Moshannon State Forest derives its name from “Moss-hanne,” or “moose stream,” the Native-American description of the waterway that runs through the area. The forest totals 190,031 acres on the Allegheny Plateau.
Small tracts of the forest are found in Cameron and Clinton counties; however, most of the forest land lies in:
Moshannon State Forest boasts an extensive 244-mile hiking trail system. Shorter local trails are mapped on the Moshannon State Forest Public Use Map.
Mountain bikes may be used on all the roads and most of the trails in Moshannon State Forest. Trails and other areas closed to mountain biking include the natural areas, the Quehanna Trail System and portions of the Allegheny Front Trail. Contact the district office to get more information about what trails or areas are open to mountain biking. Degree of difficulty varies considerably.
Horses may be ridden on all the state forest roads and trails except the Quehanna Trail and the Allegheny Front Trail. Horseback riding is not permitted in natural areas. The Reservoir Road Equestrian Camping Area provides an opportune jumping off point to enjoy over 10 miles of scenic equestrian trails in the Three Runs Region of both Moshannon and Elk State Forests. Horses may be ridden on all the state forest roads and appropriately signed usage of other trails except the Quehanna Trail. The Benner Run Road Camping area also offers some great opportunities for equestrians.
Cold and warm water fishing are available during the appropriate season in several creeks that wind through Moshannon State Forest such as Mix Run, Medix Run, Six-Mile Run, Mosquito Creek, Laurel Run, and Black Moshannon Creek. Two shallow water impoundments offer warm water fishing and an opportunity to view migrating waterfowl. The nearby West Branch of the Susquehanna River offers some excellent canoeing opportunities as well.
Hunting for deer, turkey, grouse, rabbits, and black bear is a popular use of the forest during designated seasons. Other than a few safety zones around buildings, hunting is permitted throughout the state forest.
Primitive backpack camping is allowed throughout the entire forest. Primitive backpack campers do not need a permit if they stay no more than one night at any campsite. Motorized and tent camping is permitted at many designated sites. Camping permits are required for these sites. Further information and maps are available from the district office.
The District offers the Hoover Farm wildlife viewing site as well as the Beaver Run Viewing site. These sites provide an opportunity to see white-tailed deer, an enormous variety of song birds, eastern wild turkey, predatory birds, foxes, coyotes and possibly an occasional elk, along with many other species of mammals, reptiles, insects, flowers and grasses. Moshannon has more than 200 miles of forest gravel roads. About half of the roads are limestone surfaced and the rest are of native soil materials. Scenic driving to view spring green up, summer mountain laurel blooms and autumn color is a favorite recreational pursuit. The keen observer may note some subtle vistas overlooking Mosquito Creek and other stream valleys draining the Allegheny Plateau.
Moshannon State Forest provides a 208-mile integrated system of designated state forest roads and specially constructed and groomed snowmobile trails. During winter months, these trails and roads are sometimes inaccessible by conventional vehicles. Maps of the trails are available from the district office.
Moshannon State Forest offers 56 miles of cross-country skiing on three separate trail systems.