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lake surrounded by rolling hills at a state park near altoona pennsylvaniaWherever you go in Pennsylvania you are never far from a state park. Infact the state contains at least one of these types of parks in 61 of its 67 counties. Which almost achieves its mission of having a state park within at least 25 miles of all of its residents.

All up there are 110 state parks in Pennsylvania, collectively incorporating some 300,000 acres. Set among a stunning landscapes of shimmering lakes, lush woodland, rugged mountains and raging rivers, many of these state parks lie within easy reach of Altoona.

If you are a resident of Altoona they provide outstanding opportunities for you to enjoy a range of activities including hiking, fishing, boating, hunting, picnicking and camping.

Best of all, none of Pennsylvania’s state parks charge an entrance fee, so there really is no excuse not to go!
If this has inspired you to get out into nature, below is a list of 5 state parks near Altoona we highly recommend you check out.

Map of State Parks Near Altoona PA

Here is a map of the Pennsylvania state parks covered in this post:

List of State Parks Near Altoona

The five state parks near Altoona outlined below all provide plenty of opportunities for camping and overnight stays.
hey are also all located within in a 2 hour and 30 minute drive from the city too. So can easily be visited as a day trip too.

1. Bald Eagle State Park

dock extending into reservoir at a state park near altoona pennsylvaniaLocation: 149 Main Park Rd, Howard, PA 16841

Situated a one hour drive south west of Altoona, the Bald Eagle State Park is a very popular spot for lovers of water based recreational activities.

Encompassing some 5,900-acres within the stunning Bald Eagle Valley of north central Pennsylvania, the centerpiece of the park is a magnificent 1,730-acre lake that skirts the shoreline around Bald Eagle Mountain.

Surrounded by lush fields, dense forests and verdant wetlands, its a very popular spot for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, boating and fishing.

There is also a good beach for swimming and sunbathing on, as well as plenty of lovely hiking trails to explore as well.

Featuring two campgrounds, this diverse landscape is home to many different species of flora and fauna.

It also accommodates 175 camping sites, of which 18 are full hookup, as well as 4 cottages, one of which is very deluxe.

2. Sinnemahoning State Park

brook running through the forest at a state park near altoona pennsylvaniaLocation: 4843 Park Dr, Austin, PA 16720

About a 2 hour drive north from Altoona lies the stunning Sinnemahoning State Park.

Nestled within the center of the scenic steep valleys of the Pennsylvania Wilds, the park cover some 1,910 acres of spectacular scenery and fascinating wildlife.

Sandwiched between the grassy ridges of the Susquehannock and Elk State Forests, the park is long and thin in make up, containing land on both sides of quaint First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek, which is a major tributary that connects to the Sinnemahoning River.

Providing fabulous opportunities for recreational water activities like fishing, kayaking, canoeing and boating, the park also features an abundance of wildlife.

The likes of coyotes, elk, bald eagles and bobcats can all be regularly seen here, as well as a huge selection of birdlife species. While the onsite Wildlife Center features state-of-the-art interpretive wildlife exhibits too.

For the overnight visitor, the park offers 36 campsites which have amenities like hot showers, flush toilets and a dumping station. It also has a playground and several picnic pavilions for you to utilize too.

3. Parker Dam State Park

colorful foliage and clouds reflected in a lake at a state park near altoona pennsylvaniaLocation: 28 Fairview Rd, Penfield, PA 15849

If you are looking for a state park that offers something for everyone look no further than the Parker Dam State Park.

Reached after an hour and 20 minute drive north, the park is considered the gateway to the impressive Moshannon State Forest.
Headlined by a scenic lake, the 968-acre park is well set up for fishing and other water based activities like canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding.

It also offers fantastic backpacking, biking and hiking adventures into the stunning 50,000-acre Quehanna Wilderness, as well as woodlands which are slowly recovering from tornado.

Equipped with 133 campsites, of which 22 offer full hookup and 60 are modern electric, the park also provides plenty of overnight stay accommodation options for visitors.

4. Chapman State Park

Location: 4790 Chapman Dam Rd, Clarendon, PA 16313

The Chapman State Park is a splendid 862-acre state park that is located in the lovely sounding region of Pleasant Township.

Named in honor of Dr. Leroy E. Chapman, a popular state senator who held office from 1929 until 1963, one of the main highlights of the park is the 68 acres Chapman Lake. A man-made lake that lies on the West Branch of Tionesta Creek.

It is a popular spot for swimming, boating and fishing, the latter of which provides you the opportunity to reel in a brown trout, sunfish, bluegill or yellow perch.

There is also a delightful beach here that makes a terrific spot for sunbathing, whilst you can picnic at any of the five pavilions that overlooks both it and the lake.

Located a 2 hour and 30 minute drive north from Altoona, the park also has 12 miles of hiking trails that takes you deep into forest land. In the winter these trails can also be used for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, whilst the lake is also perfect for ice fishing.

Offering a rustic campground, the pet friendly park has 81 campsites available to overnight visitors, as well as 3 cottages. It also has two Mongolian style yurts available to hire too.

5. Cook Forest State Park

moss covered rocks at a state park near altoona paLocation: 100 PA-36, Cooksburg, PA 16217

Another Pennsylvania state park that resides a 2 hour and 30 minute drive (north) from Altoona is the 8,500-acre Cook Forest State Park.

Renowned for its magnificent stands of old growth forest, its wonderful Forest Cathedral of towering hemlocks and white pines is a National Natural Landmark that you will love to hike and photograph.

The park also accommodates a 13 mile stretch of the the stunning Clarion River which provides plenty of excellent fishing spots, as well as canoeing, tubing and kayaking opportunities.

With some 234 campsites, of which 22 are full hookup, 68 modern rustic and 114 modern-rustic non-electric, the park is one of the bigger camping venues in the state.