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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 Michaux State Forest

Michaux State Forest is an ideal location to enjoy a night outdoors. Campers will find natural beauty and opportunities for other recreation during their stay.

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 are three types of motorized, roadside camping opportunities in Michaux 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. Michaux State Forest offers two roadside campsites.

  • Roadside hike-in campsites are singular, remote, and 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. Michaux State Forest offers multiple hike-in campsites.

  • State forest rustic campsites, unlike other motorized, roadside sites, are within a campground setting with a concentration of other sites nearby. These are ideal for those who want a rustic experience near other campers. They receive regular maintenance and some include a pit latrine or vault toilet, but no other amenities. Michaux State Forest offers four areas of this type for a total of 27 sites, which accommodate RVs, campers, trailers, and equine camping.

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 at trailside sites while hiking along the Appalachian Trail or other State Forest Hiking Trails without a permit if staying no more than one night in any location.

If camping along the Appalachian Trail, please be considerate of through-hikers and observe any posted regulations regarding group sizes.

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.

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 camping at the same site for more than one night.

To request a primitive backpacking permit in Michaux State Forest, please contact the district office at 717-352-2211.

Group Camping

Backpacking or motorized camping groups of more than 10 people must obtain a Letter of Authorization from the state forest.

These are processed through the Michaux State Forest district office and may take up to two to three weeks to obtain. Please plan accordingly.

Campfires

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

The winter camping season in Michaux State Forest annually begins the third Sunday following Thanksgiving and ends April 1.

During the winter camping season, the following designated motorized campsites are available for reservation:

  • Campsite #1 -- Big Flat Parking Lot
  • Campsite #2 -- Piney Mountain Parking Lot
  • Campsite #21 -- Teaberry Parking Lot
  • Campsite #22 -- Peggy's Hill Parking Lot

All other campsites are closed.

A permit is still required for winter camping at the designated motorized, roadside campsites listed above. State forest roads do not receive winter maintenance and are not plowed. Travel at your own risk.

Contact Information

Contact the Michaux State Forest district office at 717-352-2211 for more information. Michaux State Forest office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M, closed state holidays. The office is closed from 12:00 P.M. until 12:30 P.M. daily.

Enjoy your stay in Michaux State Forest!