Hike, swim and explore the area’s state parks

Kayakers float at Black Moshannon State Park, which spans Centre, Clearfield and Elk counties.
Kayakers float at Black Moshannon State Park, which spans Centre, Clearfield and Elk counties. Centre Daily Times, file

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

Contact: 625-2775

Info: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ stateparks/findapark/baldeagle

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

Contact: 342-5960

Info: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ stateparks/findapark/ blackmoshannon

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

Contact: 667-1800

Info: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ stateparks/findapark/penn roosevelt

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

Contact: 717-667-3622

Info: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ stateparks/findapark/poepaddy

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

Contact: 349-2460

Info: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ stateparks/findapark/poe valley

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

Contact: 570-966-1455

Info: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ stateparks/findapark/ raymondbwinter/index.htm

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

Contact: 667-1800

Info: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ stateparks/findapark/whipple dam