Whipple Dam State Park
The 256-acre Whipple Dam State Park is a delightful and quiet place to visit. The lake is the perfect place to indulge in a refreshing dip, bird watch or just relax. The beautiful day use area is wonderful for a picnic or hike.
Picnicking: Three large picnic pavilions and many picnic tables are in a forest-covered area, close to the beach, lake and snackbar. Hand operated and pressurized drinking fountains, charcoal stoves and restrooms are throughout the park. The three 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.
Make a reservation.
Swimming: The 300-foot sand beach is open from May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules. A dressing room, beach volleyball court and boat rental are at the beach.
Boating: electric motors only
Motorboats must display a current boat registration. 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.
Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Boat Rental: In the summer season, a boat rental offers canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and rowboats.
Fishing: The 22-acre Whipple Lake and Laurel Run are stocked with trout by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission in the spring and winter months. All Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws and regulations apply.
Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting: A portion of the park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, grouse, squirrel, bear, turkey and waterfowl.
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.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: Park trails and roads, and roads in Rothrock State Forest are recommended for cross-country skiing.
Snowmobiling: Conditions permitting, park roads, and roads in Rothrock State Forest are available for registered snowmobiles. Roads are shared with automobiles.
Ice Skating: The ungroomed ice of the lake is popular for skating. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Ice Fishing: Ice fishing is permitted on the 22-acre Whipple Lake.
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.
Wildlife is abundant in the area. An alert observer may see white-tailed deer, black bear, wild turkey, waterfowl and many other species of wildlife. Osprey, great blue heron and Canada goose visit the lake. On quiet evenings, muskrat and beaver may be seen on the water.
Feeding wild animals such as waterfowl, deer, bear and raccoons is prohibited. When wildlife looses its fear of people, these animals become pests and dangerous situations can result.
Please do not feed the wildlife.
The park area was originally purchased from the Iroquois Confederation by the Proprietary Government of Pennsylvania on July 6, 1754. The land eventually became part of the Monroe Iron Works, a few miles to the north. Charcoal was produced in the area for use in the iron furnace, and there is some evidence of iron ore mining. In 1868, Osgood M. Whipple purchased a large block of land and constructed a dam and sawmill downstream of the current park dam. The purpose of the dam was to supply a source of water for the operation of an “up and down” sawmill.
Whipple left the lumber business in 1897, but the dam remained for many years and was known locally as “Whipple’s Dam.”
In 1927, the former Department of Forests and Waters was considering a recreation site in the area and surveyed the old log-crib dam. It was decided to construct a new dam upstream at a better location. The new dam was completed in the spring of 1928 and provided a shallow pool. Recreational activities began almost immediately and by the early 1930s, Whipple Dam was listed as a State Forest Public Camp.
Between 1933 and 1941, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) had a work camp at Owl’s Gap, east of the park. The corps members built pavilions, roads, beach and restrooms during this period. In 1935, the CCC dismantled the old dam and constructed the existing dam and bridge. In 1987, the 32-acre park day use area was designated the Whipple Dam National Historic District. This entry on the National Register of Historic Places recognizes, protects, and preserves the work site of one of the Depression-Era's most important relief programs, the CCC.
The CCC work was performed to guidelines embraced by the National Park Service. The use of native materials and the rustic look exemplify the idea that parks should harmonize with the natural setting and not be glaring intrusions onto the landscape. Today, all construction and repair work is done to complement the design character of the CCC architecture and construction methods.
For more information on the CCC, explore the Civilian Conservation Corps Online Archive.
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DiscoverE has programs for young people ages 4 to 17, provided by Pennsylvania State Park educators. By combining recreation and education, we hope to motivate children to learn more and return often, leading to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment and conservation leadership.
In Watershed Education, teachers and students assess water quality of a local stream on a quarterly basis and develop strategies to solve local water quality problems.
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Whipple Dam State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from:
the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau. www.raystown.org
the Alleghenies. www.thealleghenies.com
Greenwood Furnace State Park: (9 miles) has a full range of recreational activities including swimming, camping and a historical interpretive program.
Penn-Roosevelt State Park: (14 miles) has a small lake, picnicking and a rustic camping area.
Rothrock State Forest: All three state parks serve as a base for exploring an 80,000-acre block of Rothrock State Forest. Hiking trails crisscross the state forest, which also has backpacking, bird watching, wildlife photography, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, auto touring and other activities. State forest public use maps are available at the park office and the Rothrock State Forest district office. 814-643-2340
Maps and Downloadables
Below are many of the maps and publications for this park. You can read them or download them and might need special software (all free) to view the publications.
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Alternate versions of the text of the brochures are in rich text and text formats. Click on the files to view them. To download (.rtf) files:
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.
Common Birds Brochure
Common Birds of Whipple Dam State Park (.pdf) (386 kb, 3/11)
Whipple Dam State Park is in the northeastern corner of Huntingdon County, 12 miles south of State College. The park is easily reached by turning east off of PA 26 at the Whipple Dam State Park sign.
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.
Whipple Dam State Park