Exploring Poe Valley State Park in Centre County

Exploring Poe Valley State Park in Centre County Pennsylvania.

Poe Valley State Park is a 620 acre recreational area in Centre County, approximately 17 miles east of State College.

Welcome to Poe Valley State Park sign.
Welcome to Poe Valley State Park sign.

As the name implies, the park sits in a valley between Big Poe Mountain to the north, and Little Poe Mountain to the south.

Beach facilities at Poe Valley State Park.
Big Poe Mountain to the north of Poe Lake.

Those mountain ridges surrounding Poe Valley State Park are home to some amazing scenic overlooks and roadside vistas.

Chocolate Drop Vista sign along Pine Swamp Road in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
Chocolate Drop Vista near the park.

At the heart of Poe Valley State Park is 25-acre Poe Lake, constructed by damming Big Poe Creek in 1937.

Sitting on the dam at Poe Valley State Park in Centre County PA
Sitting on the dam.

How to Find Poe Valley State Park

There are multiple ways to access Poe Valley 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 Valley State Park and nearby attractions in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
A map to Poe Valley State Park and nearby attractions in the Bald Eagle State Forest.

If navigating by GPS, use coordinates 40.81894, -77.47689 to find the Poe Valley State Park office.

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

The Best Things to Do at Poe Valley State Park

Entrance to the beach area at Poe Valley State Park in Centre County Pennsylvania.
Entrance to the beach area.

Swimming at Poe Valley State Park

The beach at Poe Valley State Park is a big draw in the summer months, offering an ideal place to swim in the heart of the mountains.

The beach at Poe Valley State Park in Centre County Pennsylvania.
Summer afternoon on the beach.

Adjacent to the beach you’ll find changing rooms, restrooms, and the concessions stand, all open between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The beach at Poe Valley State Park in Centre County on a summer afternoon.
The beach on a summer afternoon.

Hiking at Poe Valley State Park

There are several hiking trails located within Poe Valley State Park.

Hiking near the dam at Poe Valley State Park.
Hiking near the dam.

The Nature Trail is an easy loop through the forest near the park office.

The Nature Trail at Poe Valley State Park.
The Nature Trail.

You can also hike along the southern edge of Poe Lake.

Hiking near the lake at Poe Valley State Park.
Hiking near the lake.

Ultimately this smooth, flat trail takes you from the beach to the dam and spillway on the eastern edge of Poe Lake.

Walking across the breast of the dam at Poe Valley State Park.
Walking across the breast of the dam.

Just below the spillway you’ll find this small waterfall as Big Poe Creek continues flowing east towards Poe Paddy State Park and Penns Creek.

Waterfall below the spillway at Poe Valley State Park.
Waterfall below the spillway.

Boating at Poe Valley State Park

Boating is another popular pastime at Poe Valley State Park.

Kayaking on Poe Lake at Poe Paddy State Park.
Kayaking on Poe Lake.

There is a boat launch on the north shore of Poe Lake, opposite the beach area.

Boat launch at Poe Valley State Park in Centre County, Pennsylvania.
Boat launch opposite the beach.

No gasoline-powered motor boats are permitted on Poe Lake – electric motors or paddle/pedal powered only.

Kayaking at Poe Valley State Park in Centre County Pennsylvania.
Kayaking near the beach.

Camping at Poe Valley State Park

There are 45 campsites at Poe Valley State Park, which can accommodate tents, trailers and motorhomes.

Campground at Poe Valley State Park in Centre County Pennsylvania.
Campground near the dam.

Fishing at Poe Valley State Park

Poe Lake is stocked with trout several times per season, and is also populated by largemouth bass, catfish, pickerel, perch and sunfish.

Fishing at Poe Valley State Park in Centre County Pennsylvania.
Fishing on Poe Lake.

Final Thoughts

Poe Valley State Park is off the beaten path to be sure, but well worth the effort to reach it.

Walking path along Poe Lake at Poe Valley State Park.
Walking path along Poe Lake.

Between the lake, the trails, and the surrounding mountains, there is a TON of fun to be had at Poe Valley State Park!

Kids enjoying a summer afternoon on the lake at Poe Valley State Park.
Kids enjoying a summer afternoon on Poe Lake.

Nearby Attractions

Poe Paddy State Park is located 4 miles east of Poe Valley State Park, at the confluence of Big Poe Creek and Penns Creek.

Fishing in Penns Creek near Poe Paddy State Park.
Fishing in Penns Creek near Poe Paddy 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 Valley State Park that require no hiking whatsoever!

Big Valley Vista sign along the Millheim Pike in the Bald Eagle State Forest.
Big Valley Vista sign along the Millheim Pike near Poe Valley State Park.

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.
Kayaking at Black Moshannon State Park near State College.

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.
The ghosts town of Scotia near State College in Centre County.

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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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