To see flora, fauna, and diverse habitat, I count Raccoon Creek State Park, in Hookstown as the best place in all of western Pennsylvania. It is a very large park, with friendly, and an especially dedicated staff. At RCSP I have seen more than 78 species of butterflies including the extraordinary Orange-barred Sulphur and Goatweed Leafwing butterflies! My favorite trail, called Nichol Road Trail, begins at route 168 and continues along the margins of Doak field. Butterflies along this trail are perfect as they can be! That is to say, they haven’t started to shed their wing scales. Their wings are not scratched, nor torn or bitten by birds. Overall, these butterflies are particularly handsome.
Doak Field, accessed about ¾ mile down the trail, is a very rare, 100+ acre meadow. In the east, this side of the Mississippi River, huge meadows like Doak Field have all but disappeared. We owe the loss of large fields to farming, development, and the succession that gradually changes abandoned fields to forest. In addition to all of its other fabulous aspects, Doak Field makes Raccoon Creek State Park a butterfly destination that’s well worth a field visit.