Forbes State Forest was named for Gen. John Forbes, commander of the British expedition against the French and Indians at Fort Duquesne in 1758. Forbes State Forest is comprised of over 60,000 acres spread across the Laurel Highlands with state forest located in Westmoreland, Somerset and Fayette counties. It is uniquely positioned to provide opportunities for low-density outdoor recreation and provide continuity to other private and public partners. The proximity to several metropolitan areas bring large numbers of recreationists year-round to the Forbes State Forest.
Forbes State Forest spreads across the high ridges of the Laurel Highlands. The topography is typically dissected, rugged and irregular and is dominated by several long and parallel northeast-trending ridges, All drainage from the Forbes State Forest land is generally westward into the Ohio River and ultimately into the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.
The highest point in Pennsylvania is in the Forbes State Forest in Somerset County at Mt. Davis, elevation 3,213 feet. This high point is located on a slight rise above a ridgeline, four miles north of the Pennsylvania-Maryland border. The Spruce Flats Bog is one of the most unique natural features in the state forest. This rare high-elevation, 28-acre bog, formed in a mountaintop depression is over 2,700 feet above sea level.
The Forbes State Forest offers opportunities for a variety of recreational uses including; picnic areas, scenic drives and vistas, hunting, fishing, camping, and trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. Forbes State Forest provides four season recreation due to its location along the Laurel Ridge, Chestnut Ridge, and Mount Davis. The trail system is used by summer and winter enthusiasts alike.
There are over 360 miles of shared-use trails and forest roads. Large inter-connecting trail systems can be found in the Laurel Highlands Trail System, Roaring Run Natural Area, and Quebec Run Wild Area.
There are many points of interest in the Forbes including Spruce Flats Bog, Wolf Rocks, Beam Rocks, Wharton Iron Furnace, High Point Observation Tower and Cole Run Falls to name a few. Picnic Areas are found at Mt. Davis and Lick Hollow.
Campsites in the Forbes State Forest area great way to get away from it all and spend a night in the great outdoors. These designated, roadside campsites are identified by signpost and campsite name. They are remote, designated sites with no amenities other than a fire ring and picnic table.
For trail maps visit the Forbes State Forest map webpage.
Forbes State Forest is managed primarily for dispersed recreation and facilities are limited. There are picnic areas available at Mt. Davis and Lick Hollow. The forest also offers 6 designated roadside campsites.
Occupants are also subject to the following permit conditions:
1. Campfires, when permitted, require that adequate precautions be taken to prevent the spread of fire into the forest. All other fires are prohibited. Campfires shall be attended at all times. Campfires in both fire rings and in fireplaces are prohibited when the forest fire danger is determined by the Department to be High, Very High, or Extreme and between March 1 through May 25 without authorization from the District Forester or designee. This prohibition does not apply to self-contained camp stoves when used in a safe manner. A person causing a wildfire, in addition to possible criminal penalty, is liable for all damages, costs of extinction and fines.
2. Dead and down wood may be gathered and burned when permitted but may not be removed from the site. Power tools and chain saws are not permitted.
3. Destruction of Property, damaging, defacing, or removing any sign, structure, equipment or other material is prohibited.
4. Occupants shall include at least one person 18 years of age or older. This permit may not be reassigned or transferred.
5. Pets are permitted on State Forest land if they are kept under control and attended at all times. Animal waste must be disposed of properly.
6. Disorderly conduct including the following is prohibited. Fighting or behavior that is threatening, violent or tumultuous; using obscene language or making obscene gestures; creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which does not serve a legitimate purpose of the actor; creating an unreasonable noise that may disturb visitors to State Forest land.
7. Sanitation and Food Storage:
Washing in a water outlet, spring, lake or waterway and discharging sewage, or gray water on or into ground or surface waters is prohibited. Toilets must be used where provided. In other locations, self-contained toilets must be used when required or human waste deposited in hole 4-6 inches deep, 200 feet from water, campsite, or trails and covered and disguised. Food must be stored properly . Littering or disposal of garbage or other material is prohibited.
8. Parking which obstructs a gate, road, trail, access way, entrance, exit or road turnaround on State Forest land is prohibited. Parking in area designated for a person with a disability, by the Department, is prohibited unless the vehicle has a valid plate or placard.
9. Cutting, picking, digging, damaging or removing a living or dead plant, vine, shrub, tree or flower on State Forest land without written authorization of the District Foresters or a designee is prohibited. Edible wild plants or plant parts may be gathered without authorization if they are gathered for own personal or family consumption.
10. Removing or disturbing historical or archeological resources from State Forest land without written authorization of the District Forester or a designee is prohibited.
11.Target Shooting of any kind is prohibited.
Violations: Violations of forest rules and regulations, or violations of a condition of this permit could result in any or all of the following consequences:
1. The permit may be revoked. This would result in the occupants being required to vacate the facility immediately.
2. The occupants may be required to leave the forest.
3. The occupants may be cited for a violation of the forest rules and regulations, a summary offense.
4. The occupants are responsible for any damage to campsite and related facilities that occurred during or due to their occupancy.