Exploring Our Outdoors: Black Moshannon State Park

When you’re feeling the need to get out of town and explore the outdoors, consider Black Moshannon State Park.

Located less than 25 minutes from State College and Penn State, and 15 minutes from Philipsburg, the park was built around its namesake lake – Black Moshannon Lake, formed by a dam on the Black Moshannon Creek. Home of the largest reconstituted bog/wetland complex in the state, there’s plenty of water-related activities here, along with great hiking trails and wildlife habitat to explore. 

Open year-round, this 3,481-acre park has something for everyone. One of the best times to visit is during the summer, when warmer temperatures allow for swimming in the lake. Feel free to stretch out on the sandy beach and take in the fresh mountain air! Kids will love this alternative to their local community pool. 

If you feel like burning a few calories before your swim, consider one of the various trails in the park. There are great options for evening strolls or short hikes, as trails are generally one to two miles in length. While there are some lengthier options within the park, long-distance hikers may want to consider heading to the surrounding Moshannon State Forest, which holds the highly regarded Allegheny Front Trail. 

After your swim or hike, break out the picnic at one of the 250 picnic tables in the park – some even with electricity. This makes for a nice afternoon outing with family, but could also be a great option for hosting larger events like family reunions or birthday parties. 

While you can easily head home after a day of fun at Black Moshannon, you have the option of camping, too. Over 70 campsites are offered, each with their own picnic table and fire ring. Campers have access to the wash house with flush toilets, showers and coin-operated laundry machines. 

If you need more conveniences, consider the modern and rustic cabins, or the deluxe camping cottages. Campers of all types will appreciate the range of amenities available in the park. You’ll even be able to get your camping fix during the winter, as modern cabins offering electric heat and are open year-round. 

You may even see some of the great wildlife this park has to offer from your campsite. Due to the park’s unique elevate geology, plants and wildlife from more northern climes can often be seen here. Take in a variety of birds that could include loons, snow geese, great blue herons and mallards. You could also see bears, beavers, muskrats, grouse and deer, among other mammals.

Additional activities found at the park include boating, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. 

It’s hard to beat this wonderful, free public park in Centre County. No matter the season, outdoor lovers will always find something to appreciate at Black Moshannon State Park.

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