Greenwood Furnace State Park: What to See, What to Do, and Where to Stay

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Outdoor recreation opportunities are plentiful in central Pennsylvania, and Greenwood Furnace State Park is just one of the reasons why the area is so beautiful.

With a small lake and a beautiful vista, how could you go wrong?

There are plenty of other things to do and reasons to visit Greenwood Furnace State Park in any season, all outlined here!

Table of Contents

Where is Greenwood Furnace State Park?
Things to do in Warm Weather
Things to do in Cold Weather
Where to Stay
Other Nearby Spots to Visit

Where is Greenwood Furnace State Park?

Greenwood Furnace State Park can be easily accessed by heading southeast from State College, PA. The park is less than 20 miles from town. Access the park in less than 45 minutes from Exit 161 off of Interstate 80, heading south.

The two closest towns are State College and Huntington, PA, both reached in about 30 minutes by car.

Things to do in Warm Weather

Hiking

Hiking is a popular activity at Greenwood Furnace. Plenty of trails wind through the State Park grounds, and then connect to others continuing on for hundreds of miles.

Both short, family friendly day hikes and multi-night backpacking trips can begin here.

For something a little more adventurous, begin at the trailhead parking lot across the road from the park offices. You’ll see the Standing Stone Trail, where you will begin the hike.

We recommend doing it in reverse and would go as follows.

After just a short distance on the Standing Stone Trail, you’ll want to take the Monsell Trail up the hill, winding through some, at times, thick forests. There is some signage about the flora and fauna of the area along the way.

Continue on this trail until it intersects with the Lorence Trail, which you will take to the left.

About a mile of hiking on the Lorence Trail leads to the Turkey Trail, which takes off on a steep incline up the mountain. Take this trail, up the steep grades and switchbacks.

After less than a mile, you’ve reached the top to find you’ve returned to the Standing Stone Trail. Just a short distance on the trail, it opens up to the beautiful Stone Valley Vista, the highlight of the hike.

The Stone Valley Vista on the Standing Stone Trail in Greenwood Furnace State Park

Beyond the vista, most of the hard work is done, and you’ll return down the Standing Stone Trail, past the old church, to return to the parking area. The entire distance covers about 5 miles.

For something shorter and more family-friendly, consider either the Lake View Trail, a short 0.25 mile hike around the lake, or the Moore Trail, which also begins at the same parking area across from the park offices.

The Moore Trail covers 0.5 miles through wooded terrain at the base of Stone Mountain.

Really, you can’t go wrong with any of the hiking trails in the park.

Fishing

Fishing is an extremely popular activity at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Although the lake is somewhat small compared to some of the other nearby waterways and State Park facilities, it is periodically stocked with trout.

When the season opens in the spring, you’ll find plenty of people enjoying time with their poles in the water.

Please note, no boats are permitted on the lake during that first weekend of trout season in the spring.

Boating

Because Greenwood Lake is only 6 acres in size, there are no motorized boats here.

This is a great opportunity for those looking to float and enjoy a kayak or canoe, or for those looking to fish from these vessels.

Just note, again, that they are not permitted the first weekend of trout season in the spring.

The calm waters make for an enjoyable day of floating, especially for beginners. Just be sure to avoid getting near the spillway!

Swimming

300 feet of beachfront sit just in front of a conveniently located in front of facilities for showering, restrooms, and a snack bar.

The beach is typically open during the summer months from the end of May to early September.

The area is swim at your own risk, and there is an ADA accessible ramp to allow swimming opportunities for all.

Plan to arrive earlier in the day on summer weekends to get the best spots.

Picnicking

Along with picnic tables scattered about the grounds, eight pavilions for picnicking and group gatherings are located near the beach and swimming area in the park.

These pavilions can be reserved in advance with the park office, but any unused sites are first-come, first-served.

In addition to the shelter from the elements, there are horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, and a playground for children.

Explore History

The namesake furnaces of Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Historically, Greenwood Furnace was a booming iron-making town. Plenty of remnants of the industry are still easily found wandering around the park.

In addition to the two iron-making furnaces, there is also a blacksmith shop open during summer weekends for educational programs and displays.

The shop building was standing during the time when iron production was in full force.

