What to do in Trough Creek State Park

The American Indians knew the Great Trough Creek Valley as a peaceful place to live and hunt, but were displaced by Colonists who came to harness the natural power of the moving water. In 1780, the first Colonist, Nicholas Crum, built a wooden turbine gristmill. A bloomery followed in 1790 and made about 100 pounds of iron a day. In 1827, Rueben Trexler constructed Paradise Furnace which produced 12 tons of cast iron a day. In 1832, Savage Forge was built to turn the cast iron into wrought iron. A small park was built for the workers, later to be known as Old Forge Camp. The thriving community crumbled in 1856. Paradise Furnace was briefly reopened during the Civil War. In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) arrived and planted trees, constructed roads and trails and created Trough Creek State Park, which opened in 1936.

Today, Trough Creek State Park and the surrounding area is a beautiful lush hardwood forest, intermingled with soft pine. Approximately 12 miles of trails within the park and on adjacent state forest land attracts many visitors. Five picnic areas throughout the park provide a variety of scenic table sites. Restrooms, hand pump wells and activity areas are located in some picnic areas. A cozy camping area with 32 sites accommodates any size camper. Each site is provided with an electric hookup, picnic table, campfire ring and separate tent pad. A rustic restroom with no showers and a sanitary dump station are next to the park office. The Trough Creek Lodge is a renovated two-story stone mansion is available for rental year round. Stream fishing in Great Trough Creek provides a variety of fish including trout, smallmouth bass, rock bass, suckers and panfish. Lake fishing is available via a short walk along Terrace Mountain Trail to a sheltered cove of Raystown Lake. Approximately 100 acres of Trough Creek State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established Pennsylvania Game Commission seasons. Common game species hunted in the park include deer, turkey, grouse and squirrel.

The American Indians knew the Great Trough Creek Valley as a peaceful place to live and hunt, but were displaced by Colonists who came to harness the natural power of the moving water. In 1780, the first Colonist, Nicholas Crum, built a wooden turbine gristmill. A bloomery followed in 1790 and made about 100 pounds of iron a day. In 1827, Rueben Trexler constructed Paradise Furnace which produced 12 tons of cast iron a day. In 1832, Savage Forge was built to turn the cast iron into wrought iron. A small park was built for the workers, later to be known as Old Forge Camp. The thriving community crumbled in 1856. Paradise Furnace was briefly reopened during the Civil War.

It is reputed that in 1870 Edgar Allen Poe visited and later wrote the poem "the Raven" after seeing the many ravens that nested on the cliffs.

In 1913, the wail of progress screamed through the valley as the Juniata and Southern Railroad was built to harvest the timber of the area. By 1918, the trees were gone and the wooden-railed railroad was dismantled. Due to the loss of trees the land was prone to floods and forest fires.

In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) arrived and planted trees, constructed roads and trails and created Trough Creek State Park, which opened in 1936.

Today, Trough Creek State Park and the surrounding area is a beautiful lush hardwood forest, intermingled with soft pine. The lovely hills roll into mild peaks and settle into gentle valleys. Great Trough Creek still carves the ridges and creates unique geologic features visible throughout the park. It offers three outstanding geological features; the Ice Mine, Balanced Rock and Copperas Rock.

Recreation
Approximately 12 miles of trails within the park and on adjacent state forest land attracts many visitors. These trails provide various experiences from scenic vistas and cool stream hollows, to hillside and ridge top walks.

Five picnic areas throughout the park provide a variety of scenic table sites. Several picnic pavilions are available and may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Restrooms, hand pump wells and activity areas are located in some picnic areas.

A cozy camping area with 32 sites accommodates any size camper. Each site is provided with an electric hookup, picnic table, campfire ring and separate tent pad. A rustic restroom with no showers and a sanitary dump station are next to the park office.

The Trough Creek Lodge is a renovated two-story stone mansion is available for rental year round. Originally constructed in the mid-1800's as an ironmaster's home, it has a modern eat-in-kitchen, two bathrooms, four bedrooms and central heat. The lodge has spacious porches, yard areas and sits atop a hill overlooking Paradise Furnace. The lodge is fully accessible for those with disabilities.

Stream fishing in Great Trough Creek provides a variety of fish including trout, smallmouth bass, rock bass, suckers and panfish. In recent years, shad fish netting has become popular each spring when these fish enter tributaries of Raystown Lake to spawn. Lake fishing is available via a short walk along Terrace Mountain Trail to a sheltered cove of Raystown Lake.

Approximately 100 acres of Trough Creek State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established Pennsylvania Game Commission seasons. Common game species hunted in the park include deer, turkey, grouse and squirrel. 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 park serves as a trailhead for trails on Rothrock State Forest lands. Parking and restrooms are provided in the park. A snowmobile trail map is available from the park office.

Location
The park is located in south central Pennsylvania and can be accessed by traveling 16 miles south from Huntingdon along PA Route 26, then 5 miles east along PA Route 994 near the village of Entriken.

Climate
Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Trough Creek 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
RR1, Box 211
James Creek, PA 16657-9302

Phone: 814-658-3847

Email: troughcreek@dcnr.state.pa.us
  • Trough Creek State Park Travel Q&A

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