Exploring Greenwood Furnace State Park in Huntingdon County

Fishermen on a crisp October morning at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Greenwood Furnace State Park is a 423 acre recreational paradise in the mountains of central Pennsylvania.

It includes a six-acre lake, remnants of a ghost town and iron furnaces, and is surrounded by an 80,000-acre block of the Rothrock State Forest.

Remnants of the Greenwood Furnace for which the park is named.
Remnants of the Greenwood Furnace for which this Huntingdon County state park is named.

Brief History of Greenwood Furnace

From 1834 to 1904, the furnaces of Greenwood produced charcoal-fired iron in great abundance, and a thriving company town that included nearly 130 buildings evolved around that industry.

History of the former iron industry at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
History of the former iron industry at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

As the wood used to make charcoal and the iron ore itself became depleted over the decades, operating the furnaces at Greenwood became cost-prohibitive.

Raw iron ore was poured down this shaft to be smelted in a central pit below.
Raw iron ore was poured down this shaft to be smelted in a central pit below.

Eventually the production of iron ceased, the citizens relocated, and Greenwood became a ghost town.

Greenwood Furnace Stack Number 2 historical plaque at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
Greenwood Furnace Stack Number 2 historical plaque at Greenwood Furnace State Park

In 1906 the State of Pennsylvania purchased the now-barren land, embarked on a reforesting plan, and in 1925 Greenwood Furnace became a state park.

A summer scene from the Lakeview Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
A summer scene from the Lakeview Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Visiting Greenwood Furnace State Park Today

Today visitors to Greenwood Furnace State Park in Huntingdon County have many recreational opportunities to choose from.

So what I’d like to present you with in this write-up is a list of some of the best things to see and do at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Fishermen near the dam at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
Fishermen near the dam at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Hiking at Greenwood Furnace State Park

Greenwood Furnace State Park is home to many miles of hiking trails, all of which are detailed on the FREE official Greenwood Furnace State Park map and recreational guide, which you can download here.

A bridge along the Lakeview Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
A bridge along the Lakeview Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

The Lakeview Trail is a favorite of many visitors, as it takes you on a relatively easy journey around Greenwood Lake.

Autumn along the Lakeview Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
Autumn along the Lakeview Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Kids in particular will enjoy this trail as it gives them an opportunity to explore the lake up-close.

A summer afternoon along the Lakeview Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
A summer afternoon along the Lakeview Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Fishing at Greenwood Furnace State Park

Greenwood Lake is stocked with trout, and in the winter months ice fishing is permitted as well.

A fisherman enjoying an October day at Greenwood Lake.
A fisherman enjoying an October day at Greenwood Lake.

Boating at Greenwood Furnace State Park

Non-motorized boats are permitted on the lake at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

A boater on Greenwood Lake at the height of fall foliage season.
A boater on Greenwood Lake at the height of fall foliage season.

Swimming at Greenwood Furnace State Park

A 300 foot-long sand beach is open to swimming at Greenwood Furnace State Park from late May to mid-September.

Visitors enjoying the beach at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
Visitors enjoying the beach at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

This is a non-guarded / swim-at-your-own-risk beach, and changing rooms and a snack bar are located adjacent to it.

Fall foliage reflections near the beach at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
Fall foliage reflections near the beach at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Picnicking at Greenwood Furnace State Park

Greenwood Furnace State Park has 8 reservable picnic pavilions (which can be used on a first-come, first-served basis when not reserved) located at various spots around the lake.

A picnic pavillion at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
A picnic pavillion at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Some of the pavillions offer a lake view, others are closer to the volleyball courts or softball field.

Picnic area near the lake at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
Picnic area near the lake at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

The Playground at Greenwood Furnace State Park

Located alongside the beach area, the playground is a great spot for younger children to enjoy an afternoon outside.

The playground along the beach at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
The playground along the beach at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

While not large or elaborate, it’s a scenic setting and a change of pace from “in-town” playgrounds.

A summer afternoon on the playground at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
A summer afternoon on the playground at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Leaf Peeping at Greenwood Furnace State Park

October is an especially popular time to visit Greenwood Furnace State Park, as the fall foliage display is spectacular!

A kayaker on the lake at Greenwood Furnace State Park during the peak of fall foliage season.
A kayaker on the lake at Greenwood Furnace State Park during the peak of fall foliage season.

Adding to the beauty of the autumn spectacle are the shimmering red and gold reflections off of Greenwood Lake.

An October view of Greenwood Lake.
An October view of Greenwood Lake.

Winter at Greenwood Furnace State Park

Winter is a gorgeous time to visit Greenwood Furnace State Park, especially if you don’t like crowds!

A winter view of the spillway on Greenwood Lake at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
A winter view of the spillway on Greenwood Lake at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

The frozen lake is an impressive winter sight.

The frozen surface of Greenwood Lake.
The frozen surface of Greenwood Lake.

Even the snow-covered beach can be a fun place to play!

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

The Church at Greenwood Furnace State Park

The Church at Greenwood Furnace State Park is one of the lasting remnants of the town of Greenwood.

Greenwood Furnace Church.
Greenwood Furnace Church.

Established in 1867, services are still held there on summer Sundays.

Greenwood Furnace Church sign at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
Greenwood Furnace Church sign at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

The Furnace at Greenwood Furnace State Park

In 1936, Furnace Stack Number 2 was rebuilt as a tribute to the area’s former residents and industrial legacy.

The namesake Greenwood Furnace at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
The namesake Greenwood Furnace at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Today you can literally walk in the footsteps of those who for 70 years produced the iron that helped fuel the country’s westward expansion and industrial rise to global prominence.

Exploring the inside of the Greenwood Furnace.
Exploring the inside of the Greenwood Furnace Stack Number 2.

Nearby Attractions

Indian Lookout in the Rothrock State Forest is one of three scenic overlooks in close proximity to one another.

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

The 1000 Steps, part of the Standing Stone Trail, is one of the most popular hikes in all of Huntingdon County.

Looking down the 1000 Steps.
Looking down the 1000 Steps in Huntingdon County.

Trough Creek State Park is another fantastic Huntingdon County outdoors destination.

The suspension bridge over Trough Creek.
The suspension bridge at Trough Creek State Park in Huntingdon County, PA.

Raystown Lake is the largest lake entirely situated with the state of Pennsylvania, and is home to several incredible scenic overlooks as well.

A winter scene at Hawn's Overlook in Huntingdon County PA
A winter scene at Hawn’s Overlook in Huntingdon County, PA.

The 10 Best Things to Do in Huntingdon County PA will introduce you to even more exciting places to visit near Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Sunrise at Whipple Dam State Park.
Sunrise at Whipple Dam State Park in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

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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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