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Hiking at Colonel Denning State Park

Two trails lie entirely inside the park. Hikers can also access many miles of trails in the adjoining Tuscarora State Forest. Hiking information and maps are available at the park office.

Colonel Denning State Park Trail Map (PDF)

Trail Definitions

Difficulty Ratings

Easiest -- For beginner trail users. Grade is gentle with few obstacles. 
More Difficult -- For the majority of trail users. Grade is steeper and trails narrower with embedded rocks or roots on the trail surface. 
Most Difficult -- For trail users with advanced skills. Grade is steep and provides a definite physical challenge. Routes may not be well marked. Elevation gain or loss is severe. 

Trail Route Type

Loop -- Start and end at the same location and follow a single trail to form a loop.
Out-and-back -- Start and end at a trailhead and follow a single trail to an endpoint or specific point of interest, then return along the same route. 
Point-to-point -- Trails are generally longer in distance and parks may often contain only a portion of the trail within their boundary. Hiker starts and ends in different locations, often requiring a shuttle. 
Connector -- Begin and end in connection with another trail or trails but do not terminate at a trailhead. 

Doubling Gap Nature Trail

1 mile  |  Easiest hiking  |  Loop trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: benches

Beginning and ending at Doubling Gap Lake, this self-guided trail has several informational panels about the natural history of the area. In the spring, see wildflowers blooming in the wetlands near the trail.

Flat Rock Trail

0.5 mile in the park, 2.5 miles total  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Start in the park and continue along the 2.5-mile Flat Rock Trail which leads to the top of Blue Mountain in Tuscarora State Forest. Two miles of this trail are on state forest land. This steep and rocky trail is worth the effort, ending at Flat Rock, a natural rock outcrop that provides a beautiful scenic vista of the Cumberland Valley.

Rattlesnake Trail

1 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Loop trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Rocky in places, the trail snakes through a mixed oak forest on the foothills of Blue Mountain.

Tuscarora Trail

0.1 mile in the park, 220 miles total  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Point-to-point trail  |  Blue blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking, backpacking
Trailhead amenities: none

Passing thorough a small section of the park, the Tuscarora Trail is the northern portion of an extensive 220-mile bypass route of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. Approximately 23 miles of this hiking trail cross the Tuscarora State Forest.

Backpack camping is permitted along the state forest portion, and a rustic, open-faced shelter is located along the trail near Fowlers Hollow State Park.