Best Tent Camping Pennsylvania  by Matt Willen

Best Tent Camping: Pennsylvania Guide Book

by Matt Willen (Menasha Ridge Press)
Best Tent Camping Pennsylvania  by Matt Willen
The Keystone State provides a spectacular backdrop for some of the most scenic campgrounds in the country. But how do you know which campgrounds offer the most privacy or the easiest access to Pennsylvania’s impressive first-time campers? Matt Willen has traversed the entire state and compiled the most up-to-date research to steer you to the perfect spot!

© 2017 Matt Willen/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Tent Camping: Pennsylvania" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 50.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 50.

The campground provides you with access to some beautiful backcountry with several recreational opportunities available nearby. Because the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania along Pine Creek attracts the attention of most visitors to the region west of Wellsboro, much of the other area in this neck of the woods tends to get overlooked. But in addition to Pine Creek, many other lovely and out-of-the-way natural and wild areas abound in this part of the state. One such place is the Asaph Run Park and Picnic Area, which has a small campground situated in the pines and hemlocks alongside of Asaph Run just downstream from the confluence of the stream’s right and left forks.
Westfield, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Located just north of Interstate 80 in central Pennsylvania, Bald Eagle State Park is a very popular destination for campers. The main attraction of the park is its 1,700-acre Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir, on which boats of unlimited horsepower are permitted (and you will see some fast and powerful boats here). Although the reservoir is the central focus here, you have lots of options for things to do in the 5,900-acre park other than zip around on the lake. It has areas for hiking, swimming, and picnicking.
Howard, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Black Moshannon is one of the most scenic and pleasant parks to visit in the state. With its lake, beaver ponds, sphagnum bogs, and forest, Black Moshannon State Park is one of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful outdoor retreats. The park sits at about 1,900 feet in elevation atop the Allegheny Plateau, just west of the Allegheny Front, the steep escarpment that rises from the central valley and forms the rim of the plateau. Even in the summer, the nights are cool and the days, though warm, can be breezy.
Philipsburg, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
At 2,240 feet, the campground at Blue Knob has one of the highest elevations of any campground in the state. The nights here are cool, and the hiking offers extraordinary views. The park offers plenty to do, the setting is beautiful, and the park staff diligently keeps things quiet and clean. Even on a holiday weekend, the campground stays remarkably peaceful. The forest here is characteristic northern hardwood—pine, maple, oak, and cherry trees abound—which means it’s spectacular in the fall.
Imler, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
The owners of this campground are really interested in providing their visitors with an excellent camping experience. Located just outside of McConnells Mill State Park in western Pennsylvania, Breakneck Campground provides a unique experience for the tent camper. The campground is owned by the Cheeseman family, who also own Betsy’s Barn, an attractive building across the road from the campground that is available for weddings and other events. The family has been in the Portersville area for many years, and they can tell you much about the history of the area.
Portersville, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Clean. Quiet. Pretty. These three words popped into my head when I arrived at the campground at Chapman State Park. The park has a nice 68-acre lake with a beach for swimming and moorings for visitors with boats. A boat concession operates during the summer. Several small piers for fishing extend from the shore. The park features picnic pavilions, a couple of playgrounds, and about a dozen miles of trails in the forest on the northeast side of the lake opposite the campground. The campground has two loops with a total of 82 sites, some with electrical hookups. The staff at Chapman State Park take environmental learning quite seriously and are happy to answer any questions you might have about the park’s natural history.
Clarendon, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
What many people don’t know about this campground is that its tent-only camping area is one of the best in the state. Located in southern York County, Codorus State Park is perhaps best known for its Lake Marburg, which spans 1,275 acres. The lake is quite popular with anglers, who come to fish its warmwater fishery, and with boaters. Sailing and power boating are both permitted here. In addition to the lake, the state park also has pool and picnic areas, a disc-golf course, hiking trails, and a designated mountain biking area that covers 195 acres of terrain. There is no shortage of things to do at the park.
Hanover, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Situated in a gap on the side of Blue Mountain, the campground at Colonel Denning offers large, private sites and easy access to some spectacular mountain scenery. Colonel Denning State Park does not experience some of the heavy visitation that other state parks do because it is somewhat off the beaten path. Located northwest of Carlisle, it nestles on the long ridge that forms Blue Mountain. Here you are on the southeastern edge of the Valley and Ridge region of Pennsylvania, which extends from the south-central part of the state northeast to the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area.
Newville, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
The rustic structures here were built in the 1930s by the CCC and are now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. There are two state parks with campgrounds at the northern end of the Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. On the eastern rim of the canyon, you’ll find Leonard Harrison State Park with its modern Environmental Interpretive Center and modern canyon overlook. In the canyon’s west rim, you’ll find Colton Point State Park. Although the parks are close to each other, they have very different characters, with Colton Point being the more rustic of the two.
Ansonia, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
The back reaches of this forest can be rather wild and remote, containing verdant bogs and lakes that remain from the retreat of glaciers from the area during the last ice age. Lrocated in the Pocono Mountain region of northeastern Pennsylvania, the Delaware State Forest consists of more than 8,000 acres of land. The back reaches of this forest can be rather wild and remote, containing verdant bogs and lakes that remain from the retreat of glaciers from the area during the last ice age. The forest has healthy populations of black bear, white-tail deer, and other mammalian wildlife. It also provides habitat for a diverse array of birdlife, as well as reptiles that thrive on its wetlands environments.
