Effective Thursday, November 3, 2022: All designated state forest campsites will be reserved through the
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests Reservations website.
To learn about the reservation system and why this change was made, please see the
DCNR Bureau of Forestry Camping Reservation System Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).
Camping in Clear Creek State Forest
Camping in Clear Creek State Forest is the perfect way to heighten your experience and soak in more of what makes it so distinct.
Whether your passion leads you to a solitary backpacking excursion, river paddling with friends, or gathering with family along a back-country road; Clear Creek State Forest is the place for you to pursue your adventure.
To ensure the long-term sustainability of these valuable natural resources and recreation experiences, be sure to practice Leave No Trace Principles.
Motorized, Roadside Camping at Designated Sites
Motorized camping or roadside camping is defined as overnight camping in or near a vehicle where the vehicle is used for storage or transportation. This type of camping may only be done at designated campsites and always requires a permit.
There are no developed facilities, modern conveniences, or other improvements at state forest campsites.
There is one type of motorized, roadside campsite opportunity in Clear Creek State Forest:
Roadside campsites are singular, remote sites located along dirt and gravel state forest roads. They may be pull offs or have a short driveway. These sites allow for overnight camping in or very near a vehicle. Depending on layout, the sites may accommodate different types of equipment such as tents, small RVs, or trailers.
Five designated and reservable sites are available for motorized, roadside camping. All are in the Callen Run Tract.
Check campsite details to determine the suitability for your equipment and desired experience.
There are no electric hookups, dump stations, or trash disposal facilities on state forest land.
Permits and Reservations for Motorized, Roadside Campsites
Camping permits and reservations are required to stay at motorized, roadside campsites.
Reservations can be made online at the
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests Reservation website at any time, or by calling 888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757), Monday through Saturday, 7:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M. except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
Motorized, roadside campsites may be reserved up to eleven months in advance.
Use the Interactive
Pennsylvania State Forest Camping Sites GIS Map to view locations and visit the
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests Reservation website to see pictures and additional detailed information on each campsite.
Stays are limited to seven nights at a motorized, roadside campsite.
Check in and check out time is 3:00 P.M. Campers must vacate for at least 48 hours before returning. Please be considerate of other visitors’ opportunities to use this valued resource.
Please review your permit for additional rules and conditions.
Primitive Backpack Camping
Backpack campers are permitted to camp in most areas of the forest without a permit if staying no more than one night in any location.
Backpackers may camp overnight anywhere except:
- In designated Natural Areas
- Within 200 feet of a forest road
- Within 25 feet of a trail
- Within 100 feet of a stream or any open water
- Along the Beartown Rocks Trail or any location posted as closed.
Backpack camping is typically done at trailside campsites and does not allow for access to motorized vehicles during overnight stays.
Primitive, trailside camping is part of an overall backcountry travel experience.
It involves hiking from campsite to campsite, far from your vehicle and nearby buildings, roads, and trailheads where you will find no modern conveniences or campsite improvements.
The Danner Primitive Camping Area, located along the Allegheny River in the
Kennerdell Tract of Clear Creek State Forest (PDF), is a great option for an overnight stay on the water trail.
It is also available by way of shared use trails. Amenities include a picnic table, campfire ring, and a vault toilet. Primitive camping rules apply.
Remember, if you are camping close enough to your vehicle to access it to store gear and supplies, you are not primitive camping -- you are roadside, or motorized, camping.
A permit and reservation is always required for motorized, roadside camping, and it is only permitted at designated sites. Please plan appropriately.
Primitive Backpack Camping Permits
A free primitive camping permit is required if a backpacker desires an emergency point-of-contact or if a campfire is requested during the annual spring wildfire season (March, April, and May).
Camping permits are also required for primitive backpack camping at the same site for more than one night.
To request a primitive backpacking permit in Clear Creek State Forest, please contact the district office at 814-226-1901.
Backpacking or motorized, roadside camping groups of more than 10 people must obtain a Letter of Authorization from the state forest.
These are processed through the Clear Creek State Forest district office and may take up to two to three weeks to obtain. Please plan accordingly.
Campfires are not permitted when the fire danger is high, very high, or extreme; and from March 1 through May 25, unless authorized by Clear Creek State Forest.
Additionally, if the camping date is several days away or more, campfire permission may not be determined until closer to the dates of the camping trip.
State forest roads do not receive winter maintenance and are not plowed --motorized, roadside camping access is not guaranteed. Travel at your own risk.
Contact the Clear Creek State Forest district office at 814-226-1901 for more information. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M, closed state holidays.
Enjoy your stay in Clear Creek State Forest!