially attractive in the fall. The dramatic transformations that the valley goes through have produced award-winning photographs. Take a walk among the many trails on an early summer morning. Be sure to take your binoculars and your camera. This prized jewel of the Bucks County Parks will bring you back time and time again.
See you on the trails!
For more information on any of these parks or other parks, please contact the main office at Core Creek Park, (215) 757-0571.