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USA Parks
Pennsylvania
South-Central Region
Colonel Denning State Park
COLONEL DENNING STATE PARK
COLONEL DENNING STATE PARK
1599 Doubling Gap Rd.
Newville, Pennsylvania   17241

Phone: 717-776-5272
Toll Free: 888-727-2757
Reservations: 888-727-2757
Email:
Colonel Denning State Park, in north central Cumberland County, is in Doubling Gap, so named by the "S" turn where Blue Mountain doubles back on itself. This feature may be seen from the Doubling Gap Vista in adjacent Tuscarora State Forest. The park has 273 acres of woodland and a 3.5-acre lake.
History of the Area
William Denning, (1737-1830) American Revolution veteran for whom the park is named, was never a colonel but he is deserving of a place in history for his manufacturing of wrought iron cannons. William Denning served his country as a sergeant from March 1778 to April 1780 in Nathaniel Irish's Company of Artillery Artificers in Benjamin Flower's Regiment. Denning was stationed just outside of Carlisle, PA at Washingtonburg Forge, now Carlisle Barracks. The forge provided armaments for the Continental Army, including cannons. It is at this forge that William Denning made wrought iron cannons in a process of welding gads (strips) of wrought iron in successive layers to produce a cannon lighter and better able to resist failure during firing than cast iron cannons.

Unfortunately, none of Denning's cannons survive today. Historical documents help us imagine from what Denning's cannons looked like. It is also not known when or who added the "colonel" to Sergeant William Denning's name. After the Revolution, William Denning lived out his life near Newville, PA and is interred with his only son and daughter in the Big Spring Presbyterian Church in Newville. His monument reads "Blacksmith and Forger of Wrought Iron Cannon."

The park became a state recreational area about 1930, under the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, and was developed formally in 1936 through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp S-111 in Perry County.
Camping
Camping: rustic sites

The 52-site, tent and trailer campground is open from the opening day of trout season to the day after deer season in December. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, and are near non-flush toilets and a sanitary dump station.
Swimming
The sand beach is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. A snack bar near the beach is open during the summer season.


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Picnicking
This wooded park has over 200 picnic tables and a limited number of charcoal grills. There are two picnic pavilions that may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis. Play equipment is near Picnic Pavilion #1.
Trails
Hiking: 18 miles of trails

The 2.5-mile Flat Rock Trail rises to Flat Rock, a beautiful scenic vista of the Cumberland Valley. The one-mile, self-guiding Doubling Gap Trail is a moderate hike. The Hiking and Nature Trail Guide is available at the park office and has a map and detailed description of the hiking trails in the park and surrounding forest lands.

In addition to the 18 miles of hiking trails, the park is a trailhead for the 105-mile Tuscarora Trail.

Cross-country Skiing:

While there is no formal cross-country skiing trail system, skiing is permitted on existing roads and trails and in all areas of the park. Terrain is moderately hilly to mountainous.
Area Attractions
Carlisle, Harrisburg, Gettysburg, York and Chambersburg are all within a one-hour drive of the park and accessible over major roadways. For more information on nearby attractions, contact Pennsylvania's Capital Region Vacation Bureau, 800-995-0969.

Scenic Views: There are three scenic views on nearby state forest lands that can be reached by vehicle. Contact the park office for the locations of vistas.

Tuscarora State Forest: Over 30,000 acres of state forest lands are adjacent to, and northwest of the park. These lands are open to the public. There are many scenic and historical features throughout these areas. 717-536-3191

Hemlocks Natural Area: This stand of old growth hemlock is about 20 miles from the park near New Germantown, Perry County. Information can be obtained by contacting Tuscarora State Forest.

State Game Land 169: Several thousand acres of State Game Land 169 are within ten miles of the park. These lands are primarily managed for upland game animals and deer. These lands lie between PA Routes 641 and 997 about five miles southwest of the park. 877-877-9107
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
March 11 Fantastic Camping Experience by Tent Travelers
Having heard the park was on the 2010 closure list due to the budget shortfall, we were relieved and thrilled to see it survive. My family and I spent the the 4th of July 2009 weekend at Col Denning State Park (CDSP) and had a wonderful time. There are several things we particularly enjoyed: the peace and quiet of the reservable walk-in tent campsites; the ranger orienteering program; the well-maintained and scenic hiking trails; the friendly volunteer campground hosts who sold ice/firewood; the clean vault toilets and the swimming beach. We have travelled to six states and the US Virgin Islands to tent camp. Little CDSP remains one of our favorite spots. Thank you Pennsylvania for keeping it open. We can not wait to return this year.


Area Campgrounds

Dogwood Acres Campground
4500 Enola Road
Newville, PA
717-776-5203


Western Village RV Park Inc
200 Greenview Drive
Carlisle, PA
717-243-1179


Paradise Stream Family Campground
PO Box 124
Loysville, PA
717-789-2117


Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
Beechmont Inn Bed Breakfast - Hanover, PABBs / Inns
Located on a tree-lined street of stately historic homes, The Beechmont has welcomed business and leisure travelers since 1986 with exceptional hospitality and thoughtful extras designed to exceed travelers needs and desires.
Web Site: thebeechmont.com
39.8 miles from park*
Baladerry Inn - Gettysburg, PABBs / Inns
An ideal choice for your visit to historic Gettysburg and the surrounding area. One of the most historic inns in Gettysburg, with its unique country setting at the edge of the battlefield and close proximity to the restaurants and attractions in town.
Web Site: baladerryinn.com
34.5 miles from park*
Pheasant Field Bed Breakfast - Carlisle, PABBs / Inns
Enjoy casual, country elegance in this 200 year old brick farmhouse situated on 10 acres. We are located near the Appalachian Trail, world-class fly fishing and Carlisle collector car events.
Web Site: pheasantfield.com
16.3 miles from park*
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Directions
The park is eight miles north of Newville and nine miles south of Landisburg, along PA 233.

USA Parks
Pennsylvania
South-Central Region
Colonel Denning State Park
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