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.
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.
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 the beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and other handheld, lighted smoking devices.
Explore swimming for more information.
Boating: non-powered boats only
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.
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)
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.
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
The park is a trailhead for the 105-mile Tuscarora Trail.
Camping: vault toilets
Firewood and ice are for sale at the campground host site.
Explore camping for more information.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 1 host position
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.
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 upcoming events.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Access for People with Disabilities
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.