12 Must-See PA State Parks for Winter Weather Lovers

Black Moshannon Lake in Centre County.

Some people hibernate during the winter.

Other folks celebrate winter!

An adult sled rider tests his luck on the Sugarloaf sledding hill at Winterfest.
A sled rider tests his luck on the Sugarloaf sledding hill at Ohiopyle State Park’s Winterfest.

If you fall into the latter group, here are 12 Pennsylvania state parks perfect for the winter weather lover in you!

A view of Adams Falls from the upper vantage point.
A winter view of Adams Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Simply click on the blue text links to view directions and additional information about each state park mentioned.


1. McConnells Mill State Park

McConnells Mill State Park in Lawrence County is home to a number of outstanding winter attractions and activities.

Side view of McConnells Mill Covered Bridge over Slippery Rock Creek
McConnells Mill Covered Bridge in Lawrence County.

Hell’s Hollow Falls is truly one of the prettiest winter waterfalls in western Pennsylvania.

When visiting Hell's Hollow Falls on a snowy day it is often surrounded by ice and snow as it is in this photo.
Hell’s Hollow Falls surrounded by ice and snow on a March morning.

Alpha Falls, located along a spur off the North County Trail, is the site of some impressive ice formations most winters.

Ice formations at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park
Ice formations at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park

2. Ohiopyle State Park

Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County is hands-down one of the best PA state parks for winter weather lovers!

Checking out Cucumber Falls during Winterfest at Ohiopyle State Park.
Exploring Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

The views from Baughman Rock Overlook are outstanding.

A young hiker takes in the winter view at Baughman Rock Overlook, Ohiopyle State Park.
A young hiker takes in the winter view at Baughman Rock Overlook, Ohiopyle State Park.

And in a normal, non-COVID year there is a Winterfest celebration held every February at Ohiopyle State Park.

Percherons pulling a sleigh at WInterfest at Ohiopyle State Park.
Percherons pulling a sleigh at Winterfest at Ohiopyle State Park.

3. Laurel Hill State Park

Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset County is one of the many reasons why the Laurel Highlands region of PA is synonymous with exceptional winter recreational opportunities.

Laurel Hill Creek at Laurel Hill State Park.
Laurel Hill Creek at Laurel Hill State Park.

The Pump House Trail at Laurel Hill State Park leads to one of the most popular winter attractions there – Jones Mill Run Dam.

Jones Mill Run Dam at Laurel Hill State Park.
Jones Mill Run Dam at Laurel Hill State Park.

The Lake Trail takes you along the banks of the often-frozen Laurel Hill Lake.

Laurel Hill Lake in Somerset County.
Laurel Hill Lake in Somerset County.

4. Kinzua Bridge State Park

Kinzua Bridge State Park in McKean County is impressive in any season, but even more so in the winter.

One of several observation areas at Kinzua Bridge State Park in McKean County, PA.
One of several observation areas at Kinzua Bridge State Park in McKean County, PA.

Nature’s tornadic fury is on full display amidst the ruins of the Kinzua Viaduct, once the world’s tallest and longest railroad bridge.

Tornado damage at Kinzua Bridge State Park.
Tornado damage at Kinzua Bridge State Park.

5. Trough Creek State Park

Trough Creek State Park in Huntingdon County is a spectacular winter wonderland, as the steep Trough Creek Gorge traps the cold air between its walls, allowing Nature to work its magic.

Winter at Rainbow Falls at Trough Creek State in Pennsylvania
Winter at Rainbow Falls at Trough Creek State in Huntingdon County.

Copperas Rocks along Great Trough Creek are home to dazzling icicles than hang precariously from the mountainside.

Winter at Copperas Rocks in Huntingdon County.
Winter at Copperas Rocks in Huntingdon County.

The Suspension Bridge along the Balanced Rock Trail offers an elevated (and bouncy!) view of Great Trough Creek and the ice flows upon it.

Winter at the suspension bridge over Trough Creek State Park.
Winter at the suspension bridge over Trough Creek State Park.

6. Black Moshannon State Park

Black Moshannon State Park in Centre County is dominated by the large lake at its center, a popular spot for photography and ice fishing in the winter.

Winter sunset over Black Moshannon State Park.
Winter sunset over Black Moshannon State Park.

Don’t be surprised to see folks playing hockey on the frozen lake surface as well.

An improvised hockey rink at Black Moshannon State Park.
An improvised hockey rink at Black Moshannon State Park.

Even when other areas in Centre County have no snow, Black Moshannon State Park seems to always have plenty to go around!

The fishing pier at Black Moshannon State Park.
The fishing pier at Black Moshannon State Park.

7. Little Pine State Park

Little Pine State Park in Lycoming County is home to one of the prettiest roadside winter vistas in central Pennsylvania.

