Rothrock State Forest covers a vast area and has lots of trails to ride horses. One of the more popular areas is the forest around Trough Creek state park. This is southern Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, near Raystown Lake. The area has one trail in the park and about 20 miles of designated horse trails in surrounding forest. Quite a few quiet dirt and gravel roads are also suitable for horseback riding or horse driving.

Note that part of this area is referred to as “The Barrens” so some of it is a bit like Quehanna wild area: pretty high, pretty rugged, somewhat barren wilderness. Some of the hollows are a nice mix of pines and deciduous trees. The terrain is quite rugged and rocky in places. Overall it is a pretty area, and you aren’t likely to run into any crowds outside of the core of the park in summer.


Waymarked Trails gives a good overview of horse riding trails near Trough Creek state park.

Waymarked Trails: Horse Riding Trough Creek

You can also pick up a printed Recreational Trails Map for “Trough Creek Division” at the park office, or download it from the Rothrock State Forest webpage:

Rothrock State Forest: Trough Creek Division trails map

General Layout

Trough Creek state park along the creek is very cramped and NOT a place to take a horse trailer. Terrace Mountain road climbing from the creek is quite steep and very narrow, with large drop offs. Avoid the area along Trough creek between the park office and the Ice Mine. The park itself only has Nicholas Crum trail open to horse riding.

If you’re there to ride horses, you probably want to start in the state forest, either parking at Paradise Furnace (designated horse trailer parking area near the park office) or one of the small and less-formal parking spots scattered east and north of Paradise Furnace through the state forest.

Road Conditions

Be aware that the area is steep and rugged. Roads tend to be winding, hilly, and sometimes barely wide enough for traffic to pass. A few roads we were on are dirt and one lane, some have a lot of loose gravel. If you go there in a horse trailer, don’t be in a hurry and allow plenty of travel time! You are not getting anywhere fast on these roads. We suggest you plan on making a day of it, take a picnic, take your time, and enjoy a day at a slower pace.

Note that Coder road at the Fink road end is dirt, quite narrow, pretty rough. Fink road between Coder and John Bum is also narrow and rough.

Water Crossings

Waymarked Trails shows a number of water crossings (fords) on the trails in the area if you zoom in all the way.

We don’t yet have any information on how big/deep these crossings are, or whether any of them have bridges!

Trail Notes

Loop Trails

We haven’t ridden around Trough Creek yet, we’ve scouted out the area by car and mapped out a few loop trails for horse riding.

Over There – Fink road – Horsefly

Our shortest loop trail for horse riding is 3.5 miles, with a stretch on Fink road. There are several spots outside Camp Site #8 where you can park, and several along Fink Road.

Live map

Kendig – Pipeline – Down Under – Tar Kiln road – Over There

4.3 mile loop around #8 camp site, with a bit on Tar Kiln road. There are several spots outside Camp Site #8 where you can park.

Live map

Over There – Coder Rd – Fink Rd – Horsefly

4.8 mile loop around #8 camp site. Might be easier to ride clockwise rather than as we’ve shown, due to long climb. There are several spots outside Camp Site #8 where you can park, and several along Fink Road and Coder Road.

Live map

Horse Camping

Rothrock State Forest motorized camp site #8 on Tar Kiln road is recommended for camping with horses and is located to have access to a number of trails. Reservations are required, and made through the Pennsylvania park reservation website (not through the local park office).

Really the only provision to make it “suitable for horses” is a couple tie-line poles and a hitching rail. There are no toilets or water. There are two picnic tables and a fire pit. Nothing quite like Pennsylvania comforts!

There is a small amount of parking for horse trailers along Tar Kiln Road near the camp site, giving day-use access to trails in that area.

Horse Trailer Parking

Parking symbol Horse trailer parking Paradise Furnace Parking

The park has designated horse trailer parking next to the iron furnace (Paradise furnace) on Trough Creek Drive near the park office. This is the head of Nicholas Crum trail. Unfortunately Crum trail doesn’t really go anywhere, it just climbs up the mountain a few miles and dumps you on John Bum road, without connecting directly with other trails. You could fit a number of trailers in this area except on a very busy day.

Less formal parking areas are scattered to the east and north of Paradise furnace. These will generally take 1-2 small trailers, or maybe 1 large trailer. Some are shown on the forest map and some are not. There really aren’t any lots (besides Paradise Furnace) that would take more than 3 trailers of any size. See descriptions below.

It would really be nice if the state forest could create at least 1 or 2 formalized trailer parking areas. Nothing fancy, but just big enough to fit into!

Remote Parking Areas

Horse trailer parking Terrace Mountain Road at Horse Knob Fire Trail Parking

At Terrace Mountain road and the west end of Horse Knob Fire Trail there is a small lot which could hold 2-3 trailers. As discussed elsewhere, Terrace Mountain road is not suitable for trailers west of here (down to Trough Creek). If you want to park here, get on Terrace Mountain road via John Bum road!

Parking symbol Horse trailer parking John Bum Road and Fink Road Parking

There is a small gravel lot at John Bum and Fink roads, at the access point to Terrace Trail. It’s big enough for 1-2 trailers, but at busy times it may be filled with cars for hikers and bikers.

Parking symbol Horse trailer parking Camp Site 8 / Tar Kiln Road Parking

There is a small parking area outside camp site #8 on Tar Kiln road, near Kendig Road (trail) and Over There trail. It’s barely big enough for two small trailers. There are pull-off areas nearby where you could squeeze another couple small trailers.

Horse trailer parking Fink Road at Horsefly Trail Parking

There is a small parking area on Fink road at Horsefly trail. You don’t have to worry about blocking a gate here, because there isn’t one! There is another single pull-off spot nearby.

Parking symbol Horse trailer parking Coder Road and Over There Trail Parking

There is a parking area for 2 or 3 small trailers at Coder road and Over There trail. Note that Coder road is pretty narrow, dirt/mud, and not at all smooth. If you are going there, you may want to come in from the Cassville end (Route 829) rather than Fink road, as the road is better that way.

Parking symbol Horse trailer parking Cassville Road and Down Under Trail Parking

There is a small parking area for 1-2 trailers where Cassville road meets Down Under trail. A number of nearby pull-offs and wide shoulders to the road allow a few small trailers to park nearby.

Parking symbol indicates parking areas marked on the Rothrock State Forest “recreational trails” map available from the park office or online.


A nice picnic pavilion and restrooms are in the park at Paradise Furnace, across from designated horse trailer parking area on Trough Creek Drive. This area has easy access to Trough creek and substantial areas for grazing, picnicking, and just chilling with your horses.

Unfortunately this parking area only gives direct access to Nicholas Crum trail in the park. You could also ride on road past the park office and access Old Forge Road (a gated road). Or ride from one of the remote lots in surrounding state forest first, then come here to picnic and go wading in the state park.

There are no other restrooms easy to access when driving a horse trailer. The park office does not have public restrooms.

There is a trailer dump station adjacent to the park office which does have a water hydrant. It is not safe drinking water, but you probably could use it to hose your horse off if there aren’t a bunch of people waiting with RVs.


The area is pretty remote. Figure on bringing drinking water and food. Come prepared!

There is one store about 7 miles west of the park at routes 994 and 26. They have fuel, a few pre-made sandwiches, and restrooms. Hours are somewhat limited outside of peak summer season. It may be a madhouse during peak summer season due to the Raystown Lake boating and fishing crowds!