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Looking down from the second highest mountain in Pennsylvania

Blue Knob State Park

Blue Knob State Park is located in the northwest corner of Bedford County, Pennsylvania. The 6,128 acre park is popular year-round as it boasts trails from hiking and biking to cross-country skiing and snow mobiles. 

The higher elevation of the park can cause air temperatures to be several degrees cooler than the surrounding cities so plan and dress accordingly. The annual snowfall in the area averages about 12 feet.

One of the unique features of the park is the solitude it provides the visitor. There are many opportunities to enjoy the quiet and refreshing serenity of the mountains and streams.

Blue Knob State Park is named for its majestic dome-shaped mountain. At 3,146 feet above sea level, Blue Knob is the second highest mountain in Pennsylvania, only 67 feet shorter than Mount Davis in Somerset County.

Situated on a spur of the Allegheny Front and overlooking the scenic Ridge and Valley Province to the east, Blue Knob has spectacular views. Unique photographic opportunities are available during low humidity weather and with changes of season.

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Image Credit: Jon Dawson / Flickr

History

The first settlers to Blue Knob arrived soon after the American Revolution. These Pennsylvania Germans moved from eastern Pennsylvania to clear and farm land near the fledgling town of Pavia.

In the late 1800s, logging companies based out of South Fork, clear-cut the forests of hemlock. The lumber was hauled away on steam railroads that snaked up the steep hillsides. The lumber companies closed from November to March because the railroad could not operate in the severe winter weather.

One railroad followed Bobs Creek and needed six switchbacks to descend the rugged grade. A State Game Lands 26 service road now follows this old railroad grade.

Another steam railroad followed Wallacks Branch through five switchbacks. Lost Turkey Hiking Trail follows this old railroad grade.

In 1935, the National Park Service created the Blue Knob National Recreation Demonstration Area to provide recreation to the people of Altoona and Johnstown. 

On September 26, 1945, the National Park Service transferred Blue Knob to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and it became Blue Knob State Park.

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Last updated: September 24, 2020
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