Blue Knob State Park offers year-round wilderness adventures on 6,128 acres of woodland.
The park is in the northwestern tip of Bedford County, west of I-99. Altoona, Johnstown, and Bedford are within 25 miles of this scenic park.
The elevation of the park can cause air temperatures to be several degrees cooler than the surrounding cities. The annual snowfall averages about 12 feet.
One of the unique features of the park is the solitude it provides the visitor. There are many opportunities to enjoy the quiet and refreshing serenity of the mountains and streams.
Hiking at Blue Knob State Park
18 miles of trails
Wear appropriate foot wear when hiking at Blue Knob State Park.
Trails are closed for nighttime use.
Many trails at Blue Knob are steep. A hike down a trail means that a hike up is required. Well planned hiking trips utilize different trails to provide an extended hiking experience and avoids a steep return climb.
Chappells Field Trail
2.5 miles, inverted orange V blaze, easiest hiking
This multi-use trail is a gentle sloping loop trail with little gradient change. It is ideal for families and cross-country skiing.
This trail follows the back end of Chappells Field through wildlife management areas, crosses Blue Knob Park Road, travels to the bottom loop of the campground and returns through a forested section to the starting point.
Park at the Chappells Field Trailhead.
Crist Ridge Trail
1.9 miles, orange blaze, easiest hiking
This multi-use trail starts at an intersection of Chappells Field Trail and extends to below the pool. This is an easy downhill hike for the entire family.
To access the trail, park at the lowest intersection of Chappells Field Trail and Knob Road, or at the second curve above the pool.
1.8 miles, orange blaze, easiest hiking
A loop trail off the second major curve along Park Road to Willow Springs Picnic Area, this trail winds through old homestead sites in a rolling valley section of the park.
A wide, gentle trail with some uphill travel, this trail is suitable for the whole family. Good birding opportunities are in the old fields.
Park along Park Road at the second curve.
Mountain View Trail
5 miles, double red blaze, most difficult hiking
This multi-use trail is in a wilderness part of the park. It begins a short distance from the curve on Three Springs Trail.
The trail makes a short, 0.9-mile ‘Look Out’ loop before crossing the Three Springs Trail again. It then descends along Beaverdam Creek before extending along the eastern slope of the mountain to Willow Springs Picnic Area. The trail then proceeds north along an old waterline to Deep Hollow Run and climbs the mountain to the trailhead.
The ‘Look Out’ loop is suitable for the whole family, but the remainder of the trail is recommended only for adults in good hiking condition. Proper footgear (boots) is a must because terrain is steep and rugged.
Access points to different sections of the trail are limited.
This trail should not be used during inclement weather because fog is dense due to the higher elevation.
Park along the curve approaching the ski resort along Ski Access Road.
Rock ‘N’ Ridge Trail
2.8 miles, inverted blue T blaze, more difficult hiking
This multi-use trail starts at the picnic pavilion above the pool, then follows a homestead road weaving through the center of the park near a mountain brook.
The trail is a steady uphill climb until it peaks near the mountain slopes and returns along the high ground connecting the ridge top east of the pool complex.
This is a ridge and valley trail suitable for the whole family.
Park at Mowry Hollow Picnic Area.
3 miles, yellow blaze, more difficult hiking
This trail bisects the park and uses openings created by waterlines and service roads.
Beginning on Ickes Hill on SR 4031, this trail passes Willow Springs Picnic Area, Organized Group Cabin Camp, the campground and Chappells Field, then connects to the lower section of Rock ‘N’ Ridge Trail leading to the pool complex.
Park at Chappells Field Trailhead.
Three Springs Trail
2 miles, orange blaze, easiest hiking
This multi-use trail is a very wide, gentle mountain trail using service roads and waterlines.
It begins at the curve below the ski slope and extends along the eastern slope of the mountain to the Willow Springs Picnic Area.
Enjoy the mountain forest setting with views of the lowlands from about 2,000 feet.
Park at the curve approaching the ski resort along Ski Access Road.
Lost Turkey Trail
26 miles, red blaze, most difficult hiking
Beginning at the towers and ending at the Babcock State Forest Ranger Station on PA 56, this 26-mile trail is a favorite of backpackers, cross-country skiers, and day hikers.
This trail uses a combination of public and private lands.
The trail follows many of the narrow-gauge railroad beds from the logging activities of the 1930s. This trail covers a wide variety of terrain contained in the ridge and valley section of the park, including Blue Knob Mountain and the Allegheny Front.
Unnamed connecting trails are blazed in a double blue blaze.
This trail is not recommended for small children.
A separate topographical trail map is available for the entire Lost Turkey Trail and the Bureau of Forestry’s John P. Saylor Trail.
Overnight camping by backpackers is allowed only on forestry lands by permit. Overnight parking is at the Babcock Ranger Station or the Blue Knob State Park office.
Picnicking at Blue Knob State Park
Burnt House and Mowery Hollow picnic areas are open year round. Willow Springs Picnic Area closes the Friday after Thanksgiving and reopens the week before Memorial Day.
Seven picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible.
Stay the Night at Blue Knob State Park
Flush toilets, warm showers, electric hookups
The 50 tent and trailer sites are open from the second Friday in April to mid-October.
Sites are in open fields and wooded areas. Two sites are walk-in only.
Most sites have electric hookups. Water, a sanitary dump station, modern restrooms, and playground equipment are available.
A campground host is usually in attendance during peak activity days.
Swimming at Blue Knob State Park
Weather permitting, the free swimming pool is open daily from 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M., Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless posted otherwise. The pool is only open on weekends for the first two weeks of the summer season.
Weekday and evening use is recommended.
Pool depth ranges from two to five feet.
For visitor safety, diving in the pool is prohibited.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible.
Wildlife Watching at Blue Knob State Park
Blue Knob State Park is a great place to see wildlife in all seasons.
Remember that we are the guests and should try not to disturb the wildlife we are observing.
Fall is an exciting time to discover wildlife and plants preparing for the coming winter season. Some animals begin to migrate, others prepare to hibernate, and others put on great displays during fall courtship.
Many animals are very active, which makes them easier to observe. The vibrant colors of fall foliage usually peak in the second and third weeks of October. With an abundance of sugar and red maples, the mountain appears to be on fire due to the red and yellow leaves.
Meanwhile, oak trees produce large crops of acorns so at least a few will escape the black bears, deer, squirrel, and turkey fattening up for winter.
The antlers of white-tailed deer bucks mature in time for the rut.
Brook trout are even more vibrant in color as they spawn in gravel areas.
Many birds can be viewed migrating. Look for flocks of robins, grackles, and warblers to gather together before flying south.
Blue Knob is a winter wonderland. The snow depths and length of the season are almost unmatched in Pennsylvania.
While it is often difficult to see wildlife, their tracks are quite evident in the snow. By following their tracks, enjoy the winter wanderings of:
Small animals, like mice and voles, make tunnels in the deep snow.
You might spy deer, turkey, and red-tailed hawk as they search for food.
Spring is a time of renewal. Sap flows back up into the trees and many animals that moved to lower elevations return to the heights.
Songbirds and vultures return, joining the winter inhabitants to nest in the park.
It is an ideal time to see forest birds like warblers and vireos before the leaves come out on the trees.
Wildflowers rush to bloom in the sunlight before tree leaves return. The forest floor can be carpeted in spring beauty, violet, and hepatica.
In mid-April, listen for turkey gobbles and drumming grouse echoing off of the hillsides.
In early summer, babies abound. The broods of many birds hatch and fledge, as well as young owls making their first flights and learning to use their voices.
White-tailed deer fawns are usually born by mid-June.
Black bear sightings are the highest in May and during the June to mid-July mating season, becoming shy and more secretive afterwards.
Songbirds sing amongst the forest canopy and bushes. Watch for glimpses of them as they forage for insects.
Larger animals venture into open fields at dusk to dine on tender grasses.
Fishing at Blue Knob State Park
Trout fishing enthusiasts find excitement in fishing Bob’s Creek and its tributaries. Streams within the park contain native brook trout along with stocked trout placed through a cooperative nursery program operated by the Pavia Sportsmen Club Inc. and the park.
Fishing is good April through June and in early fall.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission regulations and laws apply.
Hunting at Blue Knob State Park
During established seasons, about 5,000 acres are open to:
Training of dogs
Common game species are:
“No Hunting” areas are posted. Permanent tree stands are prohibited on public lands.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas.
Mountain Biking at Blue Knob State Park
Several of the park’s multi-use trails are designated for mountain bike use.
For beginners, Chappells Field Trail is a good challenge.
For the more experienced, Three Springs Trail is an intermediate ride. Three Springs Trail is also open to horseback riding.
For highly experienced and expert mountain bikers, the following trails are suggested:
Crist Ridge Trail
Rock ‘N’ Ridge Trail
Portions of Mountain View Trail
Please be considerate of other trail users.
Horseback Riding at Blue Knob State Park
Equestrian trails are marked with orange diamonds. Horseback riding is also permitted along the right-hand side of park roads.
The trailhead is across from the campground entrance at Chappells Field.
Caution must be used on trails that pass through hunting areas.
All groups conducting trail rides must secure a special use agreement.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING at Blue Knob State Park
Most park trails are suitable for expert skiers.
For beginner skiers, Chappells Field Trail and the closed campground are recommended.
For intermediate skiers, the service roads, closed roadways, and open fields are recommended.
Weather conditions on the trails are usually ideal, however, skiers should use expert or mountain ski equipment.
Downhill Skiing at Blue Knob State Park
The park leases the downhill skiing area to Alpine Resort Operations, LLC, which operates Blue Knob All Seasons Resort, one of the most challenging ski resorts in Pennsylvania.
The area offers a vertical drop of 1,050 feet.
The ski area provides:
Day and night skiing
Four chairlifts to ensure a fast return to the top of the mountain
For more information, contact 814-239-5111.
Snowmobiling at Blue Knob State Park
Snowmobile routes are open daily after the end of hunting season in December.
The trail system consists of eight miles of trails and roads and is marked with orange diamonds. Please stay on the designated trails.
Park roadways are not open for snowmobile use.
No other off-road vehicles are permitted on state park lands.