Raystown Lake Region – did you know?

Hawns Overlook at Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania

Hawns Overlook at Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania

  • Raystown Lake is the largest lake entirely within Pennsylvania. Roughly 30 miles south-to-north.
  • Only 4% of the 118 mile shoreline of Raystown Lake is developed
  • You will find more than 135,000 acres of public land in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania
  • Raystown Lake is the only lake within Pennsylvania where you can get a houseboat and live on the water during your vacation
  • There are about 3,000 campsites to choose from in the Raystown Lake Region of Pennsylvania. Plus many other types of accommodations… lots of cabins, B&Bs, etc.
  • The Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake are ranked as some of the top single track mountain bike trails in North America. The new Raystown Mountain Bike Skills Park opened in summer 2016
  • Hundreds of miles of hiking trails are located in the Raystown Lake Region of Pennsylvania – including the PA Trail of the Year: the Standing Stone Trail with its unique Thousand Steps section up Jacks Mountain
  • Raystown Lake is the Freshwater Striped Bass Capitol of the Northeast United States. The current Pennsylvania record for a freshwater striped bass is 53 pounds 12 ounces – caught at Raystown Lake
  • Raystown Lake’s water flows from south to north. The shallow part of our lake is actually at the southern end and might be 12 feet deep. At the northern end, depths reach close to 200 feet at Raystown dam
  • Caves to tour, Pennsylvania State Parks, rails-to-trails, museums, shops, diners and more
  • Huntingdon, PA is a stop on the Amtrak Pennsylvanian line
  • Easily accessible from many major metro areas: http://bit.ly/FindRaystownPA

 

 

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Raystown Lake Region of Pennsylvania – eagle’s eye view

A #Raystown sunset viewed from the fishing pier at Aitch boat launch.

A #Raystown sunset viewed from the fishing pier at Aitch boat launch.

The Raystown Lake Region of Pennsylvania has opportunities aplenty to breathe in the fresh air, walk through the forest or enjoy the unspoiled shoreline scenery of Raystown Lake. So bring your boots, kayak, mountain bike and fishing pole to really get the most out of your time in Huntingdon County. You will find many spots to relax and unwind that are free to access like Raystown Lake, Trough Creek State Park, Greenwood Furnace State Park and Whipple Dam State Park, the Juniata College Peace Chapel, Terrace Mountain Trail, Standing Stone Trail, the Allegrippis Trails, the Raystown Mountain Bike Skills Park and the Seven Points Recreation Area. There are two public beaches at Raystown Lake. Other options include kicking back on a Raystown Lake boat tour, delving into the natural wonders of Huntingdon County underground on a cave tour or discovering one of our local museums filled with living history and local lore, hooking up with a guide for a fishing trip and exciting dirt track races at Hesston Speedway. Accommodations include hotels, vacation homes, cabins, lodges and…Raystown Lake is the only lake within Pennsylvania where you can get a houseboat and live on the water during your vacation! You can always contact the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau (HCVB) office either prior to or during your “Raycation” for more information: (888) 729-7869, info@raystown.org or online at http://www.Raystown.org.

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January Art Walk Huntingdon to Offer Free Shuttle Service

The Art Walk Huntingdon committee is thrilled to announce a community partnership that will offer free shuttle service around Art Walk venues during the January and February events. Maidens Taxi Se…

Source: January Art Walk Huntingdon to Offer Free Shuttle Service

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Downtown Opportunity Showcase

On April 23, 2016, the Downtown Opportunity Committee of Huntingdon Landmarks, Inc. will hold its Downtown Opportunity Showcase. It is free and open to the public. The day kicks off at the Huntingd…

Source: Downtown Opportunity Showcase

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Trailing the big catch…

One of the Greatest Fishing Experiences in the Northeast:
Bass, muskies, walleye, trout & channel cats
By Sandie Corbin Biddle

SparkyPrice_IMG_0030wwwCPSparky Price has been fishing Raystown waters since he was a boy, knee-high to the champion stripers he’s landed during his career. Owner of Trophy Guide Service for 35 years, Sparky has been asked every question about the lake and its fish hundreds of times. Maybe thousands. He’s lost count. And he knows all the answers.

