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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 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry Camping Reservation System Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).

Camping in Susquehannock State Forest

Susquehannock State Forest offers a unique opportunity to spend a night outdoors in remote tracts of forest.

Surrounding Cherry Springs State Park, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' first Dark Sky Park, campers are also greeted here by night skies away from light pollution.

Solitude and the sounds of nature are sure to leave an appreciation for these resources. Scenic streams, expansive vistas, and numerous trails allow for additional daytime 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 are two types of motorized, roadside camping opportunities in Susquehannock 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 recrational vehicles, or trailers.

  • State forest equestrian campsites at the Dyer and Horsey Hilton Camping Areas are situated in a campground setting and are improved for equestrian use. All sites offer trailer parking, a hitching post, picnic table, and fire ring.

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 or the Susquehannock State Forest Roadside Campsite Map (PDF) 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

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 Susquehannock Trail System, which runs through the state forest, offers some of the best opportunities for backpacking; however, other Susquehannock 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 camping at the same site for more than one night.

To request a primitive backpacking permit in Susquehannock State Forest, please contact the district office at 814-274-3600.

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 Susquehannock 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 Susquehannock 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 Susquehannock State Forest district office at 814-274-3600 for more information. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

The district office is also open on weekends and holidays between March and mid-November, from 8:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M., however, closed on Easter.

Enjoy your stay in Susquehannock State Forest!​