Exploring Poe Paddy State Park in Centre County

Along the banks of Penns Creek in the Penns Creek Wild Area.

Poe Paddy State Park is a 23 acre recreational area in Centre County, located 4 miles east of Poe Valley State Park.

Poe Paddy State Park entrance sign.
Poe Paddy State Park entrance sign.

Poe Paddy State Park sits in a valley between Poe Mountain to the west and Paddy Mountain to the east, thus the name.

Penns Creek near the Poe Paddy Tunnel.
Penns Creek near the Poe Paddy Tunnel.

Poe Paddy State Park is situated at the confluence of Big Poe Creek and Penns Creek, and was the site of a lumbering boomtown in the 1880s-1890s.

The former site of Poe Mills at Poe Paddy State Park.
The former site of Poe Mills at Poe Paddy State Park.

As with nearby Poe Valley State Park, there are multiple ways to access Poe Paddy State Park, but ultimately all of them involve “No Winter Maintenance” state forest roads, so keep that in mind once the snow starts to fly.

A map to Poe Paddy State Park and Poe Paddy Tunnel in Centre County Pennsylvania.
A map to Poe Paddy State Park and Poe Paddy Tunnel.

If navigating by GPS, use coordinates 40.83375, -77.41809 to navigate to the main parking area next to Big Poe Creek.

Parking area next to Big Poe Creek at Poe Paddy State Park.
Parking area next to Big Poe Creek.

The Best Things to See and Do at Poe Paddy State Park

Most of the activities at Poe Paddy State Park and the adjacent Penns Creek Wild Area involve the waters of Big Poe Creek and Penns Creek.

Penns Creek near Poe Paddy State Park.
Penns Creek near Poe Paddy State Park.

Fishing at Poe Paddy State Park

Perhaps the biggest draw to Poe Paddy State Park is fishing, as Penns Creek is a nationally-known wild trout stream.

Fishing in Penns Creek near Poe Paddy State Park.
Fishing on Penns Creek.

Tubing at Poe Paddy State Park

Tubing on Penns Creek is another popular pastime at Poe Paddy State Park in the summer months.

Tubers floating along Penns Creek near Poe Paddy State Park.
Tubers floating along Penns Creek.

Camping at Poe Paddy State Park

Five small Adirondack-style lean-tos and 34 tent and trailer campsites are available at Poe Paddy State Park from from mid-April until mid-December.

Camping at Poe Paddy State Park in Centre County, Pennsylvania.
Camping at Poe Paddy State Park

Hiking at Poe Paddy State Park

The John Snyder Trail along Penns Creek is a popular hiking trail at Poe Paddy State Park, and can be used to access Poe Paddy Tunnel.

John Snyder Trail at Poe Paddy State Park.
John Snyder Trail.

Exploring Poe Paddy Tunnel

Poe Paddy Tunnel was a railroad tunnel built in the late 1800s and abandoned in the 1970s.

Poe Paddy Tunnel was rehabilitated in 2015.
Poe Paddy Tunnel was rehabilitated in 2015.

The tunnel was rehabilitated in 2015 for use as part of the Penns Creek Rail Trail.

Cyclists entering Poe Paddy Tunnel through the northwestern portal.
Cyclists entering Poe Paddy Tunnel through the northwestern portal.

The tunnel is unlit, but has a smooth concrete floor and corrugated steel sides, so it illuminates well with even a cell phone light.

The unlit interior of Poe Paddy Tunnel.
The unlit interior of Poe Paddy Tunnel.

If you’d like to drive to the closest possible access point to Poe Paddy Tunnel, navigate to GPS coordinates 40.83732, -77.40927 and park in the obvious roadside pull off, near the sign below.

Sign pointing to Poe Paddy Tunnel.
Sign pointing to Poe Paddy Tunnel.

From the parking area you’ll cross a bridge over Penns Creek and arrive at Poe Paddy Tunnel approximately 330 yards from where you parked.

Bridge over Penns Creek near Poe Paddy Tunnel.
Bridge over Penns Creek near Poe Paddy Tunnel.

You’ll notice a grated entrance above the bike trail entrance at the southeastern portal – this upper portion of the Poe Paddy Tunnel is now preserved as a bat hibernaculum.

Southeastern entrance to Poe Paddy Tunnel in Centre County, Pennsylvania.
Southeastern entrance to Poe Paddy Tunnel.

Final Thoughts on Poe Paddy State Park

At 23 acres, Poe Paddy is one of the smallest state parks in Pennsylvania.

Penns Creek Wild Area on a spring day.
Penns Creek Wild Area on a spring day.

But when you add in the nearby 6,000 acre Penns Creek Wild Area, 620 acre Poe Valley State Park, and the 194,000 acre Bald Eagle State Forest, suddenly you’re talking about an almost infinite number of recreational possibilities!

Penns Creek Wild Area in the Bald Eagle State Forest, near Poe Paddy Tunnel.
Penns Creek Wild Area in the Bald Eagle State Forest, near Poe Paddy Tunnel.

Poe Paddy State Park and Poe Paddy Tunnel are some of my favorite off-the-beaten-path spots in Centre County – be sure to check them out if you haven’t already!

Hiking through Poe Paddy Tunnel.
Hiking through Poe Paddy Tunnel.

Nearby Attractions

Poe Valley State Park sits 4 miles west of Poe Paddy State Park, with 25 acre Poe Lake at the heart of it all.

The beach area and playground at Poe Valley State Park in Centre County, Pennsylvania.
The beach area and playground at Poe Valley State Park.

The 8 Best Scenic Overlooks in the Bald Eagle State Forest gives you a map and directions to 8 fantastic ROADSIDE scenic overlooks near Poe Paddy State Park that require no hiking whatsoever!

Ravens Knob East Vista in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
Ravens Knob East Vista in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

The 5 Best State Parks Near State College is a valuable guide whether you are a Penn State student, Centre County local, or simply a visitor seeking outdoor adventure in Happy Valley!

Fall foliage view from the kayak on October 11th, 2021.
Fall foliage view from the kayak at Black Moshannon State Park in Centre County.

The 13 Best Scenic Overlooks in Centre County gives you maps and directions to some of the finest scenic vistas in Centre County.

Rusty Glessner at Indian Wells Overlook in Centre County Pennsylvania
The author at Indian Wells Overlook in Centre County.

The Colyer Lake Trail is a scenic and relatively easy to hike 2.6 mile trail that loops around the PA Fish and Boat Commission’s Colyer Lake in Centre County.

Looking out over the water from the Colyer Lake Trail near State College.
The Colyer Lake Trail in Centre County.

Exploring the Ghost Town of Scotia Near State College takes you inside the remains of a Centre County iron-mining boomtown gone bust.

View from above of the ore washer remains at Scotia.
Remnants of the ghost town of Scotia near State College.

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Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

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