Camping Pennsylvania  by Bob Frye

Camping Pennsylvania Guide Book

by Bob Frye (Falcon Guides)
Camping Pennsylvania  by Bob Frye
This guide to nearly 100 public campgrounds in the state of Pennsylvania is perfect for tent and RV campers alike. Within each of the campground listings is vital information on location, road conditions, fees, reservations, available facilities, and recreational activities. The listings are organized by geographic area, and thorough site maps will help simplify the search for the perfect campground. In addition, Camping Pennsylvania provides useful tips on camping etiquette, camping with children, and enjoying--or avoiding--the state's diverse and abundant wildlife.

© 2013 Bob Frye/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Camping Pennsylvania" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 99.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 99.

The Russell T. Letterman Campground features more modern amenities such as showers and flush toilets, but is also more exposed to the sun. Some of the sites on the outside edges of the campground’s two loops offer the most space. The Primitive Camping Area can handle tents and smaller RVs and is more wooded, but it has just vault toilets. This is a big park—about 5,900 acres—that has 1,730-acre Foster Joseph Sayers Lake as its centerpiece. The lake is nestled between steep ridges and is a very popular fishery, especially for those who pursue black crappies, bluegills, and largemouth bass.
Howard, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Water is supposed to be blue, right? Not here. Black Moshannon Lake is fed by clear springs, but that water passes through several bogs populated with sphagnum moss and other plants on the way to the lake. As a result the water ends up a dark brown by the time it gets to the lake. Imagine water poured through a tea bag and you can understand the effect. Paddling the dark waters in a canoe or kayak, especially when you get to the sections covered in floating wildflowers, is a uniquely gorgeous experience. An elevated walking path that extends into the bog allows you to experience it on foot. This is also a wonderful place to hike if you like a big-woods feel—the park has 20 miles of trails of its own and is surrounded by 43,000 acres of state forest. The 1.2-mile Sleepy Hollow Trail is a favorite in spring, when wildflowers are in bloom.
Philipsburg, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Blue Knob is best known for its downhill skiing in winter. It is, after all, home to the second- tallest mountain in the state, one that stands just 67 feet lower than Mount Davis in nearby Somerset County. But it’s also a great place to hike in warmer weather, especially if you like scenic views. There are 18 miles of hiking trails—not counting a 26-mile backpacking trail that passes through the park—ranging from easy, kid- friendly ones to others that will test your stamina. There’s some really good fishing to be had for stocked and wild trout as well. Mountain bikers also visit here, with three trails in particular—Crist Ridge, Rock ‘N’ Ridge, and Mountain View—open to expert bikers.
Imler, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This campground offers two double sites as well as an organized group tenting area. Drivers should be aware of low branches and power lines, especially at parking aprons. Situated where Brokenstraw Creek and Irvine Run empty into the Allegheny River, this campground is surrounded by lots of wildlife that often can be seen by walking the Seneca Interpretive Trail, with its abundance of apple trees. What really draws people to this campground though is that it’s a wonderful launch spot for some paddling.
Warren, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Besides its interesting history, this park is unique for one particular reason: It’s home to the only eighteen-hole golf course located within a Pennsylvania state park. Built in the 1920s, the par-68 course is one of the oldest in south-central Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Forest Fire Museum Association has a small museum across from the park office now, with plans in the works to build a much larger discovery center. The park offers one two-story home for rent, and has an organized group tenting area. Chinquapin Campground is on a wooded hillside, shaded and close to the pool. Hosack Run Campground is moderately level and has more modern restrooms.
Fayetteville, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This park has 3 cottages and 2 yurts for rent and an organized group tenting area. This is a relatively small park with a big feel. It’s only about 800 acres but is situated next to the 500,000-plus-acre Allegheny National Forest and some other public ground, so it’s a bit of a tucked-away gem. It’s also another site that’s great for families and children. The relatively large sandy beach was redone just a few years ago, so it’s clean and pretty, and a large concession stand on the edge will help you keep the kids fed. There are grassy areas for playing games, a playground, and, adjacent to the beach, a boat rental where you can rent a canoe or kayak. There’s a fishing pier nearby and lots of shore access, so you can do a lot of exploring too.