Canadensis, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Dewdrop offers some wonderful views of Kinzua Bay and is centrally located in a part of the national forest with many recreation opportunities. Located on Forest Road 262, which is part of the Longhouse National Scenic Byway, the Dewdrop Recreation Area and its campground are spread out along an elbow on the west shore of Allegheny Reservoir just south of the point where the main reservoir meets Kinzua Bay. The campground is actually situated on Kinzua Bay, a long extension of the reservoir that extends south for about 10 miles in the valley of the south branch of Kinzua Creek.
Allegheny National Forest, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Although all of the sites at Dingmans are nice, those on the lower-level floodplain of the Delaware River are really in another class, especially the 17 sites that are located right along the river. Much of the campground here is spread out on a broad flat plane among very tall pine and hemlock trees. This upper section of the campground is a fair distance from the river, though the location is quite lovely. The first sites you come to are the electric and RV sites, and farther afield from those are the tent sites.
Dingmans Ferry, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
There is no shortage of things to do within and around Forbes State Forest. The forest has six motorized campsites, four of which provide excellent opportunities for tent camping near other recreational opportunities. These are not campgrounds. They are individual campsites that are accessible by car, and the experience they provide is about as close to a backpacking experience as you can get while still having a vehicle on hand.
Laughlintown, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
The situation of the park in the back of Fowlers Hollow causes it to remain relatively cool during the summertime. Fowlers Hollow State Park is one of those little-known secrets of the Pennsylvania outdoors. Located in the Tuscarora State Forest in western Perry County, the park feels rather remote from many other destinations. It is clean, quiet, and relatively small. The primary recreational activity aside from camping is the lovely picnic area that you pass as you enter the park. Many trails, as well, either pass through the park or are close enough by to easily access from your campsite here. Several of the area creeks offer excellent fishing, and a number of the forest trails are suitable for equestrian use.
New Germantown, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Among the activities you’ll find at the park, the lake provides for several of them. At 167 acres, Frances Slocum Lake provides an ideal habitat for warm-water fish. Electric boats and paddle craft are allowed. Wildlife viewing on the lake and in the wetlands that surround it is excellent. And, if it’s cold enough, you can ice skate on the lake in the winter. Additionally, the park offers many opportunities for hiking, and it has a swimming pool. Given that it is located only 10 miles from the somewhat urban Wilkes-Barre and a few miles farther from Scranton, the park is heavily visited, especially during the summer months.
Wilkes Barre, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
For a campground so close to the city and suburbs, French Creek is surprisingly clean, well maintained, and thoughtfully designed with the tent camper’s interests in mind. Named the 2013 Pennsylvania Park of the Year by the Pennsylvania Parks and Recreation Foundation, French Creek State Park is a large park that offers many recreational activities, including boating, fishing, camping, and hiking. It is adjacent to a National Historic Site (Hopewell Furnace).
Elverson, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
The campground loop at Greenwood Furnace is situated within a beautiful hemlock forest, with its characteristic deep-brown duff and reddish-brown trees, backed by the creek that drains the park lake. Greenwood Furnace State Park is a great place to camp, especially if you are interested in peace and quiet, mountain vistas, and some of the state’s rural culture and history. It is located on the western edge of the rugged Seven Mountains region in central Pennsylvania and is surrounded by the Rothrock State Forest, an area that offers wonderful opportunities for hiking, biking, and picnicking. The park has a six-acre swimming and fishing lake, plenty of hiking trails, and an aesthetically pleasing campground.
Huntingdon, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
The name of the campground area says it all. You can get wonderful scenery; peace and quiet; backcountry hiking, biking, or skiing; and wildlife viewing to your heart’s content. The recreation facilities at Hearts Content were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1936. These include a picnic area, a pavilion, and the campground, which is located on the other side of the forest road from the day-use area. Next to the picnic area is a lovely stand of old-growth forest consisting of pine, hemlock, and beech trees more than 300 years old. A mile-long interpretive trail meanders through this National Scenic Area, and a visit to Hearts Content is incomplete without walking its length. The spectacular trees here provide you with some sense of what Penn’s Woods, as the forests in Pennsylvania were once called, were like before the early 1800s, when logging operations began harvesting timber stands that had stood for centuries.
Warren, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
You can’t say one bad thing about the campground at Hibernia County Park. It is truly a five-star campground. The campground at Hibernia County Park is an absolute gem of a place to spend a night or two. Located just 15 minutes north of US 30 and Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Hibernia County Park offers the closest (and the best) public campground to the metropolitan Philadelphia area. It is a tent camper’s dream. Although RVs are allowed in the campgrounds, there are no water or electric hookups, so it is mostly visited by tent campers or by campers with small trailers.
Coatesville, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Hickory Run is a great place for hiking, fishing, and hunting, as well as other activities. Myriad trails throughout the park range in difficulty from flat and easy to steep, rugged, and difficult. Hickory Run is a large (15,500 acres) state park located in the southern reaches of the Pocono Mountains, not far south of the resort area Lake Harmony. Like the rest of the Poconos, this park bears considerable evidence of glaciation, particularly in its northern section as the park lies at the southern terminus of the extension of the last glacial era. The park is covered with the poor, rocky soil so characteristic of landscapes shaped by glaciers. The glaciers advanced, scouring the land beneath them, and when they retreated the soil they left behind consisted mostly of pulverized granite.
White Haven, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:

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