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Susquehanna Life

Of the Season - Fall Camping Meccas

Aug 29, 2015 09:20AM ● By Erica Shames

The Alleghenies and valleys region of Pennsylvania covers the following counties: Bedford, Blair, Huntingdon, Centre, Fulton, Cambria, Mifflin and Union. The 12 parks in this region, stretching from Blue Knob State Park 40 minutes from Johnstown to R. B. Winter State Park about 30 minutes from Lewisburg, offering a wide variety of camping options. Most sites are open through December. 

Blue Knob State Park’s campground (Photo credit: Blue Knob State Park by Jon Sullenberger) is open through the third Sunday in October. The park has 50 campsites all with electrical hook-ups and some sites allow pets. There are also three cabins at the park available for rent through mid-December; the Twin Fawn House is open year-round.

Shawnee State Park (photo by Mike Druckenbrod) is located about 50 minutes from Johnstown in Schellsburg, PA. The park has 293 campsites; a focal point of the park is the 451-acre Shawnee Lake, ideal for boating, fishing and kayaking. The campground, open through mid-December, also has two yurts (round, canvas and wood walled tents) and three camping cottages. Some campsites permit pets and most sites have electrical hook-ups. The park also has the two story Shawnee Lodge, located on an island in the lake, available for rental year-round.

Canoe Creek State Park in Hollidaysburg (photo by John Beatty) sits only about an hour from Johnstown off of Route 22. The park does not have a campground, but has eight modern cabins that include electric heat, two bedrooms, a bathroom and modern conveniences throughout. Each cabin also has a fire ring and picnic table outside for fall night campfires and dinners. These cabins can be rented for a minimum of two nights between Labor Day and Memorial Day.

Prince Gallitzin State Park (photo courtesy of PA State Parks) is the only state park in Cambria County. The park offers a large campground with 401 campsites. There are also three camping cottages in the campground, which is open through the last Monday in October. The campsites have electrical hook-ups and many allow campers with pets. There are also 10 modern cabins available for rent year-round. The park has many activities available during the fall and winter; and one of the biggest events at the park is the Apple Cider Festival, Oct. 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Trough Creek State Park sits on the edge of Raystown Lake and includes many beautiful hiking trails along the Great Trough Gorge; a rustic, man-made suspension bridge crosses Great Trough Creek. From Balanced Rock, you can look out over the park and enjoy the beautiful fall foliage. The park has a rustic campground, open through mid-December, with 29 campsites; some allow pets. Amenities at the park include beautiful hiking trails.

Cowans Gap State Park (photo courtesy of PA State Parks): Nestled in beautiful Allen’s Valley of Fulton County, the park is best reached by taking the Fort Littleton exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It features two camping areas with 201 campsites, most with electrical hook-ups. One of the camping areas closes right after Labor Day, leaving around 165 sites available through mid-December. This also includes 10 camping cabins and sites that permit pets. The park is one of the stops along the Tuscarora Trail and the beginning point for the Standing Stone Trail.

Penn Roosevelt State Park: Less than 50 acres, this park is deep in the Rothrock State Forest and is intersected by the Mid-state Hiking Trail. There are only 18 tent sites at the park, some which are walk-in sites--rustic sites available on a first-come basis. There are a few sites designated as pet sites. This park is a carry in/carry out park without any trash receptacles.

Greenwood Furnace State Park: Located in the Seven Mountains area of Huntingdon County, the park is open through the end of October. Surrounded by Rothrock State Forest, the park is centered on the remains of a former iron furnace. The campground features 49 campsites, most with electrical hook-ups. Some campsites allow campers with pets.  The park also sits along the Standing Stone Trail which connects the Tuscarora Trail, in Cowans Gap, to the Mid-state Trail in the Rothrock State Forest.

Reeds Gap State Park: Located two hours and fifteen minutes from Johnstown in Mifflin County. From the park, you can use the Reeds Gap Spur Trail to connect to the Mid-State Trail. The park, open through the second Sunday in October, has a small campground with 14 tent-only campsites.

Poe Valley State Park (photo by Qihong Wang): Located in Centre County, the park is surrounded by the Bald Eagle State Forest near the Mid-state Trail. It features 45 camping sites—half have electrical hook-ups—and three camping cottages. Some sites allow pets. Amenities include showers and flush toilets. The campground is generally open through late October.

Poe Paddy State Park: Located near Poe Valley, in Centre County, the park features 38 rustic restrooms and camping sites, with no electric hook-ups. The park also has two Adirondack-style lean-tos. Some sites allow pets. The campground is open through late October.

R. B. Winter State Park: Located about 30 minutes from Lewisburg, in Union County, the park has 58 campsites, some with electric hook-ups and some permit pets.  There are also three cottages. The campground is generally open through mid-December and has modern restroom and shower facilities. The park is a trailhead for the Mid-state Trail and also has year-round environmental programs.

Written by Elizabeth Lauren 

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