Little Pine Vista at Little Pine State Park.
Little Pine Vista at Little Pine State Park.

The Lake Shore Trail takes you on a snowy journey across the dam and around Little Pine Lake.

The Lakeside Trail at Little Pine State Park.
The Lake Shore Trail at Little Pine State Park.

The beach at Little Pine State Park lies dormant under a blanket of ice and snow, but what a breathtaking view!

The beach at Little Pine State Park in Lycoming County.
The beach at Little Pine State Park in Lycoming County.

8. Bald Eagle State Park

Bald Eagle State Park in Centre County is home to the  1,730-acre Sayers Lake, which becomes a popular ice fishing destination when the temperatures drop below freezing for an extended period of time.

Ice fishing at Bald Eagle State Park.
Ice fishing at Bald Eagle State Park.

The picturesque sight of hundreds of acres of flat, frozen lake surface is rewarding even for those who to prefer to gaze upon it from the shore.

Sayers Lake at Bald Eagle State Park.
Sayers Lake at Bald Eagle State Park.

9. Greenwood Furnace State Park

Greenwood Furnace State Park in Huntingdon County offers many gratifying scenes for winter sight seekers.

The dam at Greenwood Furnace State Park in Huntingdon County PA
The dam at Greenwood Furnace State Park in Huntingdon County.

Aside from the iconic spillway and dam on Greenwood Lake, the namesake Greenwood Furnace looms even larger when surrounded by a blanket of snow.

Greenwood Furnace in Huntingdon County Pennsylvania.
Greenwood Furnace in Huntingdon County.

And while the water at Greenwood Lake is always a bit on the chilly side, even in the summer, it’s positively frigid in the winter!

Snowman on the beach at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
Snowman on the beach at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

10. Whipple Dam State Park

Whipple Dam State Park in Huntingdon County is a tranquil winter setting for those seeking a quiet hike along a pristine mountain stream.

Laurel Run at Whipple Dam State Park.
Laurel Run at Whipple Dam State Park.

The winter scenery at Whipple Dam State Park is superb, conjuring up images of times long past.

Winter at Whipple Dam State Park in Huntingdon County.
Winter at Whipple Dam State Park in Huntingdon County.

The recently repaired and refilled Whipple Lake is a welcome sight to all of us who enjoy spending winter days at the park.

Whipple Dam State Park in the winter.
Whipple Dam State Park in the winter.

11. RB Winter State Park

RB Winter State Park in Union County offers a diverse array of winter activities in a setting surrounded by the Bald Eagle State Forest.

RB Winter State Park in Union County.
RB Winter State Park in Union County.

The centerpiece of the park is Halfway Lake, which is often covered by several inches of ice in the winter.

Halfway Lake at RB Winter State Park.
Halfway Lake at RB Winter State Park.

In the winter, snowballs replace sandcastles on the beach at RB Winter State Park.

The beach at RB Winter State Park.
The beach at RB Winter State Park.

12. Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park, one of the most well-known state parks in Pennsylvania, is also one of the most spectacular in the winter.

The multiple tiers of Adams Falls at Ricketts Glen.
The multiple tiers of Adams Falls at Ricketts Glen.

For those with the proper gear and experience, the world-famous Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen is a challenging (and icy) hike to the famous waterfalls along Kitchen Creek.

Falls Trail winter closure sign at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Falls Trail winter closure sign at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Adams Falls along the Evergreen Trail is a much easier winter destination to reach at Ricketts Glen State Park, lying just below Route 118.

Snow and ice covering the Kitchen Creek gorge around Adams Falls.
Snow and ice covering the Kitchen Creek gorge around Adams Falls.

Whether you’re an experienced ice hiker or a casual day hiker, Ricketts Glen State Park is a gorgeous winter destination.

The twin bridges over Kitchen Creek near Route 118 at Ricketts Glen State Park.
The twin bridges over Kitchen Creek near Route 118 at Ricketts Glen State Park.

So there you have it – 12 of the best Pennsylvania state parks for winter weather lovers!

Winter sunset at Black Moshannon State Park.
Winter sunset at Black Moshannon State Park.

Don’t hibernate this winter – celebrate winter’s majesty at these 12 superb Pennsylvania’s state parks!

My daughter after a successful run down the Sugarloaf sledding hill at Winterfest.
A successful run down the Sugarloaf sledding hill at Ohiopyle State Park.

And if you just CAN’T bring yourself to embrace the winter, perhaps you’d enjoy a photographic tour of 15 of Pennsylvania’s best state parks for fall foliage lovers!

Looking out over Pine Creek from Colton Point State Park
October views from Colton Point State Park in Tioga County.

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Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

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