Colonel Denning State Park

Surrounded by rolling mountains, Colonel Denning State Park's 273 acres of woodland is the perfect place to enjoy a little peace and quiet. With the 3.5-acre Doubling Gap Lake for swimming and boating in the summer and ice-fishing and ice-skating in the winter, a 49-site campground, volleyball, picnicking, and trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, it's the perfect place to bring the family and connect with nature.

Things to Do at Colonel Denning State Park


Colonel Denning has three trails totaling 3.5 miles to explore. The most notable trail is the 2.5-mile (one-way) Flat Rock Trail. The strenuous, rocky climb leads to a 180-degree panoramic view of the Valley. In the fall, enjoy the foliage and hawk migration from the Flat Rock lookout. The trailhead is located next to the Visitors Center. The self-guided Doubling Gap Trail is a one-mile moderate hike.

Colonel Denning is a trailhead for Tuscarora State Forest and the 252-mile Tuscarora Trail. Trails in the surrounding Tuscarora State Forest are accessible from the park and, when combined with those in the park, provide 13 trails with 18 miles to explore.


Non-motorized canoes and kayaks may be used on Doubling Gap Lake. Boating is prohibited from the opening day of trout season to the Friday before Memorial Day. Boats must be carried in from the nearby parking lot and launched in the designated launch area located at the west end of the beach.


Cycling is allowed on paved roads through the park (approximately 1 mile). View additional Cumberland Valley bike routes.

Horseback Riding

The park has an equestrian trailhead where riders can access the state forest trails.


There are three courses to challenge your map and compass skills: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Trail maps are available at the park office or the nature center.


The park has picnic tables and a limited number of charcoal grills. Pavilions are available for rent.


The lakeside beach is open from late May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. View more places to splash around.


The 3.5-acre Doubling Gap Lake has stocked trout. There is an ADA-accessible fishing pier. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission limits, seasons, and regulations apply. Ice fishing is also available. View the top ten fishing locations.


During established seasons, many acres are open to hunting, trapping, and the training of dogs. Common game species are deer, squirrel, and turkey. Hunting is also permitted on the adjacent Tuscarora State Forest. Learn more about Cumberland Valley's hunting areas.


The avian inventory lists an impressive 100 species, including several species of hawk, owl, woodpecker, warbler, flycatcher, and vireo. Regular forest species include Eastern Wood-Pewee, Scarlet Tanager, Veery, Wood Thrush, and Blackburnian Warbler. View bird-watching hotspots.

Winter Activities

Cross-country Skiing

While there is no formal cross-country skiing trail system, skiing is permitted on existing roads and trails and in all park areas. The terrain is moderately hilly to mountainous.

Ice Skating

When conditions permit, the natural lake ice is monitored for ice skating in the swimming area. Skating is permitted from 8:00 A.M. until sunset. Ice skating is at your own risk. Ice thickness is not monitored.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

A two-plug, electric-vehicle charging station is available for public use in the main day-use parking area near Doubling Gap Lake. Please move to another parking space once your vehicle has been charged.

Colonel Denning Recreational Guides and Maps

Stay the Night


The 49-site tent and trailer campground is open from the opening day of trout season and closes the day after rifle deer season in December. Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring. Restrooms with warm showers and a sanitary dump station are available. Pets are permitted on designated campsitesMake a Reservation.


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