Another significant historical structure still in place today is the Greenwood Furnace Church.

Originally established in 1867, the church has a rich history in the community and there are informational signs around the property.

The church also hosts Sunday services in the summer months, from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend.

Mountain biking

While there are no designated mountain biking areas in this State Park, trails blazed in red are permitted mountain biking areas.

These trails include the Brush Ridge Trail and Dogtown Trail, for nearly 4 miles of mountain biking terrain.

Although there is not an extensive mountain biking trail network in Greenwood Furnace State Park, these 4 miles of trails could be combined with others in the area for plenty of fun and adventure.

Winter Activities in Greenwood Furnace State Park

For those looking to get out and enjoy a winter wonderland, there are plenty of activities at Greenwood Furnace. Young and old alike can find something to do in the park.

Here are some of the best options:

Ice Skating

During cold winters, Greenwood Lake freezes and the area adjacent to the beach is set aside for ice skating.

Because the ice thickness is not monitored, anyone planning to skate here should definitely use caution.

The State Park does have a warming hut set up, as well as heated restrooms near the beach for comfort and convenience during winter activities.

Ice Fishing

Another popular, but proceed at your own risk, activity is ice fishing.

After freezing, plenty of ice fishing huts and tracks to holes can be found on the six acre Greenwood Lake.

The lake is stocked periodically with trout species.

Be sure to check the ice thickness for yourself and follow safety precautions accordingly to avoid any mishaps or dangerous situations.

Cross Country Skiing

Hiking trails marked with blue blazes are great for cross country ski use in the winter months.

These include the Tramway, Dogtown, Viantown, and Brush Ridge trails.

The trails can be used to access and combine with the Rothrock State Forest trails for days and days of cross country adventures.

For those looking to just get their feet wet with cross country skiing, any of the grassy day-use areas can also be used for this recreation.

Sledding

The young, and the young at heart, can find a small sled riding hill in Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Although on the smaller side, you can find the designated hill behind the visitor’s center.

Also conveniently nearby, using the same facilities as the ice skaters, there is a warming hut and heated restrooms.

Snowmobiling

Marked by orange diamonds (not just orange blazes), these are trails where snowmobiling is permitted.

While there are only short trails actually located within Greenwood Furnace State Park, these trails do provide access to over 200 miles of recreation in the Rothrock State Forest.

Where to Stay

Camping

Camping is the only overnight option available to stay in Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Just over 50 sites can be reserved at the one campground in the park. Make your reservations ahead of time online at ReserveAmerica.

Only a handful of these sites do not have electric hookups.

Two of the sites are walk-in tent sites, with the rest being available for tents and RVs with parking at the site.

Alternative Options

Although the address of this State Park puts it in Huntington, PA, the drive between town center and the park will take about half of an hour.

State College is also about a half hour away by car.

Those are the two best towns for hotel searching, but depending on the time of year, selection may be significantly limited.

Alternatively, you may find a great Airbnb option a little closer.

Other Nearby Spots to Visit

Whipple Dam State Park

A small State Park at just 256 acres, Whipple Dam is a great day use park for kayaking and boating, swimming, and picnicking.

Just 15 minutes away from Greenwood Furnace, if there is a crowd at one, consider checking out the other.

There are no overnight facilities at this park, though.

Penn-Roosevelt State Park

Even smaller yet is Penn-Roosevelt State Park, with just 41 acres to it’s name. This park, though, is surrounded by 80,000 acres of the Rothrock State Forest, making it feel much larger.

Popular activities here include hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

18 first-come, first-served primitive tent sites are available in a secluded camping area in the park, but there is a fee for use.

Wrapping Up: Greenwood Furnace State Park

With such easy access from State College, Greenwood Furnace State Park is a great weekend getaway that offers hiking, adventure, and relaxation by the small lake.

Although there are bigger, more spacious parks around central Pennsylvania, this one is still worth a visit, even if only stopping by for the afternoon.

Hike a portion of the Standing Stone Trail, try your luck with the trout, or explore the iron-making roots.

Whatever the reason, get out and explore Greenwood Furnace State Park!

Have you visited Greenwood Furnace State Park? What was your favorite trail or thing to explore? Leave a comment below.