Clarendon, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Cherry Springs is famous all out of proportion to its size—only 48 acres—because it’s surrounded by 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest and little else. That’s the draw. The lack of any development over the past 200 years and the absence of resultant light pollution make Cherry Springs perhaps the best place on the entire eastern seaboard to get a look at the night skies. This park has hosted the Woodsmen’s Carnival, a lumberjack competition, on the first weekend of each August since 1952. That weekend is by far the busiest of the year for the campground.
Wellsboro, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Located as close as it is to the more famous Cook Forest State Park, Clear Creek sometimes gets overlooked. That’s too bad. You can swim at a small man- made lake, and there’s some exceptional hiking to be had on trails leading to scenic overlooks and passing by and through rhododendron and mountain laurel that flowers in early June. But the park’s main attraction is the Clarion River. It’s a great river to float in a canoe, kayak, or even tube, especially in early summer, before water levels can get too low. You can bring your own boat or rent one from one of the many liveries nearby. Either way, be sure to bring a fishing rod with you; trout and small-mouth bass are plentiful and fun to catch.
Sigel, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This is a big park with a big lake—the 1,275-acre Lake Marburg. Much of what goes on in the park centers around that water, which interestingly is owned by a local paper company that still uses the impoundment for its water supply. You can boat in your own craft—the campground has its own boat launch—or a rented one and scuba dive in one cove or fish for such species as muskies and tiger muskies, largemouth bass, northern pike, and panfish. The park is also home to a special disc golf course. Rated one of the most challenging courses in Pennsylvania, it has hosted the state championship several times. The course features fifty-four holes with paved tees and winds through fields and forests. There’s even a mini disc golf course nearby for children.
Hanover, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
The campground, run by Crawford County, is a series of loops near the causeway. Like most Corps facilities, the 333-acre Woodcock Creek Lake offers fine fishing for muskies, northern pike, panfish, walleyes, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. If you want to keep your feet on solid ground, Bossard Nature Study Trail, located on the north side of the lake, has markers identifying 198 tree and shrub species and two observation blinds where you can sit and watch for wildlife. About 1,000 feet of the trail is paved. Hikers, walkers, and joggers can also follow an access road that traverses the top of the dam, nearly 1 mile across, to enjoy some spectacular views.
Meadville, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
his is another great park for hiking, with 18 miles of hiking trails. The 2.5-mile Flat Rock Trail rises to a scenic vista of the Cumberland Valley. Another trail leads to an overlook where you can see the “S” in the Doubling Gap. A hiking and nature trail guide, available at the park office, explains where these and other trails go and what you can expect to see along the way of each one. The park also hosts a summer concert series. It’s a fun time. Local bands play on the park lawn for audiences who set up chairs or spread blankets on the ground and eat and drink goods from a concession stand. The concerts are free, although the park’s Friends group accepts donations, with the proceeds used to pay for improvements to park facilities.
Newville, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
All the campground’s sites offer decent privacy. Its ten walk-in sites—particularly numbers 15, 16, 17, and 18—offer the most solitude. There are many ways to enjoy the canyon. Trails lead from the canyon rim to the stream, and seasonally, before water levels drop, you can paddle the stream, which features a couple of Class II or III rapids. Perhaps the best way to experience the canyon from the bottom up, though, is to bike the 62-mile Pine Creek Trail. Declared by some to be one of the ten best rail-trails in the entire country, it’s a limestone gravel pathway that leads past rock outcrops and waterfalls.
Ansonia, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
The area occupied by this very popular park was once known as the “Black Forest” because its towering trees completely shaded the forest floor from the sun. Amazingly that’s still the case in places today. In a state that was once all but completely logged over, Cook Forest is home to some of the most impressive stands of old-growth timber anywhere. The Log Cabin Inn, the park’s environmental center, is a large log building crafted in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It houses wildlife displays and old logging tools. The Indiana and River Cabins are also on the National Register of Historic Places. There’s some very nice canoeing to be done on the Clarion River and some good trout fishing to be had in Toms Run.
