Colonel Denning State Park

Quick Facts

Colonel Denning State Park

Pennsylvania

(717) 776-5272

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

William Denning, (1737-1830) American Revolution veteran for whom the park is named, was never a colonel but he is deserving of a place in history for his manufacturing of wrought iron cannons. William Denning served his country as a sergeant from March 1778 to April 1780 in Nathaniel Irish's Company of Artillery Artificers in Benjamin Flower's Regiment. The forge provided armaments for the Continental Army, including cannons. It is at this forge that William Denning made wrought iron cannons in a process of welding gads (strips) of wrought iron in successive layers to produce a cannon lighter and better able to resist failure during firing than cast iron cannons. The park became a state recreational area about 1930, under the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, and was developed formally in 1936 through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp S-111 in Perry County. Colonel Denning State Park, in north central Cumberland County, is in Doubling Gap, so named by the "S" turn where Blue Mountain doubles back on itself. This feature may be seen from the Doubling Gap Vista in adjacent Tuscarora State Forest. Colonel Denning State Park attracts visitors through the extensive trail system for hiking and biking, multi-use lake, and winter sport activities. The park has 273 acres of woodland and a 3.5-acre lake, which makes this park a wonderful destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Map of Colonel Denning (PA)

Latitude, Longitude: 40.281238, -77.417901

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Activities

  • Boating

    Non-motorized canoes and kayaks may be used on Doubling Gap Lake. Boating is prohibited from the opening day of trout season to the Friday before Memorial Day. Boats must be carried in from the adjacent parking lots and launched in the designated launch area located at the west end of the beach.

  • Bicycling

    Please contact the park for information on bike trails.

  • Camping

    The 52-site, tent and trailer campground is open from the opening day of trout season to the day after deer season in December. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, and are near non-flush toilets and a sanitary dump station. Pets are permitted on designated campsites.

  • Fishing

    The 3.5-acre Doubling Gap Lake has trout fishing. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission limits, seasons and regulations apply.

  • Hiking

    The 2.5-mile Flat Rock Trail rises to Flat Rock, a beautiful scenic vista of the Cumberland Valley. The one-mile, self-guiding Doubling Gap Trail is a moderate hike. The Hiking and Nature Trail Guide is available at the park office and has a map and detailed description of the hiking trails in the park and surrounding forest lands. In addition to the 18 miles of hiking trails, the park is a trailhead for the 105-mile Tuscarora Trail.

  • Horseback Riding

    Please contact the park for information on horseback riding.

  • Hunting

    Many acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, squirrel and turkey. Hunting is also permitted on the adjacent Tuscarora State Forest.

  • Picnicking

    This wooded park has over 200 picnic tables and a limited number of charcoal grills. There are two picnic pavilions that may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis. Play equipment is near Picnic Pavilion #1.

  • RVing

    The 52-site, tent and trailer campground is open from the opening day of trout season to the day after deer season in December. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, and are near non-flush toilets and a sanitary dump station. Pets are permitted on designated campsites.

  • Water Sports

    The sand beach is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules for swimming.

  • Winter Sports

    While there is no formal cross-country skiing trail system, skiing is permitted on existing roads and trails and in all areas of the park. Terrain is moderately hilly to mountainous. When ice conditions permit, a one-acre area is maintained and monitored for ice skating on Doubling Gap Lake. Skating is permitted from 8 a.m. until sunset

Directions

Driving

The park is eight miles north of Newville and nine miles south of Landisburg, along PA 233.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(717) 776-5272

Links