What to do in Colonel Denning State Park

William Denning (1737-1830) was a Revolutionary War veteran for whom the park is named. He was never a colonel but he is deserving of a place in history for his manufacturing of the wrought iron cannon.

The park became a state recreational area in the 1930's under the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry and was developed formally in 1936 through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

There are a variety of outdoor activities to be enjoyed at Colonel Denning State Park. The park offers a guarded beach during the warm summer months along with a refreshment concession. Fishing is enjoyed practically year-round. There are more than 18 miles of hiking trails accessible from the park and over 200 picnic tables available year-round. The campground offers 52 sites. Cross-country skiing and ice skating are two winter sports enjoyed at Colonel Denning. A visitor center, exhibiting plants, animals and minerals found in the park, is open during the summer season. An environmental interpreter offers ecological and historical walks and programs, audiovisual programs, campfires, environmental education activities and youth programs as well. Hunting is permitted at the park.

William Denning (1737-1830) was a Revolutionary War veteran for whom the park is named. He was never a colonel but he is deserving of a place in history for his manufacturing of the wrought iron cannon.

The park became a state recreational area in the 1930's under the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry and was developed formally in 1936 through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The park is situated in Doubling Gap, named by the "S" turn where the Blue Mountain doubles back on itself. This feature may be seen from the doubling Gap Vista on adjacent state forest land.

In addition to the many recreation opportunities at Colonel Denning State Park, the area is adjacent to state forest land which offers three scenic views from its 30,000 acres. About 20 miles away is a stand of virgin hemlock near New Germantown in Perry County. Also, there are several thousand acres of State Game Lands used for hunting. More information about these areas may be obtained from the park office.

Recreation
There are a variety of outdoor activities to be enjoyed at Colonel Denning State Park. The park offers a guarded beach during the warm summer months along with a refreshment concession. Fishing is enjoyed practically year-round. There are more than 18 miles of hiking trails accessible from the park and over 200 picnic tables available year-round. The campground offers 52 sites. Cross-country skiing and ice skating are two winter sports enjoyed at Colonel Denning.

A visitor center, exhibiting plants, animals and minerals found in the park, is open during the summer season. An environmental interpreter offers ecological and historical walks and programs, audiovisual programs, campfires, environmental education activities and youth programs as well.

Many acres of Colonel Denning State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, squirrel and turkey. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply.

Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. The park is used by other visitors during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment must be kept in the owner's car, trailer or camp. Hunting is also permitted on the adjacent State Forest lands.

Location
Colonel Denning State Park is located in Doubling Gap, northcentral Cumberland County, along PA Route 233. The park is 8 miles north of Newville and 9 miles south of Landisburg. The park includes 273 acres of woodland and a 3.5 -acre lake.

Climate
Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Colonel Denning State Park area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging around 24 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 to -2 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range around 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 Celsius).

Address
1599 Doubling Gap Road
Newville, PA 17241-5272

Phone: 717-776-5272

Email: coldenning.sp@a1.dcnr.state.pa.us
  • Colonel Denning State Park Travel Q&A

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