Ole Bull State Park consists of 132 acres along the Kettle Creek Valley in Potter County. This area is called the Black Forest because of its once dense tree cover, mountainous terrain and wilderness habitat.
The park is along PA 144, 18 miles south of Galeton and 26 miles north of Renovo.
Make online reservations at: www.visitPAparks.com or call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, for state park information and reservations.
éCAMPING: flush toilets and hot showers
Camping is permitted year-round. Two camping areas along Kettle Creek provide 78 sunny and shaded sites. All sites include a picnic table, fire ring and level gravel pad. There are 32 sites with electric hookups in Area 1 and 24 sites with electricity in Area 2. Water hydrants, modern restrooms and a sanitary dump station are available. Pets are not permitted in the campground.
OLE BULL CABIN: This one and one-half story log cabin can be rented year-round. Rental information can be obtained at the park office. The cabin has a modern, ADA accessible kitchen, two baths and sleeps 12 people in three bedrooms. Pets are prohibited. The cabin has an ADA accessible bathroom and an access ramp.
éHUNTING AND FIREARMS: About 25 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, grouse, bear and squirrel. Hunting is permitted in the surrounding Susquehannock State Forest.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s car, trailer or leased campsite. The only exception is that law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms may carry said firearm concealed on their person while they are within the park.
éFISHING: The excellent water quality along Kettle Creek provides good fishing. Both Kettle Creek and Ole Bull Run offer fishing for brook, brown and rainbow trout. A special regulation area for children and people with disabilities is located below the dam breast to the ford way. Fishing is prohibited between the wires at the dam basin and swimming area. Fishing licenses are required and are available nearby at several issuing agents. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply.
SWIMMING: The beach is in Camping Area 1 across from the picnic area. The 150-foot sandy beach along Kettle Creek is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules for swimming. Parking for the beach area is provided at the picnic area parking lot. Pets are not permitted in the beach area. All children ten years of age or younger must be accompanied by a person at least 14 years of age.
PICKNICKING: The picnic area lies along Kettle Creek and has four picnic pavilions, picnic tables, fireplaces, drinking water, restrooms and playground equipment. Picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis. The Stone Pavilion has electricity available when reserved.
GEOCACHING:Several caches lie in or nearby the park. The cache in Ole Bull is part of the Allegheny Geo Trail.
WILDLIFE WATCHING: A variety of habitat types make the park a great birding location, especially during the spring migrations. Bear and deer are frequently seen. An active beaver dam provides a setting for beaver, mink and muskrats. Fishers, otters and bobcat have all been observed in or around the park.
HIKING: 5 miles of trails
The Daugherty Loop Trail combines old logging and railroad grades to form a one hour walk through the Black Forest of Pennsylvania. Castle Vista Trail leads to the historic foundation remains of Ole Bull’s “home site” and a panoramic view of the park area. The Beaver Haven Nature Trailprovides an introduction to the habitats along Kettle Creek. This flat, 0.75-mile trail starts at the concrete ford way.
The 85-mile Susquehannock Trail System passes through Ole Bull State Park. A picnic area parking lot serves as a trailhead for overnight hikers. A trail register is located at the park office for hikers who leave their vehicles overnight. Please read posted regulations.
Winter Sports : The park provides parking, restrooms and picnic and camping facilities throughout the winter. In addition to a groomed cross-country skiing trail, cross-country skiers and snowshoers are allowed throughout the park. A snowmobile trailhead provides access to the many miles of state forest trails. Snowmobiles are permitted on marked trails only. ATV’s are not permitted. Contact the park office or district forest office for trail maps.
During the summer months, the park provides programs on the history and natural resources of the area. The programs include guided walks, children’s programs and evening campfire programs. Please contact the park office for special request educational programs.
Ole Bull State Park is named for Ole Bornemann Bull, the famous Norwegian violinist who toured the United States in the mid to late 1800’s. In 1852, Ole Bull purchased a large tract of land in Potter County and attempted to develop a series of Norwegian settlements.
He began construction of a “home” at what now is called Ole Bull Vista. He never finished this large, wooden cabin. After a year of severe hardships, the majority of the colony disbanded and moved west into Michigan and Wisconsin. A complete history of Ole Bull is available at the park office.
The lumbering industry followed Ole Bull into the area. By the turn of the 20th century, two railroads, one on each side of Kettle Creek, were hauling logs to sawmills in the Cross Fork area. By 1920, the Commonwealth purchased vast tracts of land no longer useful to the lumber companies. In 1925, Ole Bull State Park was opened as a picnic area on a one-half acre tract of cleared land.
Formed in the 1930s to alleviate the severity of the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the original dam for the swimming area and constructed facilities like latrines, pavilions and camping areas.
In 2002, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Ole Bull