Blue Knob State Park

Blue Knob State Park offers year-round wilderness adventures on 6,128 acres of woodland. The park is in the northwestern tip of Bedford County, west of I-99. Altoona, Johnstown and Bedford are within 25 miles of this scenic park.

The elevation of the park can cause air temperatures to be several degrees cooler than the surrounding cities. The annual snowfall averages about 12 feet. One of the unique features of the park is the solitude it provides the visitor. There are many opportunities to enjoy the quiet and refreshing serenity of the mountains and streams.

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Hiking   -  Mountain Biking   -  Horseback Riding   -  Picnicking   -  Swimming   -  Fishing   -  Hunting   -  Scenic Views   -  Education   -  Cross-country Skiing   -  Snowmobiling   -  Downhill Skiing   -  Organized Group Cabin Camps   -  Backpacking   -  Cabins   -  Camping

Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. The pool, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.

This view from the second highest point in Pennsylvania has ski slopes and distant mountains at Blue Knob State Park, Pennsylvania.Scenic Views: Blue Knob State Park is named for its majestic dome-shaped mountain. At 3,146 feet above sea level, Blue Knob is the second highest mountain in Pennsylvania, only 67 feet less than Mount Davis in Somerset County. Situated on a spur of the Allegheny Front and overlooking the scenic Ridge and Valley Province to the east, Blue Knob has spectacular views. Unique photographic opportunities are available during low humidity weather and with changes of season.

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible. Picnicking: Burnt House and Mowery Hollow picnic areas are open year-round. Willow Springs Picnic Area closes the Friday after Thanksgiving and reopens the week before Memorial Day.

Seven picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.

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The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible. Swimming: Weather permitting, the swimming pool is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless posted otherwise. The pool is only open on weekends for the first two weeks of the summer season. Pool depth ranges from 2 to 5 feet. Weekday and evening use is recommended. For visitor safety, diving in the pool is prohibited.

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Fishing: Trout fishing enthusiasts find excitement in fishing Bob’s Creek and its tributaries. Streams within the park contain native brook trout along with stocked trout placed through a cooperative nursery program operated by the Pavia Sportsmen Club Inc. and the park. Fishing is good April through June and in early fall.

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Hunting and Firearms: About 5,000 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, squirrel, turkey and grouse.

The park is adjacent to the 12,000-acre State Game Land 26. This combination of public lands provides many recreational opportunities and offers both easily accessible areas and several walk-in areas. “No Hunting” areas are posted. Permanent tree stands are prohibited on public lands.

Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.

Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s vehicle or enclosed trailer. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.

Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.

Hiking: 18 miles of trails

Please be sure to wear appropriate foot wear when hiking at Blue Knob State Park. Trails are closed for nighttime use.

Many trails at Blue Knob are steep. A hike down a trail means that a hike up is required. A well planned hiking trip utilizes different trails to provide an extended hiking experience that covers many miles and avoids a steep return climb.

Chappells Field Trail: 2.5 miles, inverted orange V blaze, easiest hiking
This multi-use trail is a gentle sloping loop trail with little gradient change. It is ideal for families and cross-country skiing. This trail follows the back end of Chappells Field through wildlife management areas, crosses Blue Knob Park Road, travels to the bottom loop of the campground and returns through a forested section to the starting point. Park at the Chappells Field Trailhead.

Crist Ridge Trail: 1.9 miles, orange blaze, easiest hiking
This multi-use trail starts at an intersection of Chappells Field Trail and extends to below the pool. This is an easy downhill hike for the entire family. To access the trail, park at the lowest intersection of Chappells Field Trail and Knob Road, or at the second curve above the pool.

Homestead Trail: 1.8 miles, orange blaze, easiest hiking
A loop trail off the second major curve along Park Road to Willow Springs Picnic Area, this trail winds through old homestead sites in a rolling valley section of the park. A wide, gentle trail with some uphill travel, this trail is suitable for the whole family. Good birding opportunities are in the old fields. Park along Park Road at the second curve.

Lost Turkey Trail: 26 miles, red blaze, most difficult hiking
Beginning at the towers and ending at the Babcock State Forest Ranger Station on PA 56, this 26-mile trail is a favorite of backpackers, cross-country skiers and day hikers. This trail uses a combination of public and private lands. The trail follows many of the narrow-gauge railroad beds from the logging activities of the 1930s. This trail covers a wide variety of terrain contained in the ridge and valley section of the park, including Blue Knob Mountain and the Allegheny Front. Unnamed connecting trails are blazed in a double blue blaze. Proper hiking boots are recommended. This trail is not recommended for small children. A separate topographical trail map is available for the entire Lost Turkey Trail and the Bureau of Forestry’s John P. Saylor Trail. Overnight parking is at the Babcock Ranger Station or the Blue Knob park office. Overnight camping by backpackers is allowed only on forestry lands by permit.

Mountain View Trail: 5 miles, double red blaze, most difficult hiking
This multi-use trail is in a wilderness part of the park. The trail begins a short distance from the curve on Three Springs Trail. The trail makes a short, 0.9-mile ‘Look Out’ loop before crossing the Three Springs Trail again. The trail then descends along Beaverdam Creek before extending along the eastern slope of the mountain to Willow Springs Picnic Area. The trail then proceeds north along an old waterline to Deep Hollow Run and climbs the mountain to the trailhead. The ‘Look Out’ loop is suitable for the whole family, but the remainder of the trail is recommended only for adults in good hiking condition. Proper footgear (boots) is a must because terrain is steep and rugged. Access points to different sections of the trail are limited. This trail should not be used during inclement weather because fog is dense due to the higher elevation. Park along the curve approaching the ski resort along Ski Access Road.

