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Alert iconEffective 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 Loyalsock State Forest

Camping in the Loyalsock State Forest allows visitors to truly get away from it all. Peaceful nights under dark skies dominate this experience, while stunning scenery and countless trails allow for additional daytime adventure.

To ensure the long-term sustainability of these valuable natural resources and recreation opportunities, 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. Visitors must take trash with them upon departure.

There are four types of motorized, roadside camping opportunities in Loyalsock 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. These receive minimal maintenance.

  • Roadside hike-in campsites are singular, remote tent-only sites with designated parking along a dirt and gravel state forest road and a defined trail or gated road that is followed to the campsite. These campsites offer more solitude than most roadside campsites, but still allow easy access to a vehicle for storage and transportation. Hike-in distances vary, so be sure to check campsite attributes in the reservation system.

  • State forest rustic campsites at the Masten CCC Camping Area -- unlike other roadside campsites -- are within a campground setting with a concentration of other sites nearby. These are ideal for those who want a rustic experience but still be near to other campers. They receive basic routine maintenance and include access to a latrine.

  • State forest equestrian campsites at the Bridle Trailhead Camping Area are situated in a campground setting and and usually laid out for and include amenities specifically for horses. All sites offer trailer parking, a hitching post, picnic table, and fire ring. A restroom is also centrally located. Additionally, riding opportunities are found nearby. Most of these campgrounds are for equestrian use only, but some may allow other campers during the off season. These sites are not recommended for individuals without horses.

As a result of sanitation concerns due to heavy use, all designated campsites in Loyalsock State Forest will undergo a six-month resting period.

From January 1 to June 30, only even numbered campsites sites will be open for use. From July 1 to December 31, only odd numbered campsites will be open to use.

Considerations are given when the transition occurs on a weekend. Sites at Bridle Trail and Masten Campground are open year-round.

Check campsite details to determine the suitability for your equipment and desired experience.

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 find 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

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 Loyalsock Trail and Old Loggers Path, which run through Loyalsock State Forest, offer some of the best opportunities for backpacking; however, other Loyalsock State Forest hiking and shared-use trails can be used to form short loops or out-and-back overnight trips.

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 Loyalsock State Forest, please contact the Loyalsock State Forest district office at 570-946-4049.

Water Trail Camping

Opportunities for primitive water trail camping exist at several river island campsites along the North Branch of the Susquehanna River Water Trail.

The sites are located on DCNR Bureau of Forestry managed river islands within Loyalsock State Forest. A permit is not required for overnight camping at these locations.

Groups of 10 people or less may stay for no more than two nights at any one campsite. All other State Forest Rules a​nd Regulations apply.

River island campsites receive minimal maintenance and can be difficult to identify. If unsure of land ownership at a given location, please do not camp.

Group Camping

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 Loyalsock 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 Loyalsock 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.

Winter Camping

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 Information

Contact the Loyalsock State Forest district office at 570-946-4049 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 Loyalsock State Forest!