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Pennsylvania State Parks

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USA Parks
North-Central Region
Ole Bull State Park
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31 Valhalla Lane
Cross Fork, Pennsylvania   17729

Phone: 814-435-5000
Toll Free: 888-727-2757
Reservations: 888-727-2757
Email: park email button icon
Ole Bull State Park consists of 132 acres along the Kettle Creek Valley in Potter County. This area is called the Black Forest because of its once dense tree cover, mountainous terrain and wilderness habitat.
History of the Area
Ole Bull State Park is named for Ole Bornemann Bull, the famous Norwegian violinist who toured the United States in the 1850s. In 1852, Ole Bull purchased a large tract of land in Potter County and attempted to develop a series of Norwegian settlements.

He began construction of a ?home? at what now is now called Ole Bull Vista. He never finished this large, wooden cabin. After a year of severe hardships, the majority of the colony disbanded and moved west into Michigan and Wisconsin. A complete history of Ole Bull is available at the park office.

The lumbering industry followed Ole Bull into this area. By the turn of the 20th century, two railroads, one on each side of Kettle Creek, were hauling logs to sawmills in the Cross Fork area. By 1920, the Commonwealth purchased vast tracts of land no longer useful to the lumber companies. In 1925, Ole Bull State Park was opened as a picnic area on a one-half acre tract of cleared land.

Formed in the 1930s to alleviate the severity of the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the original dam for the swimming area and constructed facilities like latrines, pavilions and camping areas.

For more information on the CCC, visit the Civilian Conservation Corps Online Archive.

In 2002, the 150th anniversary of the founding of Ole Bull?s colony, a monument was erected to honor Ole Bull. The monument was a gift from the citizens of Norway in recognition of Ole Bull?s talent, foresight and patriotism.
Ole Bull Cabin: This one and one-half story log cabin can be rented year-round. Rental information can be obtained at the park office. The cabin has a modern kitchen and bath and sleeps 10 people. Pets are prohibited. The cabin has an accessible bathroom and an access ramp.
Camping: modern sites, some with electricity

Camping is permitted year-round. Two camping areas along Kettle Creek provide sunny and shaded sites. All sites include a picnic table, fire ring and level gravel pad. There are 24 sites with electric hookups in Area 2. Area 1 has 21 sites with electricity. Water hydrants, modern restrooms and a sanitary dump station are available. Pets are not permitted in the campground.
The beach is in Camping Area 1 across from the picnic area. The 150-foot sandy beach along Kettle Creek is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Parking for the beach area is provided at the picnic area parking lot. Pets are not permitted in the beach area. All children ten years of age or younger must be accompanied by a person at least 14 years of age.

The picnic area lies along Kettle Creek and has four picnic pavilions, picnic tables, fireplaces, drinking water, restrooms and playground equipment. 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. The Stone Pavilion has electricity available when reserved.
Hiking: 2 miles of trails

The Daugherty Loop Trail combines old logging and railroad grades to form a one hour walk through the Black Forest of Pennsylvania. Ole Bull Trail leads to the historic foundation remains of Ole Bull?s ?home site? and a panoramic view of the park area. The Beaver Dam Nature Trail provides an introduction to the habitats along Kettle Creek. This 0.75-mile trail starts at the concrete fordway and has a flat trail surface.

The 85-mile Susquehannock Trail System passes through Ole Bull State Park. A picnic area parking lot serves as a trailhead for overnight hikers. A trail register is located at the park office for hikers who leave their vehicles overnight. Please read posted regulations.
Area Attractions
For information on nearby attractions, contact: Potter County Visitors Association, 888-POTTER2.

Susquehannock State Forest: This 262,415-acre state forest surrounds Ole Bull State Park and offers hiking on a variety of trails including the Susquehannock and Black Forest trail systems, miles of snowmobile trails, and an ATV area located close to Denton Hill and Lyman Run state parks. 814-274-3600

Denton Hill Ski Area: Along US 6, ten miles west of Galeton. 814-435-2115

Kettle Creek State Park: 20 miles southwest and offers a 160-acre lake, fishing, swimming, camping, picnicking, and hiking. 570-923-6004

Lyman Run State Park: 25 miles northeast and offers fishing, camping facilities ATV and hiking trailheads. 814-435-5010

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon: Off of US 6 at Ansonia, 20 miles east of Galeton, located in Leonard Harrison and Colton Point state parks. 570-724-3061

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum: Along US 6, ten miles west of Galeton. 814-435-2652

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
May 19 The love of potter county by porsi
park review stars; one to five I have camp here for about 12 years now. It is my all time favorite state park. Look foward to going to get away to peace and quite relaxation. This park is well taken care of. The staft is amazing helpful and very kind. Love the sound of the damm to go to sleep to.
August 10 Favorite Park by Roxyj1959
park review stars; one to five We love camping here. I have camped there for over 40 years. Nice trails, large old-growth pine trees. Small park is less stressful and laid back. Pristine Kettle Creek for fishing and swimming.
April 18 pristine beauty and serenity by George & Carol
park review stars; one to five Have camped here for years and seen many improvements. Always look forward to coming back,so relaxing and family friendly. Sites are a great distance apart which lends to uncrowded feeling. Office staff are great.
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