Black Moshannon State Park covers 3,394 acres of forested land and wetlands. This area tucked away in central Pennsylvania provides plenty of recreational opportunities. Even more so, it is surrounded by over 43,000 more acres of protected land in the Moshannon State Forest. With tens of thousands of acres of forests to explore, you’re sure to find solitude somewhere on one of the Black Moshannon State Park trails.
Where is Black Moshannon State Park?
Black Moshannon is located in the central part of Pennsylvania. Access the park fairly easily from Interstate 80, which travels east-west through the entire state.
Located in Centre County, Black Moshannon State Park is only about a 30-minute drive from State College, PA.
When to Visit Black Moshannon
The park is open daily from dawn until dusk. There are some day-use areas, which close at dusk.
The beach, cottages and cabins, and overnight camping areas are open only seasonally. Check with the PA DCNR for opening and closing dates.
The park office can also be reached via phone at 814-342-5960 for the most up-to-date information.
A Quick Comparision of Black Moshannon’s Hiking Trails
|Hay Road||1.1 mi||Easy|
|Shingle Mill||3.67 mi||Moderate|
|Ski Slope||2 mi||Moderate|
|Sleepy Hollow||1.2 mi||Moderate|
|Star Mill||2.1 mi||Easy|
|Tent Hill||0.2 mi||Moderate|
|Allegheny Front Trail||40+ mi||Moderate-Difficult|
Hiking Black Moshannon State Park Trails
Black Moshannon State Park trails wind through wooded areas, swampy areas, and around the lake, covering 20 miles. These trails connect to the surrounding Moshannon State Forest for even more hiking and backpacking.
You can create a loop of just about any distance with the trails in and around Black Moshannon State Park.
1. Blueberry Trail
Park at the Mid-State Airport to access the trailhead for this short 1-mile loop trail. Then, you’ll be able to weave through and explore some of the bog areas.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife who frequent the area looking to feed on some of the trail’s many namesake berries.
2. Bog Trail
Another trail where you can view the boggy areas that fill Black Moshannon, this one is elevated on a wooden boardwalk for much of the way. Be sure to take notice of the variety of wetland plants and animals.
This easy stroll through the wetlands is also a great option to consider for those with mobility issues or any disabilities. Park at Boating Area #3 for this access.
3. Hay Road Trail
This easy, flat trail used to be used for farming purposes but now travels through some wooded areas, too.
Although this is a point-to-point trail, the Hay Road Trail can be combined with others like the Indian, Moss-Hanne, and Seneca Trails for a longer adventure.
4. Indian Trail
A slightly more difficult adventure, the short one-mile Indian Trail leads through mostly wooded forests.
Use this as a connector, too, for more extended adventures. You could hike for miles on the trails through Black Moshannon.
5. Lake Loop Trail
Take a peek at the scenic Black Moshannon Lake from different angles. The Lake Loop will give you a few different perspectives.
This loop trail is short and flat, covering less than one mile. Cross by the beach area, the lake’s dam, the bathhouse, and along the shore.
Access this trail from the campground by taking the Tent Hill Trail down the hill for a hike just over one mile in length.
6. Moss-Hanne Trail
This is the longest day hike trail within the state park. Over 7.7 miles, you’ll weave through both the woodlands and wetlands that make up this state park.
If you’re doing a multi-day hike around the park, you’ll use a section of the Moss-Hanne Trail.
Be sure to wear waterproof footwear through the boggy areas. They can stay quite muddy, even well into the summer.
7. Seneca Trail
The Seneca Trail is another shorter trail you’ll find on the east side of the park south of Cabin Road.
It passes through wooded areas along a point-to-point route and would be great as a connector from the cabins to some of the other trails on this side of the park.
8. Shingle Mill Trail
If you’re planning a long-distance hike, you may need to include this trail on your itinerary. You can use this one to access the northern half of the Allegheny Front Trail after hiking along Black Moshannon Creek.
The scenery along the creek is quite beautiful, and this could be worth hiking on its own as an out and back route.
