Yes, fall is here officially. And there are still some fun things to do in our state parks. Among them are the wonderful chances to view the fall foliage. This area generally sees the fall foliage start about the beginning of October with the peak of the fall color being reached the second week of October. There are some programs at these parks during the weekends, but some parks have shut down their weekend programming for the year. To find out about programs going on at the park, check out the State Parks Calendar of Events. There are many trails for hiking or biking. And many have lakes for boating or fishing. And yes there are still opportunities for camping in our state parks.
So here is a little help in planning your fall camping trip in the Alleghenies and her valleys region. This region covers Bedford, Blair, Huntingdon, Centre, Fulton, Cambria, Mifflin, and Union Counties. The parks in this region stretch from Blue Knob State Park 40 minutes from Johnstown to R. B. Winter State Park about two and a half hours from Johnstown.
There are twelve state parks with fall camping in this region. Most of these campgrounds have a wide variety of camping options and are open through December. Usually the campgrounds that are open until December close the day after shot gun deer season ends in Pennsylvania. There are a few exceptions to the options available and season length.
Blue Knob State Park is about 40 minutes from Johnstown. The park’s campground is opened through the third Sunday in October. The park has 50 campsites all with electrical hook-ups. The campground also has sites available for campers with pets. There are also 3 Cabins at the park which are able to be rented through mid-December and the Twin Fawn House which is open year round.
Shawnee State Park is located about 50 minutes from Johnstown in Schellsburg, PA. The park has a rather large campground with 293 campsites. However the park is currently rehabilitating sites on B loop. The campground also has two yurts and 3 camping cottages. The campground is opened through mid-December. There are campsites that do permit pets and most sites have electrical hook-ups. The park also has the Shawnee Lodge which can be rented year round. Shawnee does have four upcoming free kayaking programs in October.
Canoe Creek State Park in Hollidaysburg sits only about an hour from Johnstown off of Route 22. The park does not have a campground, but does have 8 modern cabins. The modern cabins include electric heat, two bedrooms, a bathroom, and modern conveniences throughout. Each cabin also has a fire ring and picnic table outside for those 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 is the only state park in Cambria County. It is located about an hour from Johnstown in Patton. 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 that are able to be rented year round. The park has many activities available during the fall and even winter and one of the biggest events at the park is the Apple Cider Festival which occurs the first Sunday in October, October 2 this year. At this time, the lake is drawn down so boating and fishing opportunities are very limited.
Trough Creek State Park sits on the edge of Raystown Lake about an hour and thirty minutes from Johnstown. The park has many beautiful hiking trails along the Great Trough Gorge along the 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 with 29 campsites some which allow pets. The campground is open through Mid-December. Activities at the park include a guided hike to raven rock on the last Sunday of October.
Cowans Gap State Park is nestled in beautiful Allen’s Valley of Fulton County about an hour and fifty minutes from Johnstown. The park is best reached by taking the Fort Littleton exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The park has two camping areas with 201 campsites most with electrical hook-ups. One of the camping areas closes right after Labor Day which leaves around 165 sites that are available through Mid-December. This also includes 10 camping cabins and sites that are 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 is a small park deep in the Rothrock State Forest that is about an hour and fifty minutes from Johnstown. The park is a small park of less than 50 acres but is intersected by the Mid-state Hiking Trail. There are only 18 tent sites at the park, some which are walk-in sites. These are rustic sites that are available of 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 is located in the Seven Mountains area of Huntingdon County about two hours from Johnstown. The park is surrounded by Rothrock State Forest and is centered on the remains of a former iron furnace. There is a campground with 49 campsites, most with electrical hook-ups. There are campsites which do allow campers with pets. The campground is opened through the end of October. 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 is 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 has a small campground with 14 tent only campsites that is open through the second Sunday in October.
Poe Valley State Park is located in Centre County about two and a half hours from Johnstown. The park which is surrounded by the Bald Eagle State Forest is near the Mid-state Trail. The park has a 45 site campground with about half having electrical hook-ups. There are sites available for campers with pets. The campground also has 3 camping cottages. The amenities at the campground include showers and flush toilets. The campground is generally open through late October.
Poe Paddy State Park is located not far from Poe Valley in Centre County. The park is about two hours and forty minutes from Johnstown and has a 38 site campground. The sites are rustic sites without electric hook-ups. There are rustic restrooms and drinking water available. The park also has 2 Adirondack style Lean-tos. There are some sites that allow pets. The campground at the park is open through late October.
R. B. Winter State Park is located about two and a half hours from Johnstown in Union County. The park has a 58 site campground with some of the sites having electrical hook-ups and permitting pets. There are also three cottages in the campground. 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. This includes a Fall Foliage Mountain Bike Ride on October 14.
So come out and camp this fall. Enjoy our award winning state parks and experience the beautiful fall foliage of Penn’s Woods. Remember to come prepared for cooler weather and try some new tastes over the campfire.
Pennsylvania State Parks price guide link
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