Colonel Denning State Park


Colonel Denning State Park, in north central Cumberland County, is in Doubling Gap, so named by the “S” turn where Blue Mountain doubles back on itself. This feature may be seen from the Doubling Gap Vista in adjacent Tuscarora State Forest. The park has 273 acres of woodland and a 3.5-acre lake.

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Hiking   -  Picnicking   -  Swimming   -  Boating   -  Fishing   -  Hunting   -  Education   -  Cross-country Skiing   -  Ice Skating   -  Organized Group Tenting   -  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 beach, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.

Picnicking: Numerous picnic tables and charcoal grills are scattered throughout the park. There are two picnic pavilions that may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis. Play equipment is near both picnic pavilions.

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People enjoy a sand beach by a mountain at Colonel Denning State Park, Pennsylvania.Swimming: The sand beach is open from late-May to mid-September, 8:00 AM to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules for swimming.

Smoking is prohibited on the beach and in the swimming area. For visitors who smoke and still want to use this beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes or other handheld, lighted smoking devices.

Explore swimming for more information.


Boating: non-powered boats only
Non-motorized canoes and kayaks may be used on Doubling Gap Lake. Boating is prohibited from the opening day of trout season to the Friday before Memorial Day. Boats must be carried in from the adjacent parking lots and launched in the designated launch area located at the west end of the beach.

Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating 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.A family fishes in a lake from shore at Colonel Denning State Park, Pennsylvania.Fishing: The 3.5-acre Doubling Gap Lake has trout fishing. A fishing pier for people with disabilities is by the dam.

Doubling Gap Lake Depth Black-and-white Map (.pdf)  (1,104 kb, 8/15)
Doubling Gap Lake Depth Color Map (.pdf)  (1,362 kb, 8/15)

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: Many acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, squirrel and turkey. Hunting is also permitted on the adjacent Tuscarora State Forest.

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: 2 miles of trails
Two miles of trails loop through Colonel Denning State Park and connect to many miles of trails in the surrounding Tuscarora State Forest. The 2.5-mile Flat Rock Trail rises to Flat Rock, a beautiful scenic vista of the Cumberland Valley. The one-mile, self-guiding Doubling Gap Trail is a moderate hike. The Hiking and Nature Trail Guide is available at the park office and has a map and detailed description of the hiking trails in the park and surrounding forest lands.

The park is a trailhead for the 105-mile Tuscarora Trail.


Stay the Night


Camping: vault toilets
A camping trailer is shaded by trees at Colonel Denning State Park, Pennsylvania.The 50-site, tent and trailer campground opens the Friday before the opening day of trout season and closes the last day of rifle deer season in December. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, and is near non-flush toilets and a sanitary dump station. Pets are permitted on designated campsites.

Firewood and ice are for sale at the campground host site.

Explore the campground map.

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Click on this orange dot to make a reservation at a Pennsylvania State Park.

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Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 1 host position
The campground host site includes 50-amp electric service. Hosts are required to stay a minimum of two weeks but park would prefer a one-month stay. Responsibilities include assisting with light maintenance and housekeeping from Friday through Sunday and those holidays occurring on Monday. Contact the park office for additional information and availability.


Organized Group Tenting: Qualified adult and youth groups may reserve the organized group tenting area for overnight use. This walk-in space includes five tent pads, picnic tables, lantern holders and a large fire ring. The organized group campsite can accommodate a maximum size group of 20 people.

Explore organized group tenting for more information.


Winter Activities


Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths. Please be safe on the ice.


Cross-country Skiing: While there is no formal cross-country skiing trail system, skiing is permitted on existing roads and trails and in all areas of the park. Terrain is moderately hilly to mountainous.


Ice Skating: When conditions permit, the natural lake ice is monitored for ice skating in swimming area. Ice skating is at your own risk. Check the winter report for ice conditions. Skating is permitted from 8:00 AM until sunset.


Environmental Education and Interpretation


An environmental interpretor offers ecological and historical walks and programs, audiovisual programs, campfires, environmental education activities and youth programs during the summer season. A visitor center, exhibiting plants, animals and minerals found in the park, is open during the summer season.

Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of events from today forward.

Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.


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.