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  1. #1
    Registered User Panzer1's Avatar
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    Default Free Camping In Pa?

    I'm looking for somewhere I can camp for free in Pa. Is free and legal camping possible anywhere in Pa? I'm hoping to find a nice wilderness place where I can drive my truck up to and camp by myself for a couple of days without spending a lot of money. I have to keep costs down.

    Panzer

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    Allegheny National Forest, although George Washington NF in VA would probably be closer to you.

    Or you can get a road camping permit for some PA State Forests, for particular sites. http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/camping/index.aspx But you need to call the Forest District offices, individually, on a weekday, to see where you can set up.

  3. #3
    Registered User Toolshed's Avatar
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    Free???!!!??! Wow!!!! You need to get up to North Central PA - Around Potter County on the BFT or STS. There are a lot of places where you can pull off the road and camp.. for FREE!!!
    .....Someday, like many others who joined WB in the early years, I may dry up and dissapear....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolshed View Post
    You need to get up to North Central PA - Around Potter County on the BFT or STS. There are a lot of places where you can pull off the road and camp.. for FREE!!!
    ...either with a State Forest issued permit, or until the DCNR Forest Ranger shows up.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
    ...either with a State Forest issued permit, or until the DCNR Forest Ranger shows up.

    Of course, with the state cutting PA DCNR's budget maybe there won't BE any Rangers to show up!

  6. #6
    Registered User shelterbuilder's Avatar
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    Call the District Forester's Office in Cressona (just south of Pottsville on Rt. 901) and ask. This is in the "570" area code, although I don't remember the phone number. I believe that they've been working on putting in some primitive drive-in sites somewhere in the Weiser State Forest, but I'm not sure where exactly. This program isn't very well publicized, but I'm told that the District Forester is trying to increase State Forest use by the general public by setting up this type of camping area. Weiser shouldn't be too far for you to travel, either.

    And report back to us about what they say..."If it's free, it's for me!"
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning how to dance in the rain!

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    I also believe camping along the Laurel Highlands hiking trail is free, they have shelters as well, first come first served. Many parking lots/trail heads to choose from. SW pennsylvania area. Allegheny forest, I would recommend Minister Creek trail area, very scenic, unique glacier left overs along the trail.

  8. #8
    Registered User faarside's Avatar
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    I believe the Clearfield County Fairgrounds (near State College, PA) offers camping for free-to-$10 with areas for tents and RV's. Sorry, I don't have a phone # for you to call to verify this info, but here is a website:

    http://www.clearfieldcountyfair.com/

    Also, it is my understanding (although I have not personally been there), that Wyoming State Forest near Williamsport offers free camping. A permit is required which is (I am told) no charge.

    Hope this helps. Happy Trails!
    Faarside aka WhiteHorse

    "... The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep... Miles to go before I sleep." - Robert Frost


  9. #9
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    you can camp on any Natl Forest land for free. thats our right as taxpayers. we do this all the time when travelling.
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

    amongnature.blogspot.com

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    FYI - in the White Mountain National Forest there are pretty serious restrictions on roadside camping, the unorganized sites require a parking pass. In most areas, you have to camp a minimum of a quarter mile off the road and in some areas there are restricted use areas with no camping except at designated locations. So check with the local ranger district first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Solemates View Post
    you can camp on any Natl Forest land for free. thats our right as taxpayers. we do this all the time when travelling.
    Most any. I understand what you meant to say. Ya gotta get your vehicle out of the road for instance, and spots like peakbagger mentioned.

    It is easier in the West.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Solemates View Post
    you can camp on any Natl Forest land for free. thats our right as taxpayers. we do this all the time when travelling.
    Allegheny National Forest is the only national forest i know of in PA (I could be wrong here). It's pretty far from where Panzer lives.

    On a less helpful note, I'm sure my mom would let him camp in her backyard. That's very close to where Panzer lives.
    Drab as a Fool, as aloof as a Bard!

