The beautiful, 961-acre Canoe Creek State Park features a 155-acre lake, wetlands, old fields, and mature forests, which provide critical habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife.
The lake is popular for fishing year round. Hikers enjoy the trails that wind through the many habitats. Picnicking, swimming at the beach, enjoying educational programs, and staying the night in a modern cabin also are popular activities.
Hiking at Canoe Creek State Park
12 miles of trails
The beautiful and winding hiking trails of Canoe Creek State Park allow hikers to explore forests, fields, wetlands, shrubby areas, historic sites, and the lakeshore.
Hiking trails range from easy to difficult and provide ample opportunity for wildlife watching. Vistas atop Sugarloaf and Moore’s hills provide scenic views of the park and surrounding area. On a clear day, visitors can even catch a glimpse of Blue Knob State Park, more than 20 miles away.
Information on trails, wildlife, and geocaching can be obtained at the education center or the park office.
Hikers should be prepared for trail conditions and varied weather. Since Canoe Creek State Park is a multi-use park, hikers should wear fluorescent orange when hiking during hunting seasons.
Beaver Pond Trail
0.9 mile, orange blazes, easiest hiking
This easy trail takes visitors around the ponds located on the east side of the lake, through thickets and fields, and along gentle slopes. Great trail for birding and lake views.
1.1 miles, green blazes, more difficult hiking
Visitors enjoy lake views as this trail meanders along the east shore day use area, through woods, and along Brumbaugh Dam. Anglers enjoy the many lakeside fishing opportunities.
1.5 miles, green blazes, more difficult hiking
Hartman Trail challenges hikers to climb the slope of Moore's Hill to the ridge where the trail becomes a narrow rocky path through scenic woodlands, overlooking Scotch Valley, and then back down over the old Blair Limestone Company quarry and limekilns before following Mattern Trail along Mary Ann's Creek.
1.2 miles, red blazes, easiest hiking
This scenic trail is a visitor favorite. It follows the old railroad grade to the Blair Limestone Company kilns and along the beautiful corridor of Mary Ann's Creek. Several bridges provide opportunities for creek crossings. This is a great trail for woodland birds and wildflowers.
Marsh Trail Loop
0.4 mile, white blazes, easiest hiking
A visitor favorite, Marsh Trail provides a scenic winding boardwalk along the lakefront, with benches and an observation blind for plenty of wildlife viewing.
Mattern Trail Loop
2.2 miles, pink blazes, most difficult hiking
The loop trail traverses both field and forest, taking visitors almost to the ridge of Moore's Hill for scenic views and through diverse habitat on this multi-use trail.
Moore's Hill Loop
3.2 miles, blue blazes, most difficult hiking
Visitors enjoy a more challenging hike as the trail follows along the circumference of Moore’s Hill and provides steep switchbacks before descending through scenic forest trails to meet Canoe Creek and the fields of lower Moore's Hill.
Smith Hillside Loop
0.7 mile, orange blazes, most difficult hiking
This narrow trail ascends the side of the slope on Smith Hillside, winding along the top of the ravine before descending through the woods and winding along Mary Ann's Creek.
0.7 mile, yellow blazes, more difficult hiking
Winding around Sugarloaf Hill, the trail provides scenic lake views, as well as a gentle to steep hike through the woods.
Picnicking at Canoe Creek State Park
Scenic, shaded areas on the east and west sides of the lake provide many opportunities for picnics and gatherings.
There are many picnic tables, charcoal grills, and charcoal disposal units adjacent to the picnic areas and beach area.
There is also a family-friendly playground with accompanying benches between the beach and boat rental.
Three large picnic pavilions, each accommodating up to 90 people, are available for rent. Each pavilion has a grill with an adjacent charcoal disposal unit.
The pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free and may be used on a first-come, first-served basis.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible.
Swimming at Canoe Creek State Park
The sand beach is open from late May to September, 8:00 A.M. until sunset, unless otherwise posted. A lap lane is marked with buoys.