Recently he pulled out with a boatload of fishermen from Philly and after puttering a few feet into the lake, stopped, reversed, slowed, and, looking very serious, said, “Let’s get this out of the way first.” After an expectant pause, he continued with a smile, “Raystown Lake is the largest lake contained in Pennsylvania. It’s about 30 miles long with 118 miles of shoreline. It’s an average of 100 feet deep, 180 in some places. And the stripers are not the hybrids, they’re the real saltwater species that adapted to fresh water. Now, did I answer all your questions?

They smiled and one man said with a laugh, “That was everything on my list!”

“Then let’s go fishin’,” Sparky said. It was another great day on Raystown Lake.

Easily one of the greatest fishing experiences in the northeast, the lake has more species of fish than most U.S. lakes, including stripers, muskies, lake trout, large- and small-mouth bass, channel cats, walleyes, brown trout, white and yellow perch, crappies, carp, bluegills, and, well, you get the idea.

Sparky still holds the PA record for a striper at 53 lb. 12 oz. Call them stripers, striped bass, or rockfish, they are Raystown’s biggest fishing attraction. Though you’ll find them in other PA lakes, all the state records were caught here. Sparky’s set four state records himself.
Stripers from March to December

Lucky for us, Sparky decided to lend plenty of his wisdom for this article. Read on for a fighting chance at landing your own big ones at Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania.

Stripers can be caught from March through December by targeting your approach.

Early spring casting lures on the shallow flats on the southern end of the lake will produce the year’s first stripers.

By mid-May, the entire lake is active. Live bait such as alwife, shad, trout, and shiners are the baits of choice.

Late May through the summer months, the Seven Points area and north to the dam is the area to fish for stripers.

The easiest place to catch bait is in the Snyder’s Run Boat Launch area, from 3 a.m. until daylight. Sparky says you’ll need a light, a throw net, and a good bait tank.

In the summer, beginners will do best around the dam and mile marker #1.For serious striper fishing, go out on summer nights for the 30- to 50-pounders. This takes down riggers, a vast variety of lures, and an extreme knowledge of the lake, because of all the underwater standing trees.

Muskies & Walleyes & Trout, oh, boy!

Huge stripers, 40-pound muskies, and walleyes over 15 pounds are caught at night every summer.

“The fall is always exciting, from mid-September until Thanksgiving,” Sparky said. “Anything can happen anywhere.” Now it’s all daylight fishing. Bait fishing, trolling deep diving lures, or umbrella rigs will all work.

Sparky’s TGS clients have caught huge muskies more than 50 inches and 40+ pounds – at night in the summer or daytime on the fall. The big ones are caught by trolling. Sparky said, “Fall can be intense!”

Lake trout can be caught all year from Seven Points Marina to the dam. Both downrigger fishing with spoons or bait fishing work well.

The large- and small-mouth bass are Raystown’s structure-oriented fish. Trees, weed beds, and rocky points are all favorable targets. The entire lake is good bass fishing, but the southern half offers easier fishing because of water clarity. Early morning and evening fishing with surface-style bait will work. During the day, he recommends deeper in the underwater weeds and trees.

Panfish and channel cats hang out all through the lake. Mile marker #12 to the southern end of the lake seems to be much easier to fish for these. “To catch a lot of catties, use cut bait and stink baits,” Sparky advises.

The most commonly stocked fish are stripers, lake trout, and walleyes. Along with panfish and catties, they’re all good eating. The bass should be released to replenish the lake for future fishermen.

Quit wishin’ & let’s go fishin’

Raystown hasn’t hosted any large national striper tournaments since the conclusion of the National Striper organization. However, if you like competition fishing, there are a number of local clubs that hold tournaments. Sparky notes that most of the pros and full-time striper guys don’t sign up so everyone “gets a fair chance to compete and have fun.”

Sparky believes that Raystown is one of the best fisheries in the U.S. “But it can also be very humbling!

“I want everyone to enjoy Raystown as I have all my life. May God bless all your visits to beautiful Raystown Lake.”

Sparky Price is owner of Trophy Guide Service, 814-627-5231, http://www.trophyguide.com

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Terrace Mountain Trail views

The view from the Terrace Mountain Trail at Raystown Lake. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The view from the Terrace Mountain Trail at Raystown Lake. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The crisp fall day was beautiful and just perfect for a short hike. It was my first time on this section of the Terrace Mountain Trail — and I was glad that Raystown Park Ranger Gwinn had suggested this part of the trail. Our destination was the overlook directly across from Raystown Lake navigation marker MM7.

Our adventure began with a short boat shuttle from Seven Points to the area near lake navigation marker MM8. (At mile 19 of the Terrace Mountain Trail – TMT19.)