Rock ‘N’ Ridge Trail: 2.8 miles, inverted blue T blaze, more difficult hiking
This multi-use trail starts at the picnic pavilion above the pool, then follows a homestead road weaving through the center of the park near a mountain brook. The trail is a steady uphill climb until it peaks near the mountain slopes and returns along the high ground connecting the ridge top east of the pool complex. This is a ridge and valley trail suitable for the whole family. Park at Mowry Hollow Picnic Area.

Sawmill Trail: 3 miles, yellow blaze, more difficult hiking
This trail bisects the park and uses openings created by waterlines and service roads. Beginning on Ickes Hill on SR 4031, this trail passes Willow Springs Picnic Area, Organized Group Cabin Camp, the campground and Chappells Field, then connects to the lower section of Rock ‘N’ Ridge Trail leading to the pool complex. Park at Chappells Field Trailhead.

Three Springs Trail: 2 miles, orange blaze, easiest hiking
This multi-use trail is a very wide, gentle mountain trail using service roads and waterlines. It begins at the curve below the ski slope and extends along the eastern slope of the mountain to the Willow Springs Picnic Area. Enjoy the mountain forest setting with views of the lowlands from about 2,000 feet. Park at the curve approaching the ski resort along Ski Access Road.

Mountain Biking: Several of the park’s multi-use trails are designated for mountain bike use. For beginners, Chappells Field Trail is a good challenge. For the more experienced, Three Springs Trail is an intermediate ride. Three Springs Trail is also open to horseback riding. Please be considerate of other trail users. For more experienced and expert mountain bikers, Crist Ridge Trail, Rock ‘N’ Ridge Trail and portions of Mountain View Trail are suggested.

Horseback Riding: Equestrian trails are marked with orange diamonds. The trailhead is across from the campground entrance at Chappells Field. Horseback riding is permitted along the right-hand side of park roads. Caution must be used on trails that pass through hunting areas. All groups conducting trail rides must secure a special use agreement.

Stay the Night

Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, electric hook-ups
The 50 tent and trailer sites are open from the second Friday in April to mid-October. Sites are in open fields and wooded areas. Most sites have electric hookups. Two sites are walk-in only. Water, a sanitary dump station, modern restrooms and playground equipment are available. A campground host is usually in attendance during peak activity days.

Explore the campground map.

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Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 1 host position
Modern campground host site amenities include 30 or 50-amp electric service. Hosts are required to assist park personnel for 40 hours per week. A two-week minimum stay is required. Contact the park office for additional information and availability.

Backpacking: Constructed in 1977 by the Youth Conservation Corps, Lost Turkey Trail is a 26-mile trail traversing state park, state forest, state game and private lands. Distance markers are at one-kilometer intervals. Hikers should secure maps and information on parking areas, trail conditions and regulations. Many people use sections of this trail for day hikes.

Modern Cabins: Three cabins and one house are available to rent. The Fishers Haven and Bear Den cabins sleep four people. The Directors Cabin sleeps six. The cabins are available from the second Friday in April through the last weekend of October. The Twin Fawn House sleeps eight and is available year-round.

Cabins offer electric heat, two bedrooms, living room, bathroom, and kitchen. Twin Fawn House offers three bedrooms, living room, bathroom and kitchen. Renters must supply their own bed linens and towels. A limited supply of dishes, pots and pans, and dinnerware are provided. In the summer season, the cabins and house only rent by the week. In the off-season, the minimum rental is two days. Advance reservations are recommended.

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This wooden cabin is the craft cabin in the organized group cabin camp at Blue Knob State Park, Pennsylvania.Organized Group Cabin Camp: A 100-person capacity camp is available for overnight use to organized groups from June through August. The group camp offers sleeping quarters, bathroom and shower facilities and a large dining hall/kitchen complex. A reservation system is based on previous long-term use, priority for youth groups, length of stay and number of people. Contact the park office for additional information.

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Winter Activities

Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.

Cross-country Skiing: Most park trails are suitable for expert skiers. For beginner skiers, Chappells Field Trail and the closed campground are recommended. For the intermediate skier, the service roads, closed roadways and open fields are recommended. Weather conditions on the trails are usually ideal but skiers should use expert or mountain ski equipment.

Snowboarders zip by a ski lift at Ski Blue Knob at Blue Knob State Park, Pennsylvania.Snowmobiling: Snowmobile routes are open daily after the end of hunting season in December. The trail system consists of eight miles of trails and roads and is marked with orange diamonds. Park roadways are not open for snowmobile use.

Please stay on the designated trails. No other off-road vehicles are permitted on state park lands.

Downhill Skiing: The park leases the downhill skiing area to Blue Knob Recreation, Inc., which operates Ski Blue Knob, one of the most challenging ski resorts in Pennsylvania. The area offers a vertical drop of 1,050 feet. The ski area provides snowtubing, day and night skiing, with extensive snowmaking, and a total of four chairlifts ensure a fast return to the top of the mountain. 800-458-3403

Environmental Education and Interpretation

Summer programs are conducted on Friday and Saturday evenings at the Buck Hill Amphitheater and Sunday afternoons in the park day use areas, unless otherwise posted. Organized groups can arrange special programs through the park office. Fall and spring programs are conducted for schools and organizations upon request.

Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming events.

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Access for People with Disabilities

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.