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Camping in Buchanan State Forest

For information or to submit a request for a camping permit in Buchanan State Forest, please call the Buchanan State Forest office at 717-485-3148 or email the Buchanan State Forest Camping Application (PDF) to the Buchanan State Forest office.

Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Calling is recommended for requests occurring between 12:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. on Fridays.

Camping permit requests submitted over the weekend or a federal holiday will not be processed until the next business day. There is no fee for a camping permit.

Primitive Camping

Backpack campers are permitted to camp in the forest without a permit if staying no more than one night in any location.

Backpack camping does not allow for access to motorized vehicles during overnight stays. A permit is required if the backpacker desires an emergency point-of-contact or if a campfire is requested during the annual spring wildfire season.

Please see the Pennsylvania State Forests Primitive Camping Brochure (PDF) for more information. There are also 12 primitive campsites that can be reserved. These are designated by tent symbols on the camping brochures listed below under motorized camping.

Motorized Camping

Buchanan State Forest offers 69 designated motorized campsites -- defined as camping in or near the vehicle which continues to be used for storage or transportation.

A camping permit is required for motorized camping. Information on motorized camping regulations and locations of motorized campsites may be viewed by the following camping areas within Buchanan State Forest:


Campfires are not permitted when the fire danger is high, very high, or extreme; and from March 1 through May 25, unless authorized by Buchanan State Forest.

Additionally, if the camping date is several days away, campfire permission may not be determined until closer to the dates of the camping trip.

Group Camping

Backpacking or motorized camping groups of 10 or more people must obtain a Letter of Authorization from the state forest. Complete the Buchanan State Forest Activity Agreement or Authorization Application (PDF) and submit it to the Buchanan State Forest office to start the process to obtain this authorization.

These are processed through the forest district office and may take up to 2-3 weeks to obtain. Please plan accordingly.