Please read and follow posted rules for swimming. Swim at your own risk.
A modern bathhouse has showers and dressing booths.
A snack bar offers a variety of snack food and drink items and has a terrace that overlooks the lake.
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:
Other handheld, lighted smoking devices
Wildlife Watching at Canoe Creek State Park
Canoe Creek State Park maintains a variety of habitats for wildlife. Old fields, wetlands, a lake, and a limestone deep mine are interspersed with deciduous woodlots, which provide excellent habitat for more than 200 species of birds and mammals.
The park is a stopover resting spot for migrating birds and serves as a summer nesting site for others.
Canoe Lake is great for seeing migrating waterfowl.
Osprey and bald eagle are noteworthy spring and fall migrants, as are migrating ducks, swans, and warblers.
The wetlands and fields along Mary Anns Creek are frequented by:
An extensive cavity-nesting trail, consisting of more than 100 nest boxes, is monitored and maintained throughout the park.
Because it hosts a winter hibernation site and summer maternity site for bats including state and federally endangered species, the park is a Pennsylvania Important Mammal Area designated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The Frank Felbaum Bat Sanctuary hosts a nursery colony of little brown bats. Historically an important colony due to its numbers, it has attracted the attention of both park visitors and biologists throughout the years.
On warm summer nights, visitors attend programs and watch the emergence of scores of bats.
A gated limestone mine serves as a monitored hibernation site for several species of bats, including state and federally endangered species.
Boating at Canoe Creek State Park
Electric motors only
The 155-acre Canoe Lake has modern boat launching areas on both sides of the lake.
Boat mooring is available in the East Shore Day Use Area.
Iceboating is permitted on the natural ice of the lake.
Iceboats must have a launch permit.
Ice thickness is not monitored.
Fishing at Canoe Creek State Park
The beautiful 155-acre Canoe Lake is fed by two coldwater trout streams and is stocked with:
Other gamefish in the lake are:
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. A fishing pier for people with disabilities is in the East Shore Day Use Area adjacent to Pavilion #3.
Ice fishing on the natural ice of the lake is popular during the extended trout season.
Ice thickness is not monitored.
Hunting at Canoe Creek State Park
During established seasons, about 550 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.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply.
Biking at Canoe Creek State Park
1 mile trail
A wide, stream-side, one-mile bike trail begins at the park boundary at US 22 and leads into the scenic day-use area in the park.
Bikes are prohibited on hiking and equestrian trails.
Cyclists can also enjoy rail-trail biking along the nearby Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River on the 16.5-mile Lower Trail. Trailhead access is within a mile of the park.
Horseback Riding at Canoe Creek State Park
Scenic equestrian trails loop through the northern section of the park. These popular horse trails wind their way through fields and forests and provide ample opportunity for park exploration.
Mattern, Hartman, and parts of Moore's Hill trails can be reached from the parking lot at the end of Mattern Road.
Horseback riding is permitted only on designated trails.
Parking for horse trailers is allowed in a designated area adjacent to the park road near the main parking areas.
Horse rentals are not available in the area.
Disc Golfing at Canoe Creek State Park
A nine-basket disc golf course winds through the main day use area.
Each basket is served by two tees to challenge players of varying skill.
For more information and maps, visit the park office or check the disc golf bulletin board between parking areas #3 and #4.
Players should yield to other park visitors in the area.
Sledding at Canoe Creek State Park
A sledding hill near the Wentz Education Center is available when snow cover is adequate. Park at the education center or on the cul-de-sac on Mattern Road.
Cross-country Skiing at Canoe Creek State Park
All hiking, equestrian, and biking trails are available for cross-country skiing.
Ice Skating at Canoe Creek State Park
Ice skating is permitted on the lake and on the two ponds at the East Short Day Use Area.
Ice thickness is not monitored. Ice is not groomed for ice skating conditions.