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Panzer1
10-19-2009, 15:01
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

ki0eh
10-19-2009, 15:30
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.

Toolshed
10-19-2009, 19:13
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!!!

ki0eh
10-19-2009, 19:23
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. :D

PAHiker
10-19-2009, 19:41
...either with a State Forest issued permit, or until the DCNR Forest Ranger shows up. :D


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

shelterbuilder
10-19-2009, 20:06
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!":D

buz
10-20-2009, 09:09
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.

faarside
10-20-2009, 09:24
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!

The Solemates
10-20-2009, 12:33
you can camp on any Natl Forest land for free. thats our right as taxpayers. we do this all the time when travelling.

peakbagger
10-20-2009, 16:07
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.

mudhead
10-20-2009, 17:34
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.

Jester2000
10-20-2009, 17:51
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.

Panzer1
10-21-2009, 20:12
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

nox
10-22-2009, 00:03
Permit? i didn't know you needed a permit... I was all over that area last week playing in the rain.. oops!!

Wise Old Owl
10-22-2009, 02:26
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....:banana

Jeff
10-22-2009, 07:15
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.

bronconite
10-22-2009, 10:38
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

ki0eh
10-22-2009, 10:55
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:


http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/camping/index.aspx (http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/camping/index.aspx)


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.

bronconite
10-22-2009, 12:11
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.

Panzer1
10-22-2009, 12:12
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

mudhead
10-22-2009, 12:19
Have fun. Free is indeed good. Hope the weather is decent.:)

shelterbuilder
10-22-2009, 21:11
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

Good for you!

I'm planning on getting out this weekend myself - on the AT in the rain for Saturday/Sunday - but not near the Pinnacle, so I guess that we won't be bumping into each other. Have fun.

saimyoji
10-22-2009, 21:47
there are some sweet spots along the rattling run creek, but they're not motorized...

Panzer1
10-29-2009, 20:45
7248The Port clinton track of the Weiser State Forest has 4 personal camp sites and a one group campsite. I was the only camper there this week. The sites are about a quarter to a half mile or more apart. Its a pretty remote area. Site #4 I thought was the best located. All the sites had new 8 foot long picnic tables and fire rings. My fire ring still had the original black paint on it until I lit my campfire. The sites themselves are leveled and covered with fine gravel. Site #4 is large enough for 2 or 3 small tents. The other sites were a little bigger.

There was plenty of fire wood in the area and I was able to gather enough for 2 days in about 15 minutes or so.

There is state game lands nearby so there will be hunters going up and down the road. And judging by the road traffic I think there may be some "parking" going on at the far end of the gravel road by the fire tower. In 4 days I saw the ranger or whoever he was drive by once and wave to me but didn't stop.

The gravel road is well maintained but very steep in some parts so I would not recommend it if there is snow or ice on the road.

Panzer

shelterbuilder
10-29-2009, 20:51
7248The Port clinton track of the Weiser State Forest has 4 personal camp sites and a one group campsite. I was the only camper there this week. The sites are about a quarter to a half mile or more apart. Its a pretty remote area. Site #4 I thought was the best located. All the sites had new 8 foot long picnic tables and fire rings. My fire ring still had the original black paint on it until I lit my campfire. The sites themselves are leveled and covered with fine gravel. Site #4 is large enough for 2 or 3 small tents. The other sites were a little bigger.

There is state game lands nearby so there will be hunters going up and down the road. And judging by the road traffic I think there may be some "parking" going on at the far end of the gravel road by the fire tower. In 4 days I saw the ranger or whoever he was drive by once and wave to me but didn't stop.

The gravel road is well maintained but very steep in some parts so I would not recommend it if there is snow or ice on the road.

Panzer

Uh, yeah, in the wintertime, after one or two snowstorms (or an ice storm), that road is impassable...it goes up the north slope and doesn't get much sun. I'm curious: are these sites to the left or the right when you come to the "T" intersection at the top?

Panzer1
10-29-2009, 21:04
I'm curious: are these sites to the left or the right when you come to the "T" intersection at the top?

They are on the Right side of the gravel road.

Panzer

Panzer1
10-29-2009, 21:05
Why pay for camping in a crowed state park when you can camp here for free. They are nice camp sites close (2 miles) to the AT.

panzer

Wise Old Owl
10-29-2009, 21:09
Why pay for camping in a crowed state park when you can camp here for free. They are nice camp sites close (2 miles) to the AT.

panzer

Answer - What is Electricity & clean SHOWERS. I will take $200 for camping Alex...

http://tv.popcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/jeopardy-alex-trebek.jpg

Panzer1
10-29-2009, 21:17
Well I wasn't able to take a shower but I did wash up with a bucket of heated water every day. I felt like I was keeping clean enough for a 4 day trip.

Panzer

Wise Old Owl
10-29-2009, 21:19
:DThat's ok I too stayed at a Holiday Inn once......:D

I now perform tricks for Barnum & Baily's...

shelterbuilder
10-29-2009, 21:22
Well I wasn't able to take a shower but I did wash up with a bucket of heated water every day. I felt like I was keeping clean enough for a 4 day trip.

Panzer

You'll have to spend some of your hard-earned money to buy one of those propane-powered hot shower units! :D:D:D

Wise Old Owl
10-29-2009, 21:25
that or a five gallon cold bucket & irish spring....oooohhhh! chilly!

Panzer1
10-30-2009, 13:50
that or a five gallon cold bucket & irish spring....oooohhhh! chilly!

Sorry, I'm too wimpy to wash with cold water.
Panzer;)

Wise Old Owl
10-30-2009, 15:35
I havent tried it but I just picked up a solar shower at EMS... I hear some of us are using alcohol stoves to dump two hot cups into the bag and shake....

wilSwim
11-11-2009, 23:40
Based on your report...I have decided to camp up at the same place you went Panzer. I am wondering what the pinnacle trail is like. My hiking partner and I are relatively new to backpacking are the trails near there friendly to newbies and what the AT is like near the Wieser State Forest. Thanks.