Black Moshannon State Park is comprised of 3,394 acres of forests and wetlands in Centre County, and is further surrounded by 43,000 acres of the Moshannon State Forest.
At the heart of the park is the 250 acre Black Moshannon Lake, a fantastic spot for swimming, boating, fishing, and bird-watching.
Surrounding the lake are 20 miles of trails, perfect for spending a few hours or an entire day exploring the forest.
So follow along as I share with you some of the best things to see and do at Black Moshannon State Park!
History of Black Moshannon State Park
In the 1800s, the lumbermill boomtown of Antes sprang up at the present-day location of Black Moshannon State Park.
Millions of feet of logs were harvested in the area and floated downstream to mills in Williamsport, to feed the lumber needs of the mining, railroad, and construction industries.
Once all the surrounding trees were cut, the boomtown went bust, and all that remains intact today is the one-room schoolhouse.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the barren land from the lumber companies and replanted trees as part of the establishment of the state forest system.
Today we enjoy the fruits of that labor, in the form of the state park and the surrounding Moshannon State Forest.
Hiking at Black Moshannon State Park
The free official park map lists all the main hiking trails at Black Moshannon State Park, and I’ll share a few of my favorites below.
1. The Moss-Hanne Trail
This 7.7 mile trail passes through both forest and bog sections of the park, so waterproof shoes are recommended.
2. The Lake Loop Trail
The 0.7 mile Lake Loop Trail is an easy, flat trail around the lower portion of the lake, closest to the dam and beach.
3. The Bog Trail
The 0.3 mile Bog Trail is a boardwalk through a wetlands environment, and is wheelchair accessible from Boating Area 3 (see MAP for details).
4. Star Mill Trail
The 2.1 mile Star Mill loop trail is a relatively flat, easy hike that provides excellent views of the lake (especially at sunset) and passes by the location of the Star Mill, a sawmill built in 1879.
Boating at Black Moshannon State Park
One of my favorite reasons for visiting Black Moshannon State Park is boating.
The surface of the 250 acre lake is generally calm and perfect for a relaxing evening kayak trip with the family.
Catching a sunrise or sunset while out on the water is an exceptional experience!
Boating the waters of Black Moshannon Lake in the summer also allows for close-up views of the thousands upon thousands of blooming water lilies present on many areas of the lake.
There are 4 boat launches at the park, all shown on the official park map.
Wildlife Viewing at Black Moshannon State Park
Wildlife is present in great abundance at the park.
Waterfowl in particular are a big draw for wildlife watchers and photographers, as the lake is a virtual magnet for a variety of species, some common and others less so.
I’ve been fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of migrating tundra swans passing through the park for the past several springs now.
And Canadian geese are seemingly ever-present, even on the coldest of winter days.
Swimming at Black Moshannon State Park
The park maintains a small sandy beach area above the dam on Black Moshannon Lake, with restrooms and a changing area right next to it.
Fishing at Black Moshannon State Park
Fishing is a popular activity at Black Moshannon State Park, when anglers may encounter species such as Yellow Perch, Bluegill, Pike, Crappie, and Largemouth Bass.
Ice fishing at Black Moshannon State Park is another popular pastime; generally the lake here freezes early and stays frozen later than many surrounding lakes at lower elevations.
Fall Foliage at Black Moshannon State Park
The fall foliage at Black Moshannon State Park is outstanding!
The month of October at the park offers some of the finest “leaf peeping” in all of Pennsylvania.
The reflections off the surface of the lake add another dimension to your autumn photographs.
And consider taking your fall foliage photography to another level by venturing out on the water yourself!
Point your camera in any direction – it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo at Black Moshannon State Park in October!
Winter at Black Moshannon State Park
As the colorful display of autumn gives way to the stark white winter, Black Moshannon State Park is still a beautiful place to visit.
I’ve witnessed some of the most outstanding sunsets I’ve ever seen during the winter months here.
The quiet beauty of a winter day at Black Moshannon State Park is like something out of a Currier and Ives print.
And sunset reflections off the few non-frozen areas of the lake are like staring into a colorful gazing ball.
Winter hiking is a popular pastime at the park.
And so is ice hockey.
If you like relative solitude and snow-covered surroundings, it’s hard to beat Black Moshannon State Park in the winter!
Black Moshannon State Park is a remarkable year-round destination!
In the spring and summer months, the hiking and boating opportunities are amazing.
The fall foliage display here is second to none.
And the winter sunsets are otherworldly!
From the smallest details to the widest views – Black Moshannon State Park is well worth a visit, any time of year!
Ralph’s Majestic Vista is located along the Allegheny Front Trail in the Moshannon State Forest, adjacent to Black Moshannon State Park.
Both Ralph’s Majestic Vista and nearby Ralph’s Pretty Good View are named in honor of Ralph Seeley, founder of the Allegheny Front Trail.
The 6 Best State Parks Near State College will introduce you to several additional nearby state parks.
The 5 Best Scenic Overlooks Near State College highlights some of the most outstanding mountain vistas in the region.
The 13 Best Scenic Overlooks in Centre County reveals even more nearby mountaintop destinations.
Exploring the Ghost Town of Scotia Near State College takes you inside the remains of a iron-mining boomtown gone bust.
Hiking the Colyer Lake Trail Near State College shows you what to expect from this beautiful 2.6 mile lakeside-loop trail just minutes from downtown State College and Penn State.
Exploring Bilger’s Rocks in Clearfield County explains everything you need to know to experience this 300 million year old rock city in neighboring Clearfield County.
If you happen to be visiting the park in December, be sure to check out the tallest Santa in Pennsylvania in nearby Philipsburg!
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