At The Dyrt, we share camping tips from our community of campers and campgrounds. With so many campers staying home, we continue to share this info so you can plan future camping trips across the U.S.

This article about campgrounds near Altoona, Pennsylvania is brought to you by GCI Outdoor. Their rocking lawn chairs will keep you comfy no matter where you decide to camp.


Situated in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains, Altoona, Pennsylvania is an interesting destination if you enjoy history and gorgeous countrysides. Altoona was founded by the Pennsylvania Railroad and for years it was one of the most important railroad facilities in the country.

Today, visitors to Altoona can learn about the city’s railroad history at the Railroaders Memorial Museum, visit Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark, and enjoy the outdoors in several state parks within an hour’s drive of the city. Here are some of the top-rated spots for setting up camp near Altoona, Pennsylvania.

1. Blue Knob State Park

man mountain biking in forest

Image from The Dyrt camper Travis S.

Blue Knob State Park is a year-round recreation area located thirty minutes southwest of Altoona. The park is named after the Blue Knob, a dome-shaped mountain, which is the second-highest point in the state. There are 18 miles of hiking trails on the mountain leading to numerous scenic overlooks and a ski area on its northern slope. Cabin rentals are available and the campground features electric hookups, a dog walking area, and easy access to hiking trails.





Campground Details:

  • Price: $15-$24
  • Number of sites: 50
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

“Blue Knob State Park might be my favorite place to camp in Western PA. It sits on the flanks of the second highest peak in the state. The hiking here is really spectacular with lots of scenery, overlooks, and side trails that extend many miles out into state forest lands which are adjacent to the park.” ~The Dyrt Camper Brian S.


2. Black Moshannon State Park

pull-behind camper parked at campsite

Image from The Dyrt camper Shirley M.

Black Moshannon State Park conserves the wetlands and forests surrounding Black Moshannon Lake, about 45 miles north of Altoona. The park’s bogs, swamps, and marshlands provide an incredible habitat for migratory birds and nearly 200 species of birds have been sighted here. The park also has an extensive network of hiking and biking trails and the campground has sites with full hookups and cabin rentals available.

Campground Details

Price: $15-$33
Number of sites: 73
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

“Wonderful state park. Spacious sites! Beautiful scenery. Nice hikes for various hiking levels. Quiet and relaxing. Clean shower houses.” ~The Dyrt Camper Shirley M.


3. Prince Gallitzin State Park

tent, car, and table set up at forested campsite

Image from The Dyrt camper Resa B.

Named after a Russian nobleman who became a Catholic missionary and founded the nearby town of Loretto, Prince Gallitzin State Park is home to Glendale Lake, a major boating destination, and a huge campground with 437 campsites. Many sites have hookups and all have access to showers, a swimming beach, and Wi-Fi. Camping cottages are also available and pets are only permitted in certain campsites.

Campground Details

Price: $15-$33
Number of sites: 437
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

“This campground is perfect for people who are looking to get away from busy city life or just want to relax next to a lake. Even though you can’t see the lake from every site you can be there within a 10 minute walk. They have pet friendly sites, bike trails, and you can canoe, kayak, and take boats out on the lake. There are specific swimming areas and you can fish just about anywhere.” ~The Dyrt Camper Courtney K.


4. Cowans Gap State Park

pull-behind camper set up at campsite with chairs around the firepit

Image from The Dyrt camper Jason H.

Cowans Gap was once the western frontier of the original thirteen colonies and a route was built through this gap in the mountains to provide supplies during the French and Indian War. During the Great Depression, an immense reforestation effort began here and Cowans Gap Lake was created by the damming of Little Aughwick Creek. The Cowans Gap State Park campground accommodates all campers from tents to large RVs and hiking, boating, fishing, and hunting are the most popular activities in the park.

Campground Details

Price: $15-$33
Number of sites: 201
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

“Beautiful mountain retreat. Quiet and peaceful! There are many hiking and biking trails and a nice lake for fishing, swimming, and kayaking or canoeing. Swimming beach and adequate facilities.” ~The Dyrt Camper Judy H.


5. Lake Raystown Resort

rv parked lakeside

Image from The Dyrt camper Mary C.

Lake Raystown Resort is a lodge and conference center in the Raystown Lake Recreation Area 35 miles southwest of Altoona. In addition to lakeside villas, camping cabins, and yurt rentals, the resort also has a full-service RV and tent campground loaded with amenities including cable TV and Wi-Fi. The resort also features a lakeside restaurant, pool and waterpark, and several miles of hiking and biking trails.

  • Price: $30-$85
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

“My family has been camping at Raystown since I was a kid. The lake is absolutely gorgeous and offers endless outdoor adventure—hiking, biking, fishing, boating, kayaking, and more. The sites are pretty close together, and it’s usually really packed throughout the summer, but it’s still a beautiful place to camp.” ~The Dyrt Camper Shelby B.


Friendship Village Campground and RV Park

mini gold at friendship village campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Christopher R.

Located 40 miles south of Altoona in Bedford County, Friendship Village Campground and RV Park is a family-friendly campground with over 300 campsites. Big rigs with multiple slideouts are welcome here and you can have your choice of shaded or sunny sites. A variety of hookups are available including cable TV and there’s two pools, a miniature golf course, and several playgrounds to keep kids busy.

Campground Details

  • Price: $35-$63
  • Number of sites: 300+
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

“We really enjoy camping here. Lots of activities and events throughout the camping season. Check out their website for all the amenities.” ~The Dyrt Camper Michele M.


Parker Dam State Park

elk in a field

Image from The Dyrt camper Shirley M.

Parker Dam State Park is a peaceful retreat in the Moshannon State Forest sixty miles north of Altoona. The park was severely damaged by a tornado in 1985 and you can still view the varying habitats caused by the 260 miles per hour winds while hiking through the park. The campground is on the eastern end of Parker Lake and electric hookups are available at most campsites and some even have full hookups.

Campground Details

  • Price: $15-$33
  • Number of sites: 109
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

“Love it here! This is a great State Park. The campground has added many full hookup sites and there are also cabins available also. Nice clean sites. The lake has good trout fishing and the beach area offers a nice place for a relaxing summer retreat.” ~The Dyrt Camper J K.


These seven campgrounds are just a sampling of the campgrounds near Altoona. For more options, check out The Dyrt’s full list of the best camping in Pennsylvania.


This article about Altoona camping was brought to you by GCI Outdoor

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GCI Outdoor’s Pod Rocker enhances any outdoors experience.

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  • Amiee Maxwell

    Amiee Maxwell

    Amiee’s based out of Salt Lake City, but spends as must time as possible living out of her Subaru in the Utah desert with her Australian Shepherd co-pilot, Kangaroo the Dog. She enjoys all-day mountain trail runs, the uphill part of backcountry skiing, and copious amounts of coffee.