The Terrace Mountain Trail is well-maintained and defined. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The Terrace Mountain Trail is well-maintained and defined. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The trail was well-maintained and defined as we left the shoreline and moved upwards towards the TMT20 overlook. The trail follows the contour of the land well — so the ups and downs that are unavoidable on trails in Pennsylvania did not seem so bad. You go up a ways and then switch back to keep climbing on the “bowl” of each hollow. Not so bad. I was hiking with a small group of friends. Our spirits were high and laughter rang through the trees often as we chatted and walked.

We walked about 1 mile in from the shoreline. The overlook was everything that had been promised — a rocky outcropping and open space that gave us nice views to the south of Raystown Lake and across the lake to Susquehannock Campground.

The view from an overlook on Terrace Mountain Trail. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The view from an overlook on Terrace Mountain Trail. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The Terrace Mountain Trail is maintained by volunteer efforts on public lands. I have done trail work and appreciated how clear that the trail was that day. We tried to do our part by moving a few small fallen branches along the way. If you are interested in volunteering at Raystown Lake in any capacity — please get in touch with Park Ranger Alicia Palmer at (814) 658-6812. We will all appreciate your efforts.

— Ed Stoddard, Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, Raystown.org

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Candy Lake game takes over the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center!

1000х1000The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau and Raystown Reflections Gift Shoppe invite you to imagine a world where all of your surroundings are made of candy, cookies and other treats. For the week of December 7-13, 2015, the Raystown Lake Region Visitor Center has been transformed into Candy Lake.

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Inspired by a popular childhood board game, Candy Lake is an imaginary lake featuring islands where the landscape and structures are made of sweet treats. Visitors to Candy Lake follow a colorful path to visit each island display. The islands have been designed by area businesses and organizations along a candy theme. Attendees can choose to play the life-sized game, or simply stroll through the displays on their own.

At the end, guests are invited to make a free-will donation to vote for their favorite island. Each organization and business presenting an island has chosen a charity that will benefit from the cash votes, and at the end of the week, the Raystown Reflections Gift Shoppe will match the public contributions to the charity that receives the most.

The first 100 children aged 12 and under will receive a stocking and a small toy courtesy of the Raystown Reflections Gift Shoppe and Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau.

#PAHolidays

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You can see more photos at:
Candy Lake event at the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center

Participating businesses and organizations include: Rockhill Trolley Museum, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Huntingdon County, Fairfield Inn and Suites benefiting Habitat for Humanity, Juniata College, Thompson’s Candle Co. benefitting Huntingdon House, Perma-Chink benefiting Habitat for Humanity, Gage Mansion Bed & Breakfast benefiting Huntingdon Landmarks, Standing Stone Coffee Company benefiting St Vincent de Paul and Isett Heritage Museum benefiting Huntingdon House.

December 7-13, 2015
Monday 8am-2pm, Tuesday-Wednesday 8am-4pm, Thursday-Saturday noon-8pm, Sunday noon-4pm

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Hiking in Huntingdon

Hiking on the Flagpole Hill trails in Huntingdon, PA

Hiking on the Flagpole Hill trails in Huntingdon, PA

One of the things that makes Huntingdon one of the Coolest Small Towns in America is the fact that you don’t have to leave town to experience wilderness. One of the coolest things about Huntingdon’s wilderness is how easy it is to find and access. All you need to do is look from nearly anywhere in town (or within a couple of miles of town) for the giant American flag flying on a hilltop, and go there! The appropriately named Flagpole Hill and its trail system connects the enormous symbol of our nation with another cool landmark at the Juniata College Baker Evans Peace Chapel.

FlagpoleHillTrails_ecsDSC_2779wwwThe day we hiked the Flagpole Hill Trails was an early November day that you might call “seasonable” for central Pennsylvania – temperatures in the low 50s, overcast and windy on the exposed hilltop. The leaves were nearly all removed from the tree limbs, opening up views that are not available in the summer, but also making the trail extremely noisy as our steps kicked through the 3-4 inch deep leaf litter.

Bring the map that is online and watch for the trail markers to help guide you

Bring the map that is online and watch for the trail markers to help guide you

We set off to hike the closest loop to the flagpole consisting of Cemetery, Beech Tree and Oak trails. After making good time through the first leg, we added Bearcat to our hike, and still made it back to the cars within a little more than an hour. For their location the trails are surprisingly flat, largely following the contours of the hill rather than climbing or descending.

