BLUE KNOB STATE PARK
Blue Knob State Park offers year-round wilderness adventures on 5,874 acres of woodland. The park is in the northwestern tip of Bedford County, west of I-99. Altoona, Johnstown and Bedford are within 25 miles of this scenic park. The elevation of the park can cause air temperatures to be several degrees cooler than the surrounding cities. The annual snowfall averages about 12 feet. One of the unique features of the park is the solitude it provides the visitor. There are many opportunities to enjoy the quiet and refreshing serenity of the mountains and streams.
The first settlers to Blue Knob arrived soon after the American Revolution. These Pennsylvania Germans moved from eastern Pennsylvania and cleared and farmed land near the fledgling town of Pavia. Early industries were several distilleries in 1812, followed by a log mill in 1833 and a gristmill in 1843.
In the late 1800s, logging companies, based out of South Fork, clear-cut the forests of hemlock and hauled away the lumber on steam railroads that snaked up the steep hillsides. The lumber company closed from November to March because the railroad could not operate in the severe winter weather.
One railroad followed Bob?s Creek and needed six switchbacks to descend the rugged grade. A State Game Land 26 service road now follows this old railroad grade. Another steam railroad followed Wallacks Branch through five switchbacks. Lost Turkey Hiking Trail follows this old railroad grade.
In 1935, the National Park Service created the Blue Knob National Recreation Demonstration Area to provide recreation to the people of Altoona and Johnstown. The Works Projects Administration employed local workers to build cabins, hiking trails and roads. Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Company 2327 arrived in October of 1939. After building Camp NP-7, the young men aided in creating the park recreational facilities. World War II ended the CCC. On September 26, 1945, the National Park Service transferred Blue Knob to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and it became Blue Knob State Park.
The 45 tent and trailer sites are open from the second Friday in April to the third Sunday in October. Sites are in open fields and wooded areas. Twenty-five (25) sites have electric hookups. Two sites are walk-in only. Water, a sanitary dump station, modern restrooms and playground equipment are available. A campground host is usually in attendance during peak activity days.
Weather permitting, the swimming pool is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, unless posted otherwise. The pool is only open on weekends for the first two weeks of the summer season. Pool depth ranges from 2 to 5 feet. Weekday and evening use is recommended. No diving is permitted at the pool for visitor safety.
Blue Knob State Park is located near Altoona, Duncansville and Hollidaysburg
Almost 200 picnic tables are scattered through three areas. Burnt House and Mowery Hollow picnic areas are open year-round. Willow Springs Picnic Area closes the Friday after Thanksgiving and reopens the week before Memorial Day.
Seven picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Constructed in 1977 by the Youth Conservation Corps, Lost Turkey Trail is a 26-mile trail traversing state park, state forest, state game and private lands. Distance markers are at one-kilometer intervals. Hikers should secure maps and information on parking areas, trail conditions and regulations. Many people use sections of this trail for day hikes.
Several of the park?s multi-use trails are designated for mountain bike use. For the beginner, Chappell?s Field Trail is a good challenge. For the more experienced, Three Springs Trail is an intermediate ride. Three Springs Trail is also open to horseback riding. Please be considerate of other trail users. For the more experienced and expert mountain biker, Crist Ridge Trail, Rock ?N? Ridge Trail and portions of Mountain View Trail are suggested.
Equestrian trails are available for horseback riding. The trailhead is across from the campground entrance at Chappell?s Field. Horseback riding is permitted along the right-hand side of park roads. Caution must be used on trails that pass through hunting areas. All groups conducting trail rides must secure a special use agreement.
Snowmobile routes are open daily after the end of hunting season in December. The trail system consists of eight miles of trails and roads. Park roadways are not open for snowmobile use. Please stay on the designated trails. No other off-road vehicles are permitted on state park lands.
Most park trails are suitable for expert skiers. For beginner skiers, Chappell?s Field Trail and the closed campground are recommended. For the intermediate skier, the service roads, closed roadways and open areas are recommended. Weather conditions on the trails are usually ideal but skiers should use expert or mountain ski equipment.
Summer programs are conducted on Friday and Saturday evenings at the Buck Hill Amphitheater and Sunday afternoons in the park day use areas, unless otherwise posted. Organized groups can arrange special programs through the park office. Fall and spring programs are conducted for school and organizations upon request.
Shiner Bait & Tackle
3979 Quaker Valley Rd
Alum Bank, PA
516 5th St
St Michael, PA
Majestic World Lodge & Retreat
RR 2 Box 301A
Blue Knob Resort
1418 Overland Pass
From East or West: Take the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Bedford, Exit 146. Go north on I-99 to Exit 7. Follow PA 869 west to Pavia, then follow signs through Pavia to the park.
From North: Take I-99 south to Exit 23. Follow Old US 220 south. Turn right onto PA 164 west, follow to the town of Blue Knob. Turn left onto Blue Knob Road (LR 4035) follow five miles to northern entrance of the park.
From South: Take I-70 west to Breezewood, then US 30 west to Bedford, then north on I-99 to Exit 7. Follow PA 869 west to Pavia, then follow signs through Pavia to the park.