Established in 1951, Shawnee State Park has been entertaining and educating RV visitors for decades. The park stretches for nearly 4,000 acres across Schellsburg, Pennsylvania, with its main attraction being the gigantic 451-acre warm water lake resting in the center. When it opened, Shawnee State Park was named after the Shawnee Cabbins Native American tribe that once inhabited the area just south of Schellsburg, but the area has changed a lot since then.
For one, the park is much more developed, now featuring the Shawnee Lodge, cottages, yurts, and 293 individual campsites. Visitors can take part in activities such as nature walks, self-guided hikes, biking, swimming, boating, disc golfing, and fishing. But that's not all! RV campers can enjoy all sorts of activities during the off-season too like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, sledding, picnicking, hunting, and ice skating. With year-round recreation, the park is a popular RV vacation spot during all four seasons.
The park is practically overflowing with wildlife and scenic views, making it the perfect place to relax and connect with nature or indulge in a little wildlife photography. There are also several historic sites in close proximity to the park. If you plan your trip carefully you might be able to hit them all. Be sure to check out the marvel of engineering that is the Shawnee dam, separating Shawnee Lake from Shawnee Branch River, before leaving.
RV Rentals in Shawnee State Park
Transportation in Shawnee State Park
Finding the park shouldn't be too hard, especially considering two major roads run right through the park, US 30 and PA 96. The entrance to the park is located off of US 30, which can be reached a few different ways. The majority of the roads within the park are paved, but there are a few unpaved roads that may prove tricky to navigate with a large rig. This is why many overnight visitors choose to tow an extra vehicle. Some of the unpaved roads are a bit narrow and should be navigated with extra caution, but any experienced RV driver shouldn't have a problem. However, in order to really explore the park, you'll need to be ready to travel by foot or bike since most of the park is trails and forest. Some of the trails are open to snowmobiles during the winter, which can be a faster, more exciting way to explore if you already own a snowmobile. Both paved and unpaved parking is available at various spots throughout the park and can be used by RVs, cars, or bikes.
Campgrounds and parking in Shawnee State Park
Campsites in Shawnee State Park
Shawnee State Park Campground
The Shawnee State Park Campground is very large, consisting of over 200 individual campsites of varying sizes, from 20 feet all the way to 115 feet long. To make it a little easier to navigate and less crowded, the campground is split up into six sections. 15 of the campsites have full-service hookups, while 98 of the sites have electric hookups only. If you are bringing your furry friend along with you, be sure to reserve a site in one of the pet-friendly sections since pets aren't allowed at all of the campsites.
Showers and restrooms are located throughout the campground and a dump station is located at the entrance for those who do not have full hook-ups. Most of the roads within the campground are paved, but several of them are unpaved, and they are all one-way, so be careful while driving within the campground. The campground itself isn't located near any attractions, but it is just a short drive from the lake.
However, the Lost Antler Trail can easily be accessed from the campground, especially from sections B and C, where the trail connects directly to the road. It is recommended to make a reservation before arriving, which can easily be done online. Visitors can stay for up to 14 consecutive nights from Memorial Day to Labor Day and 21 consecutive nights the rest of the time the campground is open. Cottages and yurts are also available to reserve.
Shawnee State Park Campground
The campsites in section E are non-reservable and are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Although there are only 14 sites in the loop, none of which have hookups, it at least gives you a better chance of getting a spot if you didn't make a reservation.
Seasonal activities in Shawnee State Park
16 miles of trails are laid out throughout the park, which more than enough to keep you busy outside the camper. The trails vary in length and difficulty, but there is certainly something for everyone's taste and skill set. The Colvin Trail is a great choice for anyone with kids or those looking for just a short walk since it is only a half-mile long, whereas the Lake Shore Trail stretches along the scenic shore of the lake for over three miles.
Boating and Fishing
There are multiple ways to spend a day at Shawnee State Park by the lake, with two of the most popular being boating and fishing. Three boat launches are available on Shawnee Lake for motorized boats. Paddle boats, canoes, and rowboats are also available to rent during the summer. From your boat or the comfort of the fishing pier, you can cast out your line into the stocked lake and reel in anything from bass and walleye to catfish, sunfish, carp, and Northern pikes.
Taking Nature Walks
Get the family together and take part in one of the many fun and educational guided nature walks offered during the summer. The walks aim to educate visitors about the natural wildlife and history of the area while getting in some good exercise as well. They can be a great opportunity to learn more about nature without just reading, you actually get to get up close and see exactly what you're learning about. Although some of the programs are geared more towards kids, many adults love the walks, if not just for the beautiful scenery.
Shawnee State Park has something most state parks don't, a deep lake that is perfect for ice skating. In the winter when the lake freezes over you can still travel out to the park for fun on the lake, including ice skating and ice fishing. The thickness of the ice is not monitored, so always be sure to be careful and err on the side of caution if a spot looks a little thin. And if you don't have skates, or don't know how to skate, the hills in the park make the perfect spot for sledding after a good snowfall.
Playing Disc Golf
Located in the main day-use area is a nine-hole disc golf course that is open year round. It's a great place to spend an afternoon and hone in on your skills or learn an entirely new skill. Although trying a new sport can seem daunting, first-time players shouldn't be scared of playing. It's not too hard to pick up and can be fun for the whole family. You can always just play for fun instead of keeping score.
Hunting is allowed at the park, but with some stipulations. Hunting can only be done in designated areas and during designated seasons. Hunting, trapping, and training of dogs are all allowed at Shawnee State Park on over 3,000 acres of land, and common game in the park include deer, rabbit, squirrel, and grouse. Both firearm and archery hunting are permitted, but just remember to always exercise the highest level of caution to avoid any accidents. So if you're an avid hunter and RVer Shawnee State Park is the place for you.