Clarion, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This is a partially forested campground surrounded by a landscape that’s equally a mixture of woods and fields. This 1,085-acre lake with 17 miles of shoreline, located near the New York state line in north-central Pennsylvania, is popular with boaters and anglers. Birders also spend a lot of time here. If you want to hike and look for some of those birds, Moccasin Trail is a 4-mile footpath that begins in the campground. The easy, fairly level walk follows the lake’s northern shoreline and features rustic bridges, some nice benches, and scenic views of the lake.
Lawrenceville, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Cowans Gap is interesting geologically in terms of how it was formed. Most gaps—a notch or pass between two mountains—are water gaps, with a river or stream flowing through them. Cowans Gap is a wind gap. It had a stream once, millions of years ago. But after it created the gap, the landscape shifted, leaving Cowans Gap dry. Today visitors to the park can experience it in one of two ways. Want to swim, fish, or boat in the 42-acre lake; picnic; or engage in one of the park’s environmental programs? You can do all those things in the day- use areas, which get the most traffic. Want more solitude? You can hike some of the park’s 11 miles of trails.
Chambersburg, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This lake’s beach, which sits on a peninsula, is very popular with swimmers. The ADA-accessible fishing pier in the outflow area is a major attraction for anglers. The lake itself is a favorite with powerboaters, who zip up and down it while anglers work its shorelines. Two things are especially interesting about this area. One is the horse park operated by Fort Armstrong Horsemen’s Association. The other interesting feature is the Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center. More than just a traditional nature center, it maintains trails and offers guided hikes, provides weeklong nature programs for children, hosts field trips, offers geocaching, and showcases mounts of local mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles. There’s an herb garden too.
Kittanning, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Curwensville Lake is a 790-acre impoundment located on the West Branch Susquehanna River. There are no horsepower restrictions on this lake, so that makes it a watery racetrack of sorts—a favorite for people looking to water-ski, tube, or ride personal watercraft. Anglers ply the waters too. The Lake offers pretty decent fishing for largemouth and small-mouth bass, muskies, perch, and bluegills. Canoers and kayaks even do their thing in some of the smaller coves. Away from the water there are a number of trails used by hikers and mountain bikers.
Curwensville, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This campground sits on the Kinzua Arm of Allegheny Reservoir, just south of Kinzua Point. The lake is wider and deeper here, so the location and its launch facilities make it ideal for campers who want to be able to hit the water to fish, ski, tube, or just relax. When you come off the lake and want to take a hike, a relatively easy 2.5-mile interpretive trail winds around the campground. This is a good base from which to do some scenic driving.
Allegheny National Forest, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This is Cambria County’s only park, and it’s a small one—71 acres overall, including a 19-acre lake. The campground is, not surprisingly, run sort of like a mom-and-pop operation, but in a good way. There are just six official sites, but if they’re full, a call to the county can often get you set up in a spot that can handle your needs. Given the variety of things to do, this is a nice park to take kids camping, especially if it’s their first outing. For anglers the lake is stocked with trout several times a year and also holds bass and bluegills, if small ones. The park also has ball fields, horseshoe courts, an exercise trail, and a playground.
Ebensburg, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
A newly finished restroom and shower facility awaits campers here. Most sites are situated under mature shade trees. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Featuring a 1,371-acre lake in the upper reaches of the scenic Clarion River valley, this facility is unique in terms of one of the species it is home to. If you really want to have some fun on this lake, which is open to unlimited horsepower, zip around the lake with your skis or tubes, then tuck yourself away into one of its many bays and coves for a picnic on the water.
Johnsonburg, PA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:

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