Black Moshannon State Park covers 3,394 acres of forests and wetlands and conserves unique, natural environments. More than 43,000 acres of the Moshannon State Forest surround the park and help create a remote and wild setting that provides recreational opportunities in all seasons.
According to local tradition, American Indians called this watershed “Moss-Hanne,” meaning “moose stream,” thus the origin of the park’s name.
Appropriately, the “black” in the park name describes the tea-colored waters. The 250-acre Black Moshannon Lake is fed by clear springs and small streams which flow through the bogs that stretch in most directions from its shores.
As the clear water flows through sphagnum moss and other wetland plants, it becomes colored by plant tannins. In a sense, the bog vegetation acts like a giant teabag to color the water.
Hiking at Black Moshannon State Park
20 miles of trails
The trails pass though all of the varied habitats of the park.
Seneca, Indian, Bog, and Hay Road trails and a short section of the Moss-Hanne Trail are connected, making them suitable for loop hikes.
1 mile loop, easiest hiking
Get a taste of the Black Moshannon Bog Natural Area on this short loop. Parking is available at the Mid-State Airport. The trail's abundant berries attract a variety of wildlife and bird species.
0.3 mile, 0.5 mile full loop, easiest hiking
A wooden boardwalk stretches out into the bog at Black Moshannon State Park. Take the boardwalk to explore a wetland dominated by sphagnum moss and leatherleaf, and accented by sedges, rushes, carnivorous plants, and lilies.
Observe waterfowl and other wildlife along the trail.
Wayside panels tell the surprising story of bogs and other park wetlands.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. Access for people with disabilities is at Boating Area 3.
GPS DD: Lat. 40.9014 Long. -78.05775
Hay Road Trail
1.1 miles, easiest hiking
This grassy old road eases through a mature mixed-oak forest with a black cherry understory and once was used by farmers who harvested marsh grasses.
1 mile, more difficult hiking
This trail leads travelers through changing scenery of open oak woods, pines, clearings, and an unusual grove of hawthorns.
Lake Loop Trail
0.7 mile, easiest hiking
This flat loop connects two bridges for an easy walk along the lake’s lower shoreline. The trail offers a visit to the dam and the beach. Please walk pets to the back of the beach house.
7.7 miles, more difficult hiking
On its way through the Black Moshannon Bog Natural Area, this trail travels through pine plantations, hemlock bottomlands, wetland edges, hardwood forests, grassy openings, blueberry patches, and beaver ponds.
Waterproof footwear is recommended since some sections are often wet.
Two boardwalk sections allow exploration of a big marsh and an alder swamp.
The best blueberries are found near this trail from mid-June to mid-August.
0.8 mile, easiest hiking
This trail weaves through a typical second growth forest of oak and cherry, which shades stumps of pine that were logged out over a century ago.
Shingle Mill Trail
3.67 miles (2 miles within the park), more difficult hiking
This path ventures from the parking area near the dam and follows beautiful Black Moshannon Creek. The trail continues north of the Huckleberry Road bridge and connects to the Allegheny Front Trail.
Ski Slope Trail
2 miles, most difficult hiking
The trail passes through a forest as it treks up Rattlesnake Mountain. Enjoy the views from the highest point in the park, including an old ski slope.
At the PA 504 crossing, try to decipher the old Philadelphia-Erie Turnpike mile marker.
Sleepy Hollow Trail
1.2-mile loop, more difficult hiking
Explore a hemlock-birch forest and woodlands of cherry and oak. This trail is recommended for spring wildflowers.
Look for evidence of a 1984 selective timber cut. Harvested trees were killed by years of gypsy moth defoliation. New growth provides good food and cover for turkey, deer, and songbirds.
The trail starts near Pavilion 1.
1.1 miles, easiest hiking
This trail connects to gravel roads and trails open to snowmobiles, horses, and mountain bikes on surrounding Moshannon State Forest land.
Use the Beach Parking Lot which is plowed in winter. This grassy old road provides a trip through an oak woods with an open understory.
Star Mill Trail
2.1-mile loop, easiest hiking
With fine views of the lake and opportunities to see wildlife, this trail travels through pines, a climax forest of beech and hemlock, and an uncommon stand of balsam fir.
Look for evidence of Star Mill, a sawmill built in 1879.
Tent Hill Trail
0.2 mile, more difficult hiking
Begin near Campsite 22. This trail drops down to the lake shoreline and connects the campground with Lake Loop Trail.
