4 Magnificent Scenic Overlooks at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County

Observation area at Hawn's Overlook above Raystown Lake.

Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County is the largest lake entirely situated with the state of Pennsylvania.

Created by damming the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River, this 8,300 acre Army Corps of Engineers project provides flood control, recreational opportunities, and power generation via a hydroelectric generating station located at the Raystown Dam.

Raystown Dam historical marker.
Raystown Dam historical marker.

Dedicated in 1974, Raystown Lake is a popular spot for boating, swimming, fishing, and scuba diving.

The area around the lake also provides for some spectacular views, four of which are the subject of this write-up.

Map of the scenic overlooks near Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County Pennsylvania
Map of the scenic overlooks near Raystown Lake.

Ridenour Overlook at Raystown Lake

Ridenour Overlook at Raystown Lake offers sweeping views of the Raystown Dam and the Juniata River Valley downstream.

It is located at GPS coordinates 40.43144, -78.01685 and is basically a roadside vista off of a paved road and circular parking area.

Monument at Ridenour Overlook in Huntingdon County Pennsylvania.
Monument at Ridenour Overlook.

Steps leading to the vista from the parking area take you past a historical monument.

Historical marker at Ridenour Overlook near Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County Pennsylvania.
Historical marker at Ridenour Overlook near Raystown Lake.

At the top of the stairs is a large wall and observation area, along with several benches.

Ridenour Overlook at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.
Ridenour Overlook at Raystown Lake.

Informational signs let you know what you are looking out over from the vista.

Informational sign at the Ridenour Overlook near Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County PA.
Informational sign at the Ridenour Overlook near Raystown Lake.

And then of course there is the view from Ridenour Overlook itself!

The view from Ridenour Overlook at Raystown Lake.
The view from Ridenour Overlook at Raystown Lake.

Hawn’s Overlook at Raystown Lake

Perhaps the most well-known and beloved overlook at Raystown Lake, Hawn’s Overlook offers 180 degree views from a perch high above Hawn’s Peninsula.

The view from above Raystown Lake at Hawn's Overlook.
The view from above Raystown Lake at Hawn’s Overlook.

Hawn’s Overlook is accessed from the same parking area as Ridenour Overlook.

The GPS coordinates for Hawn’s Overlook are 40.42973, -78.01895.

Hawn's Overlook trail head in Huntingdon County.
Hawn’s Overlook trail head in Huntingdon County.

A 300 yard crushed-stone trail leads from the parking lot to Hawn’s Overlook.

The Hawn's Overlook Trail at Raystown Lake.
The Hawn’s Overlook Trail at Raystown Lake.

Once you reach Hawn’s Overlook, you’ll be amazed by the views!

Observation deck at Hawn's Overlook near Raystown Lake.
Observation deck at Hawn’s Overlook near Raystown Lake.

As with Ridenour Overlook, an informational sign lets you know what you’re looking at.

Informational sign at Hawn's Overlook.
Informational sign at Hawn’s Overlook.

Boaters on the lake seem almost microscopic from this elevated vantage point.

The view from above Raystown Lake at Hawn's Overlook.
The view from above Raystown Lake at Hawn’s Overlook.

The enormity of the lake becomes apparent from Hawn’s Overlook, maybe more so than from any other vantage point.

View from Hawn's Overlook at Raystown Lake.
View from Hawn’s Overlook at Raystown Lake.

Raystown Dam Overlook

While this view is from below rather than above, the scene is no less remarkable from the Raystown Dam Overlook.

View from the Raystown Dam Overlook in Huntingdon County PA
View from the Raystown Dam Overlook.

The Raystown Dam Overlook is located along River Road at GPS coordinates 40.43285, -77.99930.

As with the first two overlooks mentioned, an informational sign lets you know what you are viewing at from the overlook, as well as a bit of history of Raystown Lake.

The Raystown Dam Overlook in Huntingdon County.
The Raystown Dam Overlook in Huntingdon County.

A large paved area near the Raystown Dam Overlook is a popular fishing spot.

Fishing area below the Raystown Dam in Huntingdon County.
Fishing area below the Raystown Dam.

An informational sign near the overlook tells you a bit about the power-generating capacity the dam provides.

Informational sign near the Raystown Dam in Huntingdon County.
Informational sign near the Raystown Dam in Huntingdon County.

Raystown Pagoda Overlook

The Raystown Pagoa Overlook is accessed via Raystown Dam Road, which passes directly below the breast of the dam.

The overlook is located at GPS coordinates 40.43073, -78.00735, and there are restrooms located next to the pagoda and parking area.

The Raystown Pagoda at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County PA.
The Raystown Pagoda at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.

This is one of the more unique pavilions you’ll find in Pennsylvania, and it is dedicated to James Weaver , the resident engineer on the Raystown Dam project from 1968-1973.

Historical marker at the Raystown Pagoda in Huntingdon County.
Historical marker at the Raystown Pagoda in Huntingdon County.

The Raystown Pagoda offers shade from the sun or shelter from the rain, while providing an outstanding view of Raystown Lake.

Inside the Raystown Pagoda at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.
Inside the Raystown Pagoda at Raystown Lake.

Raystown Lake is nearly 200 feet deep in this area directly above the dam, and is rumored to be the home of Raystown Ray, a cousin (perhaps) of the famed Loch Ness Monster!

View from the Raystown Pagoda at Raystown Lake.
View from the Raystown Pagoda at Raystown Lake.

Nearby Attractions

Trough Creek State Park in Huntingdon County is home to a variety of attractions, including the spectacular Rainbow Falls.

Fall foliage at Rainbow Falls in Pennsylvania
Fall foliage at Rainbow Falls in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

Saint Mary’s Covered Bridge is the lone remaining covered bridge in Huntingdon County.

Saint Mary's Covered Bridge in Huntingdon County, PA
Saint Mary’s Covered Bridge in Huntingdon County, PA

Indian Lookout in Huntingdon County is one of the most outstanding scenic overlooks in all the Rothrock State Forest.

Exploring Indian Lookout in the Rothrock State Forest.
The author at Indian Lookout in Huntingdon County.

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