Little Buffalo State Park is easily accessible from Route 322 in Perry County, Pennsylvania. Take Route 34 south through Newport and follow the signs to the state park. Turn right onto Little Buffalo Road and about a mile down the road, take a left onto State Park Road to get to the Day Use Area, where Spring ephemeral wildflowers can be seen.
The Fisherman’s Trail is a one mile trail that begins near the Day Use Area. It is a difficult trail for a short piece that takes you up and over some really big rocks. You’ll have to be able to climb the rocks or stairs to take the upper part of the trail.
To get to the Fisherman’s Trail from the Day Use Area parking lot, head toward the playground and continue south past the entertainment pavilion. Cross the small stream and pass the Way Car No. 12, which is an old narrow-gauge railroad car.
From the wide trail near the old railroad car follow the hiking sign to get to the Fisherman’s Trail.
From the trail sign the terrain gets steeper and rocky.
In places it’s not too obvious where the exact trail is so just keep following the yellow tree blazes to stay on the Fisherman’s Trail.
Glaciers deposited these big rocks and piled them up lke so many pebbles.
After the rocky and hilly section the trail runs downhill and flattens out to the lake level. From here the trail is an easy walk.
The end of the Fisherman’s Trail empties out into a picnic area right off the lake. There are plenty of picnic tables and a few grills, too. A bathroom is near this end of the trail, but it will only be open during the summer months, not in April or out-of-season.
Follow the lake side a little further and you’ll come upon the area where you can rent paddle boats. This area of Holman Lake is for boating, fishing, and watching nature and people. Besides rowboats, canoes or kayaks, only small electric motors are allowed on the 88-acre lake. No swimming allowed at this spot. If you want to go swimming at Little Buffalo State Park, check out their fantastic pool which is just beyond the boat rental and more easily reached from the Main Picnic Area gate on Little Buffalo Road.
I saw a couple of common loons drifting across the lake today. This is a great place to see migrating ducks and other waterfowl.
The Fisherman’s Trail was a nice trail and it got me breathing heavy in the beginning of the trail down by the dammed end of the lake because it’s really quite steep and rocky. After you climb up and over and then down the rocky area the trail widens out to a relatively flat pathway that follows the edge of the lake.
There are no wildflowers on this trail, but I did see lots of moss on fallen logs. The only interesting plant I found was Ground Pine, Lycopodium tristachyum, an evergreen, low-growing perennial of shaded woodlands. It’s also called Ground Cedar because the leaves are very small and flat and grow in rounded, fan-like shapes. Look for these “miniature pine trees” on the lower part of the trail near the dam.
Returning to the Day Use Area you could follow the lower section of the trail closer to the lake’s edge, which is more like a footpath, instead of taking the higher part of the trail through the rocky section.
This section of the trail has a lot of rocks and roots to trip over!
Once you come to the dam you have two options. Either take the steps up to the Fisherman’s Trail, where you’ll have to go by a few rocks getting back to the trail head, or cross the dam and take the steps down toward the parking area.
48 steps up to the top!
View from the dam end of Holman Lake, an 88-acre lake in Little Buffalo State Park, Newport, Pennsylvania.
The scenery was rugged and beautiful at the top of the trail and serene under the hemlocks and pines near the lake. Didn’t see one single wild flower anywhere on the Fisherman’s Trail on 3 April 2010, the day these photos were taken. At Little Buffalo State Park the best views of wild flowers are along the Mill Race Trail.