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  13. #13
    Registered User Panzer1's Avatar
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    Default Free Motorized Camping

    As Shelterbuilder said there is free camping in Weiser State Park, PA. This park actually consists of many small parcels of land spread out over several counties. The part that I am looking at is a small parcel adjacent to Port Clinton, PA. See attached map. There are prepared sites with a pick nick table and fire ring but you have to first email them the attached permit and wait for them to email back your approval as the sites are all reserved. There are very few sites and they are far apart. This particular section only has 4 sites. While there you are on your own as there is no office or anything like that nearby. It is near Hawk mountain and less than 2 miles to the AT. Also near the Pinancle and pulpit rock vistas.

    I'm heading out this weekend if anyone wants to meet me there. (assuming I can get a permit) Probably Sunday because rain is predicted on Saturday. I'm going to spend 2 or 3 days there camping and day hiking and whatnot.

    Panzer
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Registered User nox's Avatar
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    Permit? i didn't know you needed a permit... I was all over that area last week playing in the rain.. oops!!

  15. #15
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzer1 View Post
    As Shelterbuilder said there is free camping in Weiser State Park, PA. This park actually consists of many small parcels of land spread out over several counties. The part that I am looking at is a small parcel adjacent to Port Clinton, PA. See attached map. There are prepared sites with a pick nick table and fire ring but you have to first email them the attached permit and wait for them to email back your approval as the sites are all reserved. There are very few sites and they are far apart. This particular section only has 4 sites. While there you are on your own as there is no office or anything like that nearby. It is near Hawk mountain and less than 2 miles to the AT. Also near the Pinancle and pulpit rock vistas.

    I'm heading out this weekend if anyone wants to meet me there. (assuming I can get a permit) Probably Sunday because rain is predicted on Saturday. I'm going to spend 2 or 3 days there camping and day hiking and whatnot.

    Panzer
    You are a weath of information and you don't know it but I am going to take my 71 year old dad up there the first chance I get.... Thank you....
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by buz View Post
    I also believe camping along the Laurel Highlands hiking trail is free, they have shelters as well, first come first served. Many parking lots/trail heads to choose from. SW pennsylvania area. Allegheny forest, I would recommend Minister Creek trail area, very scenic, unique glacier left overs along the trail.
    The 70 mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a beautiful. But, the shelters (which are first class) do cost about $3 or $4/pp. The state used to keep split logs as firewood at each shelter site. Not sure if they still do that.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nox2825 View Post
    Permit? i didn't know you needed a permit... I was all over that area last week playing in the rain.. oops!!
    You only need a permit if using a "developed facility". Primitive camping is allowed most everywhere on state forest land with no permit.

    21.61. Camping permit. Camping without a current camping permit issued by the District Forester or a designee is prohibited. Primitive backpack campers not using developed facilities do not need a permit if they stay no more than 1 night at any campsite.

    http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/general.aspx

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bronconite View Post
    You only need a permit if using a "developed facility". Primitive camping is allowed most everywhere on state forest land with no permit.

    21.61. Camping permit. Camping without a current camping permit issued by the District Forester or a designee is prohibited. Primitive backpack campers not using developed facilities do not need a permit if they stay no more than 1 night at any campsite.

    http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/general.aspx
    True, but note from the link quoted earlier:

    the following definition the ranger uses:

    Primitive Camping is defined as overnight camping where all equipment is transported in limited trips by non-motorized vehicle methods and where a motorized vehicle is not located near or part of the camping experience.
    Although there are all too few DCNR Forest Rangers in PA to do things like keep ATV's out, they can and will ticket road camping without a permit upon discovery - which is easy to do, as they drive the roads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
    they can and will ticket road camping without a permit upon discovery
    Yup, i agree. I didn't mean to imply that car camping was legal.

  20. #20
    Registered User Panzer1's Avatar
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    Default Fast and easy

    I emailed them my application and about 10 minutes later they emailed me back my permit. You print out that permit and display it on your vehicle. I got the camp site I requested within about 2 miles or so of the AT. I got from Sunday thru Thursday. That was fast and easy.

    Also, they gave me permision for a camp fire although there is a general ban in effect from Oct 1 thru Dec 1. There is a box checked on my permit that says "camp fire is permitted". I guess because of all the rain lately.

    Panzer

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