As we returned to the vehicles we took in the view of Huntingdon, and all agreed it had been a good afternoon for a hike.

Photo by Matt Price

The view of Huntingdon from Flagpole Hill.

The view of Fairgrounds Road from the Flagpole Hill Trail (at the flagpole)

The view of Fairgrounds Road from the Flagpole Hill Trail (at the flagpole)

There are three parking areas to access the Flagpole Hill Trails.  The one we used is the main trail head located at the north end of 5th Street, another can be found at the far northern corner of Riverview Cemetery (accessed from Standing Stone Avenue) at the intersection of Cemetery and Beech Tree trails.  The other popular trail head for the network is from Peace Chapel Road near the Juniata College campus.  Maps are usually available at the 5th Street and Peace Chapel Road trail heads, or at the Huntingdon Borough building on Washington Street.

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Touring the Raystown Lake Region by helicopter

Seven Points Recreation Area at Raystown Lake as viewed from Pine Bottom Aviation helicopter tour. Photo by Michelle McCall, Raystown.org

Seven Points Recreation Area at Raystown Lake as viewed from Pine Bottom Aviation helicopter tour. Photo by Michelle McCall, Raystown.org

I was filled with excitement as I watched the helicopter land. I climbed aboard and adrenaline began pumping through my veins and then…suddenly…we were off the ground! As we rose higher and higher into the sky, I couldn’t help but enjoy the feeling of freedom and awe of the miraculous beauty below. For the first time in my life, I was able to see Raystown Lake just the way the bald eagles which inhabit the area do. What a view!

As we flew, I became speechless taking in all that mother-nature had to offer me on that bright and sunny autumn day. Our 30 minute tour provided by pilot and owner of Pine Bottom Aviation Services, Dan Lipko, showed us many unique features of the Raystown Lake area. We saw Trough Creek State Park, Seven Points Marina, and Lake Raystown Resort to name a few. The leaves on the trees were so magnificent and I felt blessed to be in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania!

Pine Bottom Aviation Services offers aerial tours of the Raystown Lake area in a unique and memorable way. Flights may accommodate up to 3 passengers depending on weights. Pilot and owner, Dan Lipko, has 20+ years’ experience as a helicopter pilot. He is very knowledgeable of the area and offers a fantastic experience you will never forget! For more information on Pine Bottom Aviation Services visit PineBottomAviation.com. For pricing or to book your tour, contact Dan at (814) 793-4548 or dan@pinebottomaviation.com.

–Katrina Hawn, Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, Raystown.org

Seven Points Marina and the Seven Points Recreation Area at Raystown Lake, PA. Photo by Matt Price, Raystown.org

Seven Points Marina and the Seven Points Recreation Area at Raystown Lake, PA. Photo by Matt Price, Raystown.org

Pine Shelter and the Seven Points Recreation Area at Raystown Lake, PA. Photo by Matt Price, Raystown.org

Pine Shelter and the Seven Points Recreation Area at Raystown Lake, PA. Photo by Matt Price, Raystown.org

Lake Raystown Resort - An RVC Outdoor Destination. Photo by Matt Price, Raystown.org

Lake Raystown Resort – An RVC Outdoor Destination. Photo by Matt Price, Raystown.org

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Hillside Nature Trail at the Raystown Lake Region Visitor Center

An early morning misty view from the Hillside Nature Trail at the Seven Points Recreation Area, Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

An early morning misty view from the Hillside Nature Trail at the Seven Points Recreation Area, Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky the day I ventured on to the Hillside Nature Trail. The half mile loop was all I needed to clear my thoughts and give me a sense of total escape. As I walked, I witnessed chipmunks scampering across the forest floor, birds singing in the trees, and butterflies fluttering from one flower to the next. The sights I had seen and the small upward grade of the trail was very recipe I needed to feel refreshed and renewed.

The Hillside Nature Trail is a short walk for those who are looking to get out in to nature but want something a little less difficult and rugged. The neatly trimmed path offers stress free walking from overgrown vines, large rocks, and fallen trees. The trail meanders through forest and a bird sanctuary.

The Hillside Nature Trail is located just behind the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center in the Seven Points Recreation Area of Raystown Lake. Maps of the Hillside Nature Trail can be found inside the lake’s visitor center.

Here is the link for the Hillside Nature Trail at Raystown Lake on the USACE website:
http://bit.ly/HillsideNatureTrailRaystown

— Katrina

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