Hiking at Parker Dam State Park
13.1 miles of trails
Many hiking trails begin or pass through Parker Dam State Park and continue into the surrounding Moshannon State Forest. Some trails travel through a tornado blowdown, while others follow streams or pass through hardwood forests. Hike the Trail of New Giants and then Souders Trail to compare a young forest to a mature forest.
Abbot Hollow Trail
2.3 miles, blue blazes, more difficult hiking
Explore a wilderness valley devastated by a tornado in 1985, then salvage-logged in 1986. The varying habitats caused by the blowdown: the logging roads, gas well sites, and beaver dams, give the hiker many opportunities to view wildlife.
Beaver Dam Trail
2.2 miles, blue blazes, easiest hiking
Evidence of beavers, like cuttings, tracks, lodges, and dams, can be seen along this trail which follows Mud Run. The trail also passes through a hardwood forest, a hemlock forest, and pine plantations.
0.8 mile, blue blazes, easiest hiking
This trail is a walk down memory lane to the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In the 1930s, this was the road used daily for travel between the residential CCC camp (now the Organized Group Tenting Area) and the work site at the dam. A connector trail leads to Laurel Run Trail.
Laurel Run Trail
1.6 miles, yellow blazes, more difficult hiking
Long used by fishermen, this trail starts near the campground bridge, follows the eastern shoreline of the lake, traverses the dam breast, and follows Laurel Run. This trail also winds through the tornado blowdown area.
0.4 mile, orange blazes, easiest hiking
Civilian Conservation Corps workers cut stone in the 1930s to build Parker Dam.
A display at the trailhead shows historic lumbering tools and an authentic reproduction of a log slide, which were used in the 1870s to harvest timber. Along the trail can be seen the places where the
The trail is part of the Quehanna Trail, which is blazed in orange, and connects to Stumpfield Trail via a pipeline which is blazed in yellow.
1.7 miles, blue blazes, easiest hiking
This trail winds through a managed hardwood forest. It connects Souders Trail with Mud Run Road.
1.3 miles, blue blazes and orange diamonds, easiest hiking
The trail starts on Beaver Dam Trail and connects with Moose Grade Road. Popular with snowmobilers, hunters, and cross-country skiers, Snow Trail offers a pleasant hike in the wilderness.
0.9 mile, yellow blazes, easiest hiking
This scenic loop trail features lush, forest meadows, Laurel Run, and large hardwood and evergreen trees.
0.4 mile, yellow blazes, easiest hiking
Begin at the campground amphitheater and traverse a meadow that was once a forest of pine and hemlock. Look for large stumps left from logging at the turn of the 20th century.
Stunted trees and thick shrubs are evidence of repeated wildfires that destroyed topsoil and slowed forest regrowth. This trail connects with Log Slide Trail via a pipeline.
Sullivan Ridge Trail
0.9 mile, blue blazes, more difficult hiking
This trail follows logging roads along the top of Sullivan Mountain, offering scenic overlooks of Moose Run Valley. Sullivan Ridge Trail connects Snow Trail with Abbot Hollow Trail.
Tornado Alley Trail
1 mile, blue blazes, easiest hiking
This logging road connects Sullivan Ridge Trail with the cabin area. It offers a panoramic view of the tornado damage in Abbot Hollow.
Trail of New Giants
1.2 mile, yellow blazes, more difficult hiking
On May 31, 1985, one of Pennsylvania’s largest and strongest tornadoes roared through the park and destroyed the towering forest of ash, oak, beech, and sugar maple trees. The Trail of New Giants cuts through the blowdown and the 250-acre Windstorm Preserve. Walk the trail and see the forest regenerating.
A 1/4-mile spur trail leads to two beautiful vistas of the park and surrounding forest.
73 miles, orange blazes, most difficult hiking
This trail travels from the park through the Quehanna Wild Area. Backpacking trips range from one to seven or more days.
Only experienced hikers should use these wilderness trails. The main trail is blazed in orange. Connector trails are blazed in yellow.
There is no backpack camping in the park. The Stay the Night section has more information on backpacking the Quehanna Trail.
The Quehanna Area Trails Club maintains the trail and has additional information.