Ole Bull State Park in Potter County is named in honor of Ole Bornemann Bull, a famous Norwegian violinist who toured the United States in the 1850s.
In 1852, Ole Bull purchased 11,144 acres in Potter County and attempted to develop a Norwegian colony there that he dubbed “New Norway”.
The colony disbanded after only a year, due in large part to the lack of tillable land, and most of the colonists moved west to Michigan and Wisconsin.
In 1925, Ole Bull State Park opened as a picnic area, and in the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed pavilions, camping areas, latrines, and a dam on Kettle Creek to create a swimming area for visitors.
Today you’ll find the park office located along Valhalla Lane, a tribute to Ole Bull’s Norwegian roots.
Directions to Ole Bull State Park
Ole Bull State Park is located in northcentral Pennsylvania, in a region known locally as God’s Country.
If navigating by GPS, you’ll find the entrance to Ole Bull State Park along Route 144 at coordinates 41.542358, -77.711085.
The Best Things to See and Do at Ole Bull State Park
The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset, with day use areas closing at dusk.
Camping at Ole Bull State Park
81 campsites (43 with electric hook-ups) spread out among 2 camping areas along Kettle Creek are available for reservation at Ole Bull State Park.
Fishing at Ole Bull State Park
Kettle Creek is a renowned trout stream, and brook, brown, and rainbow trout are common species in the creek.
Hiking at Ole Bull State Park
Five miles of hiking trails (some using former logging roads and/or railroad grades) are available at the park.
The Castle Vista Trail is one of the most popular hikes at the park.
This short but steep hike leads to Castle Vista, an overlook at the site of what was to be “Ole Bull’s Castle”
The castle (really a large wooden cabin) was never completed, and now all that remains is a depression in the ground where the foundation was laid, along with a few stacked stones.
Swimming at Ole Bull State Park
A 150-foot sandy beach along Kettle Creek is open from late-May to mid-September, from 8:00 A.M. until sunset.
Picnicking at Ole Bull State Park
Four picnic pavilions and numerous picnic tables are available in the picnic area along Kettle Creek.
The Ole Bull Monument
The citizens of Norway paid for the construction of a monument to honor Ole Bull, and it was placed in the park in 2002, on the 150th anniversary of the founding of New Norway.
Fall Foliage at Ole Bull State Park
Excellent fall foliage views can be had throughout the park’s 132 acres, as early as the first week of October.
Lyman Run State Park is a 595-acre park located in northern Potter County, with 45-acre Lyman Run Lake at its heart.
Kettle Creek State Park is a remarkable 1,793 acre oasis situated in the Kettle Creek Valley, 20 miles south of Ole Bull State Park.
Hyner View State Park offers visitors one of the finest scenic overlooks in all of Pennsylvania!
The abandoned ski resort at Denton Hill State Park in Potter County is a case study in dystopian beauty.
Boone Run Vista in Potter County is a roadside scenic overlook near the world-famous Cherry Springs State Park.
14 Must-See Attractions in Potter County is your guide to even more great things to see and do near Ole Bull State Park.
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