9. Ski Slope Trail
Access this trail from the corner of the parking lot behind the beach’s bathhouse. You’ll immediately begin your ascent, though we still wouldn’t consider this a difficult hike.
At the top of the hill, you’ll reach a park building and the “ski slope.” This slope is not what you’d imagine in a modern ski area, but it’s still the highest area of the park nonetheless.
There isn’t a stellar view from this spot, but fall colors could be stunning on this entire hike. Save this one for the fall season, or when all the leaves are down, to have a little more of a view.
10. Sleepy Hollow Trail
Another loop trail located near the campground and some of the picnic areas, Sleepy Hollow is just over a mile long. The wooded areas are a little thicker here than in some other areas if you’re looking for a little more variety.
You likely can find beautiful spring wildflowers along the trail while hiking this one. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife in the thickets, too.
11. Snowmobile Trail
This old forest road turned multiuse trail provides easy access for many modes of travel through the surrounding state forest.
While you can hike on this trail, and use it to return to the parking area after hiking the Ski Slope Trail, it is much more popular with other types of outdoor enthusiasts.
Seasonally, snowmobiles, horses, and mountain bikers are able to also use this trail.
12. Star Mill Trail
Winding along the shores of the southeast extension of Black Moshannon Lake, you’ll find the flat, easy Star Mill Trail.
Access the trail by parking at Boat Launch #4. The trail forms a loop through wooded forest land, crossing Beaver Road twice along the way.
13. Tent Hill Trail
This trail is really just a short connector. If you are staying overnight at the campground, use this trail to access the Lake Loop Trail without having to drive anywhere.
This short trail is easy on the way down, but be sure to save some energy for the return trip. It is a little steep going back up!
You’ll find this trail between campsites 46 and 22, across the camp road from the campground host site.
14. Allegheny Front Trail
If you’re looking for a multi-day adventure, you can connect to the Allegheny Front Trail from the state park to get a more backcountry experience. The Allegheny Front Trail is about 42 miles long, but it can be split into an east and west loop, each around 30 miles, for a shorter trip.
Only about 3 miles of this trail are actually located within the boundaries of the state park.
This is a perfect trail for a 3-4 day hike, or you can plan to just hike a section of this trail as an out and back day hike.
Hiking Routes Near Black Moshannon State Park
Central Pennsylvania is full of opportunities for outdoor adventure, and it is accessible for many different ability levels. You can reach many other great options within an hour. Here are some of our favorites:
- Mount Nittany (22.5 miles, 33 minutes)
- Bald Eagle State Park (21.9 miles, 31 minutes)
- Greenwood Furnace State Park (36.5 miles, 52 minutes)
- Quehanna Wild Area (33.8 miles, 51 minutes)
This is not an all-inclusive list. Don’t be afraid to branch out and discover your new favorite trail. There are plenty of great resources to find your next hike, including apps like AllTrails.
Biking on Black Moshannon State Park Trails
There are a few trails open to mountain bikes, but miles and miles of additional trails can be accessed via the Snowmobile Trail.
Connect to the trails in the Moshannon State Forest for endless options. Biking is also permitted on dirt and gravel state forest roads.
For an easy bike ride within the park, consider either the Star Hill or Sleepy Hollow loops.
For a more difficult mountain biking adventure, pedal up the Ski Slope Trail. This will surely give you a 3-mile workout.
Where to Stay in Black Moshannon
The campground at this state park is nice and wooded, offering plenty of shade from the hot summer sun in a convenient location. Both RVs and tent sites are offered here, and the small tent loop sites are more spread out than some we have experienced, providing a little more privacy.
There are quite a few cabins and cottages throughout the park, too. Each has different levels of amenities and furnishings.
Alternatively, check out sites like VRBO for great house and cabin options nearby.
Wrap Up: Why Visit Black Moshannon State Park?
This park is great for “off the grid” adventures, as much of the park does not have any cell service. Be sure to plan your adventures ahead of time, stop at the park visitor center for recommendations, and to pick up park maps.
Then, enjoy your time hiking through beautiful woodlands, soggy marshlands, and around the lake.
You’ll certainly enjoy an “unplugged” few days exploring the miles of trails!