Editor’s note: This story is part of the Road Trips special section.
Centre County rests in the midst of seven mountains and offers residents and visitors numerous options for accessing nature and enjoying central Pennsylvania’s mountains. More specifically, there are nine easily accessible state parks and natural areas within a short driving distance both in and near the county.
Bald Eagle State Park
Situated in northern Centre County, this large state park has significant bodies of water and features the noteworthy Foster Joseph Sayers Dam and lake. Hunters, fishermen, campers and hikers all have plenty to do in this well-known Centre County state park.
Where: 149 Main Park Road, Howard
Black Moshannon State Park
Black Mo is located in western Centre County and is one of the most mountainous state parks in the region. Spanning Centre, Clearfield and Elk counties, Black Mo is home to a plethora of wildlife species, and has something to offer sport enthusiasts and nature enthusiasts alike. Cross-country skiing is particularly good, as well as paddling the numerous bodies of water and hiking the many trails.
Where: 4216 Beaver Road, Philipsburg
Penn-Roosevelt State Park
This gem is located in the seven mountains region toward Greenwood Furnace. Horseback riding and cross-country skiing top the list of things to do at this relatively small park of only 41 acres.
Where: Rothrock State Forest, Huntingdon
Poe Paddy State Park
This is one of the famous fishing locations in Centre County. Poe Paddy is known for having some of the cleanest freshwater streams in America. Camping and snowmobiling are options here as well, depending on the season of your travel.
Where: 1087 Poe Paddy Drive, Woodward
Poe Valley State Park
Located just south of Millheim, Poe Valley has a local band named after it — The Poe Valley Troubadours — and 620 acres of parkland to boast. With that many acres, most outdoor recreational activities are available, including boating, camping, fishing and hunting.
Where: 136 Poe Valley Road, Penn Township
Raymond B. Winter State Park
Located between State College and Lewisburg, mountain bikers especially enjoy this park. Park-goers can visit Lock Haven while they are in the area, where they walk the gorge.
Where: 17215 Buffalo Road, Mifflinburg
Whipple Dam State Park
This is another gem, and it’s home to a beach. Paddle the dam or hike the numerous beautiful trails. Even get ice cream at a local shop seated deep in the woods.
Where: 3746 Laurel Run Road, Petersburg