Trough Creek State Park in southern Pennsylvania is a gorge park of 554 acres full of cliffs, rock ledges, and the Great Trough Creek, which cut through Terrace Mountain many years ago. In the early 1800s, settlers built the Paradise Furnace and forged iron in the park. The ruins remain today and are a popular attraction along with the Paradise Cemetery. The park conveniently borders Rothrock State Forest and Raystown Lake, making it a fine destination for RVers, anglers, and hikers.
With such startling and dramatic beauty and 12 miles of trails to enjoy it, you'll want to extend your stay at Trough Creek State Park. See breathtaking views atop a suspension bridge on the way to Balanced Rock and Rainbow Falls, look over vertical cliffs into steep ravines, and stop by the Ice Mine, an unusual phenomenon where water freezes in the summer and melts in the winter. The stunning views will have you returning year after year, not to mention the plethora of other outdoor activities sure to please folks of all interests.
Cast your fly in the fast-running stream or bait your hook for a more serene day on the lake. Ride your bike along Old Gorge Road or take an interpretive nature class to learn about the local environment and enjoy a picnic lunch on the edge of the water.
But Trough Creek State Park isn't just for summer adventurers. There is plenty to do in the colder months as well, such as hunting, snowmobiling, and cool-water fishing. The park is a winter wonderland once the snow begins to fall, and with the close proximity to Rothrock State Forest, the hunting opportunities are abundant. Campsites are limited, so start planning now to make Trough Creek State Park your next RV vacation destination.
Trough Creek State Park is located in central Pennsylvania, not far from Altoona and State College. The park sits along US-994, which is easy to access from Route 76. Take some caution on the local roads, which can be hilly and winding in some areas. Drive carefully if you are visiting in the winter months, since smaller roads may not be plowed as quickly as major routes.
In addition to the 33 campsites in the park, there are some small parking lots near trailheads and at various locations throughout the park. Most campsites are back-in and can take up to a 40-foot long rig.
Open from mid-April to mid-December, this campground has 29 sites that are able to hold rigs up to 40 feet long. Most spots are back-in, but there are a few pull-through sites as well. These sites come with electric hookups and all are near the water. Each site features a campfire ring and picnic table. Additionally, there are five walk-in-only sites, three pavilions, and one cabin. Some, but not all, sites are pet-friendly, so make sure to check when making your reservation. You can check out interpretive programs at the nearby amphitheater. A dump station is available near the park office. Primitive restrooms are located nearby, but there are no showering facilities.
For a more luxurious stay, you may want to try the Trough Creek Laurel Lodge, which is a log cabin-style five-bedroom house. This three-bath house on 2.25 acres is just minutes from Trough Creek and Raystown Lake. With room for 20, the house is perfect for reunions, multi-family vacations, or just lodging for the large family while visiting the nearby state park. Amenities include central heat and a modern kitchen. Reservations are definitely required, so make plans well in advance.
While hiking is the more popular activity at Trough Creek, you'll still want to load your bike into the RV. A 3.5-mile bike scenic trail goes from Old Forge Road, past the creek, to the edge of Raystown Lake. Along the way, you may spot some deer, or even a bald eagle, which have been increasing in number throughout the area in recent years. Be sure to stay on the trail because cycling is not allowed on rocks or hiking trails because of the danger of slipping.
From April to November, the park offers extensive interpretive nature programs for guests. Through the use of an approved education curriculum, guided walks, and hands-on activities, participants gain understanding and appreciation of the specific environmental features in the park and surrounding area. The goal of the program is to instill in the attendees a cultural responsibility to the land and natural resources, all while having fun outdoors.
Trough Creek State Park is known for its challenging hiking trails. The park boasts 12 miles of steep, twisting, and over-the-top scenic landscapes. Hikers come from miles around to experience the dramatic rock-ledge views and to hike through fields of boulders next to steep ravines. Take Balanced Rock Trail over the suspension bridge for a breathtaking perspective of Balanced Rock and Rainbow Falls. Try Cemetery Trail, which starts at the Paradise Furnace ruins before crossing a picturesque wooden bridge leading to the 17th century Paradise Furnace Cemetery. Pass by the Ice Mine, where cold air seeps out a hole in the mountain and freezes water in the summer, melting in the winter. These aren't beginner trails, so make sure to wear good quality footwear and supervise children at all times.
Stream and lake fishing for trout, smallmouth bass, rock bass, and panfish are popular in Trough Creek State Park. The streams pour into Raystown Lake, which is actually a reservoir, so anglers get a chance at a variety of cool and warm water fish. Raystown Lake has a sheltered cove perfect for a day of peaceful communing with nature even late into the fall and early winter. After a relaxing day of reeling them in, bring your catch back to the RV to cook up for your family or friends. Fishing is allowed all year round. Just make sure to get your Pennsylvania fishing license before casting that line.
Trough Creek State Park features 100 acres open to hunting during certain seasons. There are also hunting areas at the nearby Rothrock State Forest and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' lands. In order to hunt you'll need the proper hunting licenses. Popular game to hunt in the area include deer, turkey, grouse, and squirrel. Dog training is allowed from just after Labor Day until March 31st. After a day tracking your prey through the forest, you'll be glad to take a load off in the comfort and warmth of your trailer.
During the winter, guests like to stay in the RV campground at Trough Creek for their snowmobiling vacation. The park is the trailhead for snowmobilers entering the Rothrock State Forest where there are plenty of trails to please any winter enthusiast. Be safe and dress for conditions, check weather forecasts, and make sure to pick up a snowmobile trail map from the park office. After a day in the snow, warm up in the camper and enjoy a hot dinner and good night sleep before another day of exploring the dramatic beauty of winter in Pennsylvania.