Allegheny Front Trail
40 miles, most difficult hiking
This trail encircles the park, traversing 40 miles of the Allegheny Plateau. The trail is rocky and rugged on its the way to five mountain trout streams and eleven vistas in Moshannon State Forest. The Allegheny Front Trail is ideal for backpacking or a day hike on any segment.
Picnicking at Black Moshannon State Park
There are 250 picnic tables provided in four picnic areas.
Eight picnic pavilions, some with electricity, may be reserved for a fee, or when unreserved, may be used on a first-come, first-served basis at no charge.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. ADA accessible pavilions and tables are available.
Stay the Night at Black Moshannon State Park
Flush toilets, warm showers, electric hook-ups
The 73 campsites each have a picnic table and a fire ring. Most sites can accommodate either a tent or a trailer.
Many sites have electrical hookups. Some sites have full service hook up, which includes sewer, water, and electricity.
Pets are permitted on designated sites.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. Some campsites are ADA accessible.
The campground features:
Washhouses with flush toilets
Coin-operated laundry machines
Sanitary dump station
Swimming at Black Moshannon State Park
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. An ADA accessible sand beach is open from mid-May to mid-September, 8:00 A.M. to sunset.
Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules.
GPS DD: Lat. 40.91622 Long. -78.05909
Smoking is prohibited on the beach and in the swimming area. For visitors who smoke and still want to use the beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes:
E-cigarettes, and other handheld, lighted smoking devices
Wildlife Watching at Black Moshannon State Park
Black Moshannon State Park is high atop the Allegheny Front and enjoys cool summer days and cold winters due to the unique geology of the area.
Two features chill the park:
Slight basin shape that traps cooler, heavier air
Because of this, many plants and animals that are normally only observed farther north, like leatherleaf and Canada warblers, can be seen in the park.
The wildlife you observe depends greatly on the habitat types you visit and your observation techniques. Look for wildlife in the wealth of different woodland and wetland types, along shorelines, and in edges where one habitat borders another.
Mornings and evenings, when many animals are active, are great times for viewing many species. Be quiet and leave pets at home. Walking slowly along trails, like Star Mill and Sleepy Hollow, is best, especially to see songbirds.
Reading wildlife signs, such as tracks and droppings, can add to your enjoyment. Take part in park environmental interpretive programs or use a wildlife watching book to enhance your understanding and skill.
Boating at Black Moshannon State Park
Electric motors only
The 250-acre Black Moshannon Lake has 87 mooring spaces and four boat launch/mooring areas.
Boat rentals are available during the summer season.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. Boating Area #1 is ADA accessible.
Most of the lake is open for iceboating. A state park launch permit is required for iceboats.
Ice thickness is not monitored for this activity.
Fishing at Black Moshannon State Park
The 250-acre Black Moshannon Lake provides habitat for warmwater fish.
Below the lake, Black Moshannon Creek contains trout. Trout anglers can enjoy their sport in several nearby streams, especially Six Mile Run.
A Delayed Harvest - Artificial Lures Only area is designated on 1.3 miles of Black Moshannon Creek from the state park boundary to 0.3 mile downstream of the Huckleberry Road bridge.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. An ADA accessible fishing pier is on the western shore of the lake.
Except for the ice skating area, all of the 250-acre Black Moshannon Lake is open for ice fishing.
Popular species caught through the ice are:
Ice thickness is not monitored for this activity.
Hunting at Black Moshannon State Park
From the day after Labor Day through March 31, more than 3,000 acres are open to:
Training of dogs
Common game species are:
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas.
Mountain Biking at Black Moshannon State Park
Sleepy Hollow and Star Mill trails offer convenient, short loops to bikers. Ski Slope Trail provides a challenge to mountain bikers.
Snowmobile Trail provides access to additional trails for mountain biking in Moshannon State Forest. State forest roads (unpaved) are also open to biking.
Biking is prohibited on all other park trails.
Horseback Riding at Black Moshannon State Park
Snowmobile Trail provides access to many miles of equestrian trails in Moshannon State Forest.
Cross-Country Skiing at Black Moshannon State Park
All trails are open to cross-country skiers. Recommended trails are marked with the cross-country skier symbol on the map.
Ice Skating at Black Moshannon State Park
When conditions allow, an area of the lake by Boating Area #1 is maintained for ice skating.
Snowmobiling at Black Moshannon State Park
After the end of deer season in late December, conditions permitting, registered snowmobiles may use:
Benner Run Road
Food Concession Road
A small portion of the Sleepy Hollow Trail for access to cabin area
Designated trails in Moshannon State Forest