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Spillway and dam at Penn-Roosevelt State Park

Spillway and dam at Penn-Roosevelt State Park. Photo: Clint, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are some pretty remote state parks in Pennsylvania and Penn-Roosevelt State Park is no exception.

Situated within the Centre County town of Huntingdon, the park lies about a 3 hour drive from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Allentown, making it a wonderful place to visit for a nature getaway.

Surrounded by Rothrock State Forest, the park is a major destination for those who enjoy hiking, with part of the Mid State Trail cutting through it. Additionally, outdoor recreational activities like horse riding, picnicking and hunting are also popular, while in the winter, many people come here for snowmobiling and cross country skiing.

One of the main draws of the park is its solitude, which is best experienced at night, next to a fire and under the stars in its rustic campground. If you are looking for an escape from the frenzied pace of city life, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Activities

The day use area at Penn-Roosevelt State Park is open every day from sunrise to sunset, including on holidays like Christmas and Easter.

Presented below is a selection of some of the main recreational outdoor activities you can partake in during your time at the park.

Hiking at Penn-Roosevelt State Park

If you are into hiking you can get more than your fill of this activity at the park.

Bisecting the park is part of the Mid State Trail which extends for a mammoth 324 miles. It provides wonderful opportunities to explore central Pennsylvania’s ridge and valley region.

The trails swathes through a diverse terrain of woodland areas that incorporate everything from forest stands that are newly generated to old growth and mature timber areas. Along the trail there are plenty of picturesque vistas some of which pass through natural areas like the Bear Meadows, Detweiler Run and Thickhead Wild.

You will find trail registers at several places throughout the path, with overnight camping being allowed anywhere along it, bar the natural areas or 200 feet from any forest road.

If you do attempt to tackle the Mid State Trail you should be very prepared. Wear a good pair of hiking boots and a hat and take plenty of water and snacks with you, as well as any camping equipment you might need.

Also be aware that the terrain is demanding, uneven and rugged, so always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings as you traverse it.

Biking at Penn-Roosevelt State Park

Penn-Roosevelt State Park is a terrific place for horse riding.

You will need to bring your own horse with you, as rentals are not provided. However, if you do, the Thickhead Mountain Road and Detweiler Road, make for excellent trail rides.

On them you will get a close up view of some of the park’s stunning flora, fauna and woodland areas.

Picnicking at Penn-Roosevelt State Park

One of the best ways to enjoy the park’s landscape is to partake in a picnic.

Just to the west of the lake you will find a picnic area that has tables for visitors to use. On the eastern side of it there are also some more tables as well as a picnic pavilion which can be used by those who get there first.

If you do decide to enjoy an outdoor meal at the park you should be aware there are no recycling or trash collection facilities there. Subsequently, visitors are expected to carry in and carry out all of their trash and not just discard it.

Guests are also prohibited from drinking alcohol anywhere in the park.

Hunting at Penn-Roosevelt State Park

If you enjoy hunting you will be able to partake in this activity over at the Rothrock State Forest, which resides adjacent to the park.

Other than at some designated safety zones around the picnic areas and its buildings, trapping and hunting are allowed pretty much all throughout the forest.

You will need a valid license in order to be able to engage in hunting, but if you have one, you can attempt to snare, black bear, deer, grouse, turkey, rabbits and squirrels.

Winter Activities at Penn-Roosevelt State Park

During the winter months, when the park gets covered in lots of snow, many people come here to enjoy activities like cross country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.

They take place on permitted trails throughout the park. However, as the roads leading in to the park are not maintained at this time of year, accessing them might be virtually impossible.

Pets

Pets are welcome at Penn-Roosevelt State Park, although you should be aware of the rules and regulations the park has put in place with regards to their presence there.

At all times, dogs must be kept on a maximum six foot long leash. They should also be well behaved and cleaned up after they have made a mess.

Your four legged friend should also not be left alone for more than 30 minutes and must not trouble other park guests or its flora and fauna.

Camping

For those who want to camp at the park there are 18 rustic campsites available all throughout the year – but only for tents.

To provide added privacy, some of these sites are walk-ins. They are all available on a first-come, first-serve basis and are very tranquil.

These sites are best suited to self-sufficient campers, although non-flush toilets and drinking water is available.

Camping fees are paid via a self-registration and honor payment system and park rangers regularly patrol the area to assist visitors as required.

Park Location

Penn-Roosevelt State Park
Huntingdon, PA 16652
Phone: 814.667.1800

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Penn-Roosevelt State Park: