They Told Me These 15 State Parks Near Pittsburgh Were Incredible, They Weren’t Wrong

Feel Free To Share:

Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.

Welcome to Pennsylvania’s backyard, where nature thrives and serene landscapes capture hearts. From the heart of Pittsburgh to tranquil hideaways a hundred miles away, we’ve compiled an inspiring list of 15 state parks near Pittsburgh that have left us, and sure will leave you, spellbound with their breathtaking beauty and diverse outdoor activities.

Point State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dave DiCello (@davedicello)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 0 miles.

You don’t need to travel far to get to Point State Park, as it is right in the center of downtown Pittsburgh. Opened in 1974, the park features an iconic fountain and provides a refreshing escape for workers, visitors, and residents looking for a breath of fresh air. The park also serves as a cultural hub, playing host to major city events like the Venture Outdoors Festival, Three Rivers Arts Festival, and Three Rivers Regatta.

Allegheny Islands State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Eyes From The Skies (@eyesfromtheskiespgh)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 15 miles.

Allegheny Islands State Park, a 50-acre unspoiled sanctuary nestled in the Allegheny River, offers a unique outdoor adventure for nature lovers. Accessible only by boat, the park, including two alluvial islands and several shoals, remains largely undeveloped, preserving its rich natural habitat.

Despite the lack of developed trails, intrepid explorers can find footpaths threading through the dense vegetation. With open access for group visits and camping, this park provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience nature’s tranquility amidst the bustling surroundings.

Hillman State Park

Distance from Pittsburgh: 26 miles.

Found in Hanover Township, Washington County, Hillman State Park is a sprawling 3,600-acre sanctuary that lies about 25 miles west of Pittsburgh. Managed for hunting since the early 1980s, the park is part of the greater Raccoon Creek Valley Natural Area, connecting two key watersheds.

Offering more than hunting, Hillman State Park features an array of activities such as hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and mountain biking, along with a rare radio-controlled aircraft field, ensuring a memorable visit for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Raccoon Creek State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Seth Culp-Ressler (@sethcr)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 30 miles.

Experience the unspoiled beauty of Raccoon Creek State Park, a 7,572-acre expanse located in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Situated a mere 30 miles from Pittsburgh, this park provides an ideal retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Here, you can marvel at the park’s rustic architectural style, engage in various activities such as hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing, or enjoy a peaceful day of fishing at the vast Raccoon Lake.

Keystone State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dan Lauffer (@laufferd)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 36 miles.

Covering an expansive 1,200 acres in Derry Township, Westmoreland County, Keystone State Park invites you to engage with nature across the seasons. Two campgrounds cater to all campers’ preferences, while 11 modern cabins offer a comfortable retreat near the picturesque Keystone Lake.

This lake is ideal for canoeing, fishing, and ice fishing, and is home to numerous species of fish. With opportunities for hunting and a beach open for swimming from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Keystone State Park delivers a diverse, engaging outdoor experience.

Moraine State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Marsha McCandless (@marshark73)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 40 miles.

Located in Butler County, Moraine State Park encompasses a vast 16,725-acre landscape, featuring the stunning Lake Arthur at its heart. This park offers an enticing mix of activities, with miles of trails open for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing, and expansive spaces perfect for group camping and picnicking.

The annual Regatta at Lake Arthur showcases the park’s vibrant community spirit. Whether preferring a rustic stay in a shelter along the North Country Trail or a comfortable cabin by the beautiful lake, guests will find accommodation that suits their preference, enhancing their Moraine State Park experience.

McConnells Mill State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Brad Krut (@bradleypphotography412)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 41 miles.

McConnells Mill State Park is a captivating 2,546-acre gem nestled within Perry and Slippery Rock Townships in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Enthusiastic hikers will revel in the park’s trail system, which is part of the North Country Trail, featuring paths leading to a charming limestone kiln and a mesmerizing waterfall.

Thrill-seekers can test their mettle at two climbing/rappelling zones or embark on class II-III whitewater boating ventures, depending on water conditions in Slippery Rock Creek, providing unmatched adrenaline-filled escapes amidst nature’s grandeur.

Ryerson Station State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @photogalb

Distance from Pittsburgh: 60 miles.

Ryerson Station State Park, nestled in Greene County’s Richhill Township, spans 1,164 acres and offers diverse outdoor activities. The park features ample camping facilities with modern amenities, wooden cottages for rent, and more than 275 picnic tables scattered across its grounds.

You can traverse 11 miles of hiking trails through varied habitats, while the winter months bring activities such as sledding, tobogganing, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing. With the richness of its flora and fauna, Ryerson Station State Park presents an ideal getaway for nature enthusiasts.

Laurel Hill State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Laura Noelle Photography (@lauranoellephotography)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 63 miles.

Encompassing 3,935 acres in Somerset County, Laurel Hill State Park is an attractive outdoor destination offering a diverse range of activities. The park boasts three picnic areas, each with unique offerings, from playgrounds and a ballfield to proximity to the beach or boat launch. In the winter months, it provides ample opportunities for snowmobiling, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing.

Laurel Hill State Park’s campground, featuring 262 tent and trailer sites and a beach open from late May until mid-September, ensures visitors can enjoy a comfortable and enjoyable stay in this natural haven.

Yellow Creek State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Adam (@adamrom95)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 67 miles.

Covering an expansive 2,981 acres in Indiana County, Yellow Creek State Park presents a diverse arena for outdoor enthusiasts. The park boasts five miles of hiking trails, each offering a different challenge and natural beauty to encounter.

The main picnic area near the beach provides is a popular spot for family outings or group gatherings. Visitors wishing to extend their stay can choose from the rustic charm of lakeside cottages or the modern comforts of yurts, catering to various preferences.

Ohiopyle State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tom Bush IV (@wvubush)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 70 miles.

Ohiopyle State Park, sprawled over 20,500 acres on the southern edge of Laurel Ridge, is an untamed spectacle of nature’s grandeur. This park serves as a gateway to the Laurel Highlands, cultivating a sense of community through its lush surroundings.

The park’s main attraction, the Youghiogheny River Gorge, offers one of the finest white-water boating experiences on the East Coast. Those seeking tranquillity can indulge in a serene hike on the Ferncliff Peninsula, admire the picturesque Tharp Knob, or camp under the starlit sky at Kentuck Campground.

Maurice K. Goddard State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Photography by Rob Hornaman (@robhornaman)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 75 miles.

Sprawled across 2,856 acres in Mercer County, Maurice K. Goddard State Park is a delightful haven for nature enthusiasts and adventurers. This diverse habitat is home to a wide variety of birds, including majestic eagles and osprey hovering over Lake Wilhelm, a popular warm-water fishing site.

The park offers a diverse range of activities for every season, from angling for bass, perch, muskellunge, and more, to embracing the winter months with ice fishing, ice boating, and snowmobiling, ensuring a dynamic and memorable visit year-round.

Cook Forest State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Brett Matak (@brettmatakrealtor)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 93 miles.

Known for its splendid virgin white pine and hemlock forests, the National Natural Landmark of Cook Forest State Park extends over an impressive 8,500 acres across several Pennsylvania townships. The park offers a tangle of 27 marked trails totaling 29 miles, winding through rolling hills and sitting beside the calm Clarion River.

A unique feature of Cook Forest State Park is the 11.5-mile Bicycle Route, offering both leisurely rides and challenging descents. With opportunities to swim, canoe, and tube in the Clarion River, Cook Forest State Park invites visitors into a sanctuary of vibrant natural beauty and adventure.

Oil Creek State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ty Ryen (@tar157)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 102 miles.

Oil Creek State Park, situated in Venango County, covers an impressive 6,250 acres, offering various activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers. From peaceful picnicking, canoeing, and fishing spots, to challenging backpacking routes and a 36-mile hiking loop, the park embraces guests with diverse interests.

Visitors can also enjoy a bicycle ride along the 9.4-mile paved rail trail or board the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad for a picturesque excursion, making every visit to this park a novel experience.

Canoe Creek State Park


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dawn Smith (@nightowldawn)

Distance from Pittsburgh: 103 miles.

Tucked within Blair County’s Frankstown Township, Canoe Creek State Park is a 911-acre wonder that offers an array of natural experiences. Bursting with year-round activities, the park offers fishing enthusiasts the opportunity to reel in bass, trout, walleye, and more from Canoe Lake.

The eight-mile trail system invites adventurers for hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and mountain biking. With a sand beach, an expansive picnic area with grills, and modern cabins available for rent, this park promises a memorable outdoor escape any time of the year.

Leave a Comment