January 06, 2024 4 min read

Winter is very unpredictable in Pennsylvania, regardless of what that silly rodent thinks about his shadow. Some seasons we see a week of substantial snowfall, followed by a warming trend that feels like spring, but we know it's too early... or is it? You can take advantage of these winter/spring/winter conditions and enjoy what Mother Nature offers by considering all the things you can do in Moshannon - ski, snowshoe, hike, bike, or just hang out in a sweet cabin for the weekend!

Moshannon State Forest PA 

There are a lot of options out there for winter adventure. One option often overlooked is the cabin rental system at PA State Parks. These cabins get you a private, semi-primitive feel to the winter season at a great price!


Moshannon State Forest PA 

The state park cabins are quite nice, but do beware the available amenities differ at every state park. Parker Dam Sate Park cabins include electricity, a fridge and freezer, and a gas stove. Hot and cold running water is available outside of the cabin in the locked private bathroom, which includes a shower. The cabins are cozy and just the perfect size to eat, sleep, and regroup for future adventures in the forest.

Moshannon State Forest PA

It may seem that the only few things a person really needs on a winter trip is a crockpot, a pile of maps...

Moshannon State Forest PA

...and a whole bunch of gear for playing in the snow (including a cast iron skillet)!

Moshannon State Forest PA

Being an ultralight backpacker has its downsides; our trail guru isn't always the most well prepared car camper to show up at the campground. But he can improvise!

Breakfast Moshannon State Forest PA

With the right ingredients and tools for cooking, a healthy meal can be enjoyed before every outdoor excursion.


Moshannon State Forest PA 

Parker Dam State Park has a few miles of groomed ski trails, and literally more than a hundred miles of back country skiable trails in the surrounding forest. There's even a groomed loop that goes past the cabin area!

Black Moshannon State Park has loads of trails open for skiers, including the ever popular Moss-Hanne Trail. The Rock Run Trail system is only a couple miles from Black Moshannon, and is also extremely popular with nordic skiers. Read more about that system here

Bald Eagle State Park also offers several nordic ski trails as well as an excellent sledding hill!


Snowshoeing Moshannon State Forest PA

Yep, you can do that here too! All of the trails are open to snowshoes; do attempt to stay off of nordic ski tracks if possible.


Allegheny Front Trail Moshannon State Forest PA

Backpacking, including ski touring, bike packing, etc is encouraged all four seasons in Pennsylvania. 

Multiday ski touring trips in Pennsylvania an be difficult, yet very rewarding. There is something special about pulling your camping gear through puffy snow in a sled behind you as you ski. When the snow is wet and somewhat sticky, this tends to be more of a 'type 2' winter activity. No matter, but be sure to bring snowshoes for when they are needed! 


Moshannon State Forest PA

Traditional winter has been changing the last few years... lots of winter days are pretty sweet for climbing adventures.

Moshannon State Forest PA 

...and even if you are not going to rock climb, Panther Rocks near Parker Dam State Park are a really fun site to see just a few miles off of Route 80.


Moshannon State Forest PA

Winter in PA can give us skiable days one week and 50 degree days the next. So yes go ahead and make a reservation for a winter trip, but be sure your bike is in working order just in case you need to swap it with skis last minute. Rockton Mountain Trails system is just a few miles from Parker Dam SP. This system offers a great clover leaf type trail system for moderate riders. The trails are also open to nordic skiing, so you can hit these with or without snow! Learn more here. There are hundreds of miles of gravel roads in Moshannon State Forest, follow our blog regarding gravel riding in this area: Gravel Grinding Adventures at Parker Dam State Park!


Moshannon State Forest PA 

Did we mention hundreds of miles of open gravel/dirt/snow covered forest roads? Do watch for snowmobiles on forest roads with heavy snowpack. Bring your fat bike and enjoy the ride!

Ice Skating

Ice Skating Black Moshannon State Park

Both state parks have skating areas on their frozen lakes. Bring your own skates, or rent skates and enjoy the natural ice!



A dog or other pet who is conditioned and prepared for cold and snow will have a great time visiting Moshannon State Forest. Pet restrictions and regulations vary by state park, so be sure to call ahead regarding this topic.

Get There

Nordic Skiing Moshannon State Forest PA 

We suggest booking a weekend at Parker Dam State Park or Black Moshannon State Park for this winter season. Both of these parks are only a few miles from Interstate 80, so driving conditions are usually okay throughout the winter. After you make reservations you can sit down with your Lizard Maps and make plans for a winter adventure!

Frosty the snowman

Make Your Own Adventure in Moshannon State Forest