Trough Creek State Park
The 554-acre Trough [troff] Creek State Park is a scenic gorge formed as Great Trough Creek cuts through Terrace Mountain and empties into Raystown Lake. Rugged hiking trails lead to wonders like Balanced Rock and Rainbow Falls. Rothrock State Forest and Raystown Lake Recreation Area border the park, making a large, contiguous area of public land for recreation.
Picnicking: Five picnic areas throughout the park provide a variety of scenic table sites. One large picnic pavilion and two smaller ones may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis. A fourth small picnic pavilion is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Restrooms, hand pump wells and activity areas are in some picnic areas.
Make a reservation.
Fishing: Stream fishing in Great Trough Creek provides a variety of fish including trout, smallmouth bass, rock bass, sucker and panfish. In recent years, smelt fish netting has become popular each spring when these fish enter tributaries of Raystown Lake to spawn. Lake fishing is available via a short walk along Terrace Mountain Trail to a sheltered cove of Raystown Lake. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission regulations and seasons apply.
Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: About 100 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, grouse and squirrel. Trough Creek State Park adjoins state forest and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lands which are open for hunting.
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 car, trailer or leased campsite. The only exception is that law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms may carry said firearm concealed on their person while they are within the park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 12 miles of trails
The hiking trails of Trough Creek State Park are famous for their beauty and scenic views. Because trails can be steep, rocky, follow along cliffs or pass through narrow ravines, hikers should use extreme caution when hiking and wear hiking boots. Children must be supervised at all times. Trail conditions may be slippery when wet or icy depending on weather conditions.
Abbot Run Trail: 0.18-miles, white blazes, moderate hiking
Balanced Rock Trail: 0.12-mile, green blazes, moderate hiking
Brumbaugh Trail: 2.4-miles, orange blazes, difficult hiking
Boulder Trail: 1.05-mile, red blazes, moderate hiking
Cemetery Trail: 0.28-miles, orange blazes, moderate hiking
Copperas Rock Trail: 0.43-mile, red blazes, moderate hiking
Laurel Run Trail: 1.8 miles, green blazes, moderate hiking
Ledges Trail: 0.91-mile, blue blazes, moderate hiking
Raven Rock Trail: 0.32-mile, yellow blazes, moderate hiking
Rhododendron Trail: 0.6-mile, green blazes, moderate hiking
Biking: 3.5 miles of trails
Camping: 29 sites, all with electricty
Explore the campground map.
Explore camping for more information.
Make a reservation.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: one host position in the rustic campground
Trough Creek Lodge: This renovated, two story, stone home is available for rental year-round. The stone was covered with stucco which was scribed to look like brick, a common practice when the home was built.
Originally constructed in the mid-1800s as an ironmaster’s home, it has a modern eat-in-kitchen, two bathrooms, four bedrooms and central heat. The lodge has spacious porches, yard areas and sits atop a hill overlooking Paradise Furnace. The lodge is fully accessible for people with disabilities.
Explore cabins for more information.
Make a reservation.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Snowmobiling: The park serves as a trailhead for trails on Rothrock State Forest lands. Parking and restrooms are provided in the park. A snowmobile trail map is available from the park office.
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.
Trough Creek State Park is in the Valley and Ridge Province of the Appalachian Mountains. Once a great mountain range, weathering and running water reduced the Appalachians into long, narrow, sweeping ridges. Great Trough Creek still carves the ridges, creating unique geologic features throughout the park and deepening Great Trough Creek Gorge.
Ice Mine: While building a railroad line, workers likely discovered Ice Mine, a natural refrigerator. In winter, cold air diffuses into spaces between the rocks of the hillside. In spring and summer, cold air flows down through the spaces between the rocks and into Ice Mine. This used to cause snowmelt and moisture in the air to refreeze in the entrance of Ice Mine. Today, little ice forms in Ice Mine, likely because the stone wall around Ice Mine blocks the snowmelt. During the spring and summer, visitors can still experience the chill of winter by stepping down into Ice Mine.
Balanced Rock: This huge boulder is perched on the edge of a cliff, looking ready to fall off at any moment into Great Trough Creek far below. Balanced Rock, an “erosion remnant” has hung there for thousands of years. Once part of a cliff with layers of hard and soft rocks, soft rocks below Balanced Rock eroded away first, easing Balanced Rock into its current position.
All of the other rocks of the cliff eroded away or fell over the cliff, leaving only Balanced Rock. To preserve the natural beauty of Balanced Rock, please do not spray paint or vandalize any natural features.
Copperas Rocks: Pictured on the brochure cover and above, Copperas Rocks is named for the coppery-yellow stain on the cliff surface. The crystalline, yellow precipitate is ferrous sulfate that leaches from a small pocket of coal. Although this substance is one of the main pollutants in abandoned mine drainage, the small quantity here is not harmful to the stream. Early settlers possibly used ferrous sulfate as a mordant for setting the dye color in cloth.
The park office is a good place to see piebald white-tailed deer, which have an uncommon pelt variation of brown and white blotches. Along Trough Creek Drive is a good place to see woodland birds like scarlet tanager, veery, waterthrush, nuthatch, vireo, wood-pewee, chickadee and woodpecker.
Hiking trails are avenues to see spring wildflowers and trails lined with mountain laurel which blooms in June and rhododendron, which blooms in July. Copperhead, timber rattlesnake and five-lined skink can often be found sunning on rock outcrops throughout the park. Bear, white-tailed deer and turkey are often seen along Hill Farm Road, just before entering the park.
The American Indians knew Great Trough Creek Gorge as a place to live and hunt, but were displaced by settlers who came to harness the natural power of the moving water. In 1780, the first settler, Nicholas Crum, built a wooden tub (turbine) gristmill. A bloomery followed in 1790 and made about 100 pounds of iron a day.
In 1827, Rueben Trexler constructed Paradise Furnace, which produced 12 tons of cast iron a day. In 1832, Savage Forge was built to turn the cast iron into wrought iron. Changing economics caused the community to crumble in 1856. Paradise Furnace briefly reopened during the American Civil War.
The area has attracted many famous visitors. It is reputed that Edgar Allen Poe visited and later wrote the poem “The Raven” after seeing the ravens that nested on the cliffs.
In 1910, the partnership of Caprio and Grieco established a standard logging railroad from Marklesburg, Pa., to Paradise Furnace, a distance of eight miles. At Paradise Furnace, a sawmill produced mine props, timber, and railroad ties from the second-growth timber of the valley.
In 1913, the railroad incorporated as the Juniata and Southern Railroad and extended the rail line seven miles to reach the Broad Top Coal and Mineral Company’s mine at Jacobs, Pa. In 1917, the mine closed and the timber was all harvested. The railroad was dismantled and scrapped. Due to the need for metal for World War I, the scrap sold for more than the original cost to build the railroad. Due to the loss of trees, the land was prone to floods and forest fires.
In 1933, to relieve the rampant unemployment of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The young men in the CCC received food, clothes and a small paycheck in return for building roads, trails and recreational facilities, fighting forest fires, planting trees and doing many other conservation activities.
In June of 1933, Company 1331 arrived and lived in tents while they built Camp S-57, named Camp Paradise Furnace. The young men planted trees, constructed roads and trails, and created Trough Creek State Park, which opened in 1936. World War II ended the CCC and Camp S-57 closed in 1941.
For more information on the CCC, explore the Civilian Conservation Corps Online Archive.
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Trough Creek State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from:
the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau www.raystown.org
the The Alleghenies www.thealleghenies.com
Warriors Path State Park: About 12 miles southwest of Trough Creek State Park in Saxton, Bedford County, the park is just off of PA 26. Warriors Path is a 349-acre day use park on a peninsula created by a large meander of the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River. Picnicking, river fishing and hiking are popular recreational activities. 814-658-3847
Rothrock State Forest: Over 90,000 acres of state forest land in Huntingdon County provides wooded land for hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, hiking and undeveloped recreation. 814-643-2340
Raystown Lake: This major recreation area administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encompasses 29,300 acres including a 30-mile long, narrow 8,300-acre lake. A variety of recreational opportunities are provided in 13 public use areas, including boat launches, marinas, camping, picnicking, swimming and fishing. 814-658-3405 raystown.nab.usace.army.mil
Maps and Downloadables
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Interactive GIS Map
The Interactive GIS Map uses Geographic Information Systems to create a map that does not need to be downloaded and features driving directions, searchable park amenities and customizable maps. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
The park can be reached by traveling 16 miles south from Huntingdon along PA 26, then five miles east along PA 994 near the village of Entriken.
Driving Directions: The Interactive GIS Map has turn-by-turn driving directions to the park office from the Park Information Window. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Trough Creek State Park