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Camping at Susquehannock State Forest

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Susquehannock State Forest is situated in North Central Pennsylvania in the United States. It is comprised of 265,000 acres of forestland in Potter, Clinton, and McKean Counties, offering a vast tapestry of woodlands, streams, and wildlife for outdoor enthusiasts to explore.

Camping Information

When planning a camping trip to Susquehannock State Forest, it's essential to keep in mind the following key points:

Types of Camping

  • Primitive/Dispersed Camping: This is allowed throughout the state forest, provided campers follow the rules and regulations set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Check for specific guidelines as these can change.

  • Designated Campsites: There are also designated campsites in the forest which may have amenities like fire rings and picnic tables. Some of these require reservations and/or a fee.

  • Motorized Campsites: These campsites are accessible by motor vehicles and typically offer more amenities, but they may be limited in number and require reservations.

Permits and Reservations

  • Camping Permit: If you are camping at a site more than one mile from your vehicle, or if you stay for more than one night in the same location, a free camping permit is required from the forest district office.

  • Reservations: Designated campgrounds and motorized campsites often require reservations, especially during peak seasons. It is advisable to plan ahead and reserve your spot.

Rules and Regulations

  • Leave No Trace: Campers should follow Leave No Trace principles, ensuring they do not damage the natural environment or leave behind any waste.

  • Firewood: Moving firewood is discouraged due to invasive insect species. It's recommended to buy firewood at or near the camping location.

  • Fires: Open fires are generally allowed but must be kept in existing fire rings at designated campsites. During periods of high fire danger, there may be restrictions in place.

  • Pets: If pets are brought into the forest, they must be under physical control at all times. Check for any specific areas where pets may not be allowed.

  • Alcohol: The possession and use of alcohol may be restricted, or prohibited in certain areas, so be sure to check the current regulations.


Susquehannock State Forest offers a wide range of recreational activities:

  • Hiking: The forest has extensive hiking trails, including sections of the Susquehannock Trail System, which is a loop trail totaling about 85 miles.
  • Biking: Mountain bikers can enjoy many trails and roads throughout the forest.
  • Horseback Riding: Certain trails are designated for equestrian use.
  • Fishing and Boating: Streams and rivers in the area are popular for fishing, and there are boating opportunities, with restrictions on some bodies of water.
  • Hunting: The forest is open to hunting for those with a Pennsylvania hunting license, during approved seasons.

Seasonal Considerations

The experience of camping in Susquehannock State Forest can differ greatly depending on the time of year:

  • Summer: This is the peak season for camping. Expect more people and potentially higher temperatures.
  • Fall: The autumn months provide a spectacular display of fall foliage. Cooler temperatures can make for comfortable camping conditions.
  • Winter: Some camping areas may be inaccessible due to snow. Winter camping can be an option for experienced campers. Always be prepared for cold weather and snow.
  • Spring: Melting snow and spring rains can lead to muddy conditions. This is also a quieter season for camping, apart from the start of trout season.

Emergency Information

It's crucial to be aware that cell phone coverage may be spotty. Always inform someone about your camping plans and expected return. Local emergency services should be contacted in case of an emergency. It is advisable to carry a map, compass, or GPS device for navigation.

By following the above guidelines and preparing adequately, campers can have a safe and enjoyable experience in Susquehannock State Forest. Always check for the most current information before your trip by contacting the local forest district office or visiting the Pennsylvania DCNR website.

Map of Campgrounds in Susquehannock State Forest
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