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 Tioga State Forest
A night outdoors in Tioga State Forest is always a memorable experience. Whether enjoying the solitude at a remote campsite or admiring the grandeur of the Pine Creek Gorge at the rail trail camping areas, visitors will be treated to dark night skies and the sounds of nature.
Daytime adventure is found in exploring the scenic streams, mountain vistas, and numerous trails.
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. Visitors must take trash with them upon departure.
There are five types of motorized, roadside campsite opportunities in Tioga 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 campsites receive minimal maintenance.
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.
Trailside campsites are situated along various kinds of state forest trails such as rail trails, hiking trails, or water trails and can be bike-in, boat-in, and/or hike-in. Vehicle access is not nearby. They receive varying degrees of maintenance and are an excellent way to traverse and access interior portions of large tracts of state forest land. These campsites include Darling Run, Hoffman Farm, and Tiadaghton Camping Areas along the Pine Creek Rail Trail. These campsites are situated in a campground setting and receive routine maintenance.
Equestrian campsites are situated in a campground setting and usually laid out for and include amenities specifically for horses. These may include things such as hitching posts and manure pits. Additionally, riding opportunities are found nearby. Most of these campgrounds are for equestrian use only. The Left Straight Equestrian Camping Area has ample room for trailers.
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. The Asaph and County Bridge Campgrounds are first-come, first-served and payment is made onsite.
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.
Note that the Asaph and County Bridge Campgrounds are first-come, first-served; and are not available on the Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests Reservation website. Payment must be made on site with honor envelopes.
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.
However, due to high use and sensitive ecosystems, camping permits are always required in the Pine Creek Gorge, regardless of the type of camping and can be made in the
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests Reservation website.
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.
West Rim Trail and Mid State Trail, which run through Tioga State Forest offer some of the best opportunities for backpacking; however, other district hiking and shared-use trails can be used to form short loops or out-and-back overnight trips.
Note that portions of the Mid State Trail go through multiple land ownerships where camping may be managed differently.
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.
Primitive backpack campers are encouraged to obtain a free camping permit for personal safety and so that land managers can gauge forest usage.
To request a primitive backpacking permit in Tioga State Forest, please contact the district office at 570-724-2868.
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 Tioga 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 Tioga 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 Tioga State Forest district office at 570-724-2868 for more information. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, closed state holidays.
Enjoy your stay in Tioga State Forest!