Nestled at the top of Blue Knob Mountains, the second-highest mountain range in Pennsylvania, Blue Knob State Park is a beautiful setting with plenty of activities to offer their RV visitors year-round. The first settlers to the area arrived after the American Revolution with intentions of clearing the land to make way for farms and distilleries along the river. By the 1830s, the area had a strong Germanic population with a booming economy, supported by lumber and railroads industry. In 1935, the National Park Service used the land for recreational purposes. By 1938, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Workers Progress Association worked together to build trails, cabins, a pool, and some of the main building structures around the park.
The CCC was withdrawn from the camp at the beginning of World War II, and in 1945 the National Park Service transferred the Blue Knob Recreational Area to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth. The park is now open year-round with its camping season starting in late-April and ending in mid-October. The park offers several activities such as fishing, horseback riding, and mountain biking in the summer. The winter offers hunting, hiking, and cross-country skiing.
There are two mountain-top campgrounds with 48 modern, electric sites and two sites that are non-electric. The sites can be described as hilly with large open fields near the Orchard Road Campground where you can have a picnic or just sit and read a good book. You can walk along the trails or take a dip in the pool built by the CCC. If you have the time, you can also enjoy a pleasant stroll around Pavia, one of the towns near the park.
The park is open all year and enjoys cool summers and snowy winters. There are a few state parks in the vicinity, so while you are in the area, consider visiting Trough Creek State Park and Prince Gallitzin State Park. These parks are all within a 50-mile radius of Blue Knob State Park and offer excellent opportunities to enjoy different facets of the mountains and valleys in this area. Pennsylvania is a great state to explore on your RV adventure, especially during the warmer months.
Blue Knob State Park is a little less than a hundred miles east of Pittsburgh in the Blue Knob Mountains. Located about 40 minutes from both Johnstown and Altoona, the park is a mountain hideaway. Roads in this part of the country have steep gradients. Drive slowly, taking in the rugged terrain, and be prepared for sharp turns now and again as you wind your way through the mountains.
Due to the high elevation of the park, the park does not worry about much flooding, however, the park does get an average of 12 feet of snow each year. In the event of inclement weather, the park may close and reopen when the conditions are safe.
The road leading into the campground has a steady incline, so drive slowly towards the main office. The park amenities are spread across different sections of the park, and you may want to drive from one place to the other. You can just as easily walk or cycle around the park, but be sure to take a map with you so that you do not get lost.
There is parking available at the various trailheads, picnic areas, and facilities. These areas may become congested in the summer as they are not big. During the busier seasons, walking or cycling may be the easiest way to get around the park without worrying about parking.
The campsites at Sassafras Lane are more spacious and shaded than the other campground. There are 24 campsites in this campground, 22 of which have modern 30- or 50-amp electric hookups. Campsites 44 and 45 have no electric connections and are more remote. There are no water or sewer connections, but on your way out of the park, there is a dumping station and a water spigot.
You may need to level your RV, but it will be well worth it. The sites are a bit hilly but have plenty of privacy from your neighbor. The sites around the edge of the campground offer the best privacy. Some sites are bigger than others, with some accommodating rigs up to 40 feet. Pets are welcome at most of the sites in this campground. Be sure to double-check your reservation if you have a pet with you.
Toilets, hot showers, a picnic table, and a fire ring are included. It is forbidden to bring your own firewood or to collect firewood from the fallen trees in the park. Locally approved firewood is sold for purchase at the park and in Pavia. In the peak season, you can stay at the same site for a maximum of 14 consecutive days, while in the off-season, up to 21 consecutive days. You can book a campsite for up to 11 months in advance.
There are 24 modern electric campsites in this campground, accommodating RVs and trailers up to 30 feet long. Depending on the site, modern 30- or 50-amp electric hookups are provided.
The sites are hilly with neither water or sewer hookups. However, there is a dumping station on your way out of the park and a water spigot nearby. The lots are located right next to an open field, leaving little to no privacy from your neighbor or shade from the summer’s heat. Pets are only allowed at the campsites closer to the pet walking area, so be sure to double-check your reservation if you have a pet.
Amenities included are restrooms, hot showers, a picnic table, and a fire ring. You are prohibited from bringing your own firewood or from gathering firewood from around the park. Locally approved firewood is sold in Pavia and at the park for you to purchase. In peak season, you are allowed to stay a limit of 14 consecutive days at a time, while in the off-season, you may stay up to 21 straight days at a time. You may reserve a campsite up to 11 months in advance.
The park has three modern cabins that can be reserved in-season. One of the three cabins, Fishers Haven, is also ADA-accessible.
Two of the cabins sleep up to four people, while Directors Cabin can up to sleep six people. They are all kitchens equipped with basic cooking equipment and appliances. This includes a fridge/freezer, stovetop, oven, microwave, toaster, coffee maker, cutlery, crockery, pots, and pans.
Each cabin also has a living room and a bathroom with a toilet and shower. The only items you'll need to bring along are linen and towels. The cabins all have electric heating and air conditioning, ensuring a comfortable stay regardless of the weather. Pets can not be accommodated in the cabins, so bear this in mind when making your reservation.
Built by the CCC, this group of cabins is available for overnight use by larger groups heading to the park in the summer months. Accommodating up to 100 people, the facilities include bathrooms with showers, a kitchen, and a dining hall. The Connector Trail runs right past this camp and can easily be used to walk to the pool complex or connect to any of the other hiking trails in the park.
This three-bedroom house sleeps eight and can be reserved year-round, a week at a time in the summer and for a minimum of two nights in the winter months. It is a lovely, big house, offering a kitchen, living room, dining area, and bathroom. All you'll need to bring along is linen and towels as the kitchen has some basic crockery, cutlery, and cooking equipment. The kitchen is also equipped with a full-size fridge, microwave, toaster, coffee maker, stove, and oven.
Take your pirate ambitions to new heights and go hunting for treasures with your band of loyal mateys. To go geocaching requires an adventurous spirit, a pen/pencil, your favorite pirate footwear (preferably sturdy walking boots), a GPS device, and a trinket to trade for your new discoveries. Before exploring, make sure you know the cache logging rules. Remember to leave each area as undisturbed as possible to keep the great treasure hunt alive.
There are more than 15 miles of trails for you to explore on your visit to Blue Knob State Park. One of the more difficult hiking trails is the Mountain View Trail, but it has a worthwhile view where the trail ends. You will need extra sturdy hiking boots for this rugged and steep five-mile trail. Remember to carry a map of the park and a water bottle to keep you hydrated on your hike.
Each season has something beautiful to offer at Blue Knob State Park. In the fall and winter months, you can spend a few moments watching the leaves change color or spying a deer in search of food. The spring and summer months offer beautiful songs written by the songbirds, or you can watch new cubs and offspring learn the rules of the wild. Remember to pack your binoculars and a sturdy pair of walking shoes in your rig. Carry a camera, a map of the park, snacks, and a water bottle with you when you hit the trails. Please remember to leave nature undisturbed, and pick up any trash you may find on the trails and around the park.
The multi-purpose trails are open all year for those who wish to go mountain biking. So remember to pack your bike on the back of your RV when you go. If it is your first time hitting the trails, try the Homestead Trail. This trail is hardly two miles long and has only a few inclines, making it great for new riders. If you are more experienced, you can try the Rock ‘N’ Ridge Trail. It is mostly an uphill ride taking you to one of the highest points in the park. Remember to take plenty of breaks and be considerate of other visitors who are also using the trails.
The trails with an orange diamond are open for horseback riding, while the rest of the trails are for hikers and bikers. These trails pass through the hunting grounds. The park does not offer to board horses, but there are a few boarding houses in the surrounding area where you can keep your horse or rent a horse for the day. Please remember that all horseback riding trails are on the right side of the park, and you are required to wear a helmet and proper riding equipment at all times.
Trout fishing is one of the park’s selling points. Each year Bob’s Creek and its tributaries are stocked with farm-raised trout. The optimal time for catching delicious trout is from late-April to mid-June, although the early fall months also offer a few fishing opportunities. Remember to take your fishing rod and tackle box in your RV when you visit. You are required to purchase a fishing license, whether online or in-person, if you are over the age of 16. If you do not have a license, you could participate in one of the many free fishing days that the park offers. In order to go out on the water, you will need a boating permit along with the registration documents for your boat.