Blue Knob state park near Altoona contains the second highest point in Pennsylvania, so if you’re looking for a cool place “up in the mountains” to trail ride your horse, this may be it! Be assured, there aren’t a lot of level spots in the park besides Chappell Fields. There are also only a few trail options for horses.

Trail Map

We’ve just added an online map using Mapbox to show the few horse riding trails at Blue Knob State Park.

Mapbox – Horse trails at Blue Knob

Parking

There are two main areas that work best for horse trailer parking:

  • Forest Road, opposite group camping. Parking area surrounded by large mowed field. Plenty of space. Also known as “Chapelle Fields Trailhead”.
  • Willow Springs Picnic Area. Talk about up on the mountain! There is a wide area along the road where you could park several trailers.

There is also a parking area on Ski Access Road at Mountain View and Three Springs Trails, but it doesn’t look ideal.

Trails

There aren’t a lot of trail options. Basically in the north end you have:

  • Chappell Field trail from parking to Sawmill Trail
  • Sawmill Trail out to Willow Springs picnic area
  • Three Springs Trail

You can make a loop out of these, but they dump you out on Ski Access Road, with a mile-long downhill on asphalt. And it’s pretty steep.

In the southern section you can ride Homestead Trail and another section of Sawmill Trail. The official map shows a loop with Park Road. But the road is now asphalt, and it’s steep. Certainly not the best in wet fall weather. If you ride this section, you may want to treat most of it as out-and-back.

Without too much effort it appears they could build a trail to bypass Ski Access Road and make a decent loop trail. Unfortunately there are numerous complaints online about how the park isn’t well maintained, so what are the chances they would spend anything on better trails for stinky old horses?

Facilities

There are pit restrooms at Willow Springs picnic area.

Chappell Fields is near a camping area which has restrooms and drinking water in season–but the gate was closed in October. I guess they assume nobody would ever want to engage in recreation at other times of the year.

Did not see any other drinking water sources. Maybe at the park office.