Loleta Recreation Campground sits along the east branch of Millstone Creek in the southwestern corner of the Allegheny National Forest, offering a peaceful getaway that is popular with families.
Camping is available in both the primitive upper loop and the more developed lower loop. The Day Use area with picnic tables and grills centers around a Civilian Conservation Corps dam across Millstone Creek, which creates a small swimming/wading area. Fishing the stream is permitted with a legal PA fishing license, but the swimming area is off-limits between Memorial Day and Labor Day. There is a 3-mile hiking trail that starts and ends at the campground, passing a rock outcrop on the edge of the Millstone Valley at its furthest point from the campground.
The lower loop of the campground has spacious campsites that are surrounded by mature trees. The upper loop sites are smaller and tucked into the forest for a more intimate feeling with nature. Each campsite has a parking spur, fire ring, and picnic table. Vault toilets and drinking water are provided in the camping loops while the Day Use area supports the bathhouse with flush toilets, hot showers, and changing rooms.
Loleta is a small opening in the forested hillsides around Millstone Creek. Native tree species in the area include red oak, white pine, black cherry, red and sugar maples, and a variety of others. Millstone Creek is a cold water fishery with a thriving population of native brook trout, and it is also priodically stocked by the Pennsylvania FIsh and Game Commission. Wildlife in the area include whitetail deer, black bear, turkey, raccoon, oppossum, fox, and smaller mammals, birds, and reptiles.
The Buzzard Swamp Hiking Trails, a 9.6-mile network of trails that wind through an area of 15 man-made ponds, make for an enjoyable day trip just north of Loleta, while driving down a dirt road extending south of the campground leads to the beautiful Clarion National Wild and Scenic River. The paved road along the river is popular for bike riding, and the river offers access for canoes, kayaks, and tubes as well as fishing opportunities and large boulders for picnicking or just watching the water roll by. Cook Forest State Park is an easy drive for hiking, marveling at the grove of Old Growth Hemlocks, or climbing an old fire tower for a view of the river.
ADA Access: N
Electric sites available but community water faucets. Vault toilets. Privacy afforded by the forest. Busy on weekends. Some showers but not right in the camping area. Approximately 7 miles to town. Hardware store had Coleman fuel. No internet or smartphone connection at the campsites but a short drive toward town and you get it. I felt like the fees were a bit high but campsites in the northeast always are. I think it was $13 a night with my Senior Pass for an electric site.
Could have done with less rain. Otherwise very satisfied. Camp host very helpful. No internet / phone service but a short drive up the road, I had service. Satellite radio reception was good.
Loleta Recreation campground is a good central location for activities in Allegheny National Forest. This campground has everything you look for in a campground, showers, firewood and ice available for purchase and fire pits located at each site. It looked like most of their campsites had electrical hook-ups, if needed, but we are just tent campers and had one of the few sites without electricity. Vault toilets are located throughout the campground and each site has a campfire ring with a cooking grate attached.
There are two main locations in the campground, the upper campground and the lower campground. The lower campground seemed to be taken up by a majority of trailer camping where as the upper campground was a mix of tents and trailers. There are also a couple of group campsites that looked to hold about 25-50 people. The upper campground entrance has a spot to park just for the day and has a few trails to hike or a spot to swim in the river just above a small dam.
We encountered a few loud patrons at the campground, but it did seem that everyone respected the quiet hours and knew when they were 10pm-6am.
While we did some hiking throughout Allegheny we found a few spots that would have been a little more fitting for us to camp, Ministers Creek has some great first come first serve spots along the creek with a short or long hike in, or even a few reserved spots closer to the main road. Loleta did the job for us especially since we were booked last minute for Memorial Day weekend and we had no real complaints. It did the job for us, but don't expect anything great.