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Part a historical site, part a recreational park, Greenwood Furnace State Park was once the site of a major iron mining and processing operation. Two of the original furnaces (one restored) still stand today. There’s no need to head west to visit the ghost towns when Pennsylvania has several, including one in the heart of Greenwood Furnace State Park. The small town of 300 families was abandoned practically overnight when the iron industry collapsed in the early 1900s. A few cabins and homes, a blacksmith shop, a church, and the graveyard are still intact today.
Shaded by the Seven Mountains ridge, the small park has mild summers and snowy winters. Every August, the park hosts the “Old Home Day” festival, which was started in 1921. The event honors the local mining history, and volunteer reenactors demonstrate some of the techniques used by the 19th-century residents. The closest large town is Lewistown, about 18 miles east. State College, home to the University of Pennsylvania, is 20 miles to the north.
Once mightier than the rugged Rocky Mountains, the ancient Pennsylvania mountains, ground down to nubs by millions of years of erosion, rise to the south and north. They shelter the valley from the worst of the summer heat. The hiking trails wind through lush green woods of pine and oak, dotted by granite boulders dropped by an ice glacier as it retreated its way north, some 65,000 years ago. The banks of the trails are lined with frothy ferns, berry brambles, wildflowers, and thatches of poison ivy. Some trails are multi-use, shared with bikers and horseback riders. The Standing Stone Trail, about 72 miles long, cuts through Greenwood Furnace State Park, connecting the MidState Trail to Tuscarora Trail, which in turn connects to the Appalachian Trail.
The small manmade lake is stocked with trout. At only six acres, it’s too small for most non-motorized boats, but canoeing and kayaking are popular activities. On quiet mornings during the offseason, wildlife like shy black bears, white-tailed deer, and foxes are known to visit the lake for a sip or two.
Surrounded by the 80,000-acre Rothrock State Park, one of its main trailheads is accessed via Greenwood Furnace State Park. As a result, parking can be competitive on weekends in summers.
There are many reasons to consider camping with an RV instead of renting a hotel. Waking up to the sound of birdsong outside, getting a string of fresh-caught trout for breakfast, or getting an early start on a daylong hike. RV camping at Greenwood Furnace State Park ticks off all those boxes, and more. The small campground has electric hookups for campers, and pets are allowed. It’s open only between April and November, however.
If space runs out, search for an RV in Huntingdon County for alternative locations. Down south near Hesston, PA, campgrounds dot the shores of Raystown Lake, many of which are ideal for camping with an RV.
Hiking and camping at Greenwood State Park aren’t the only activities in this area. Hop into a rental motorhome and head out to one of the neighboring towns. America’s Oldest Automobile Museum is found near Huntingdon. It features a vast collection of automobiles and carriages dating back to the late 19th century, including the exquisite 1931 Marmon, 1936 Duesenberg prototype, one of the 1960 Beetles used as a prop in Herbie the Love Bug movie, and many more.
Roll into state college in a rental RV; you’ll have plenty of company. The quirky, fun college town has a hipster, young vibe, similar to Boulder, CO, and Austin, TX, a hopping night scene, and a diverse range of restaurants. The campus is open to visitors, and the rest of the town is equally welcoming, boasting boutique gift shops, clothing stores, and cafes.
Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, The DelGrosso’s Amusement Park and Laguna Splash in Tipton have thrilled tens of thousands since its opening in 1907. The amusement park features over 30 modern, lopsy-topsy, looping, twisty roller coasters, gentler options for young children, water slides and lazy rivers, and carnival-style games galore.
Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park is the only one of its kind in America. The cave tour is conducted entirely by boat. One of the largest cavern systems with an underground river in the state, adventurers will see unique geological features, stalactites and stalagmite formations, and follow the river into underground tunnels at a leisurely pace. Sweaters or jackets are suggested. Access to the cavern system is not handicapped-accessible. Swap a rental RV for a tour bus for an up-close-and-personal tour of the wildlife park. Penn’s Cave, near Centre Hall, is home to over 1,600 wildlife, including wolves, bison, wild mustangs, and mountain lions.
Roam the lush Pennsylvania backwoods in a Greenwood Furnace State Park RV rental. Just remember to keep an eye out for deer while you are out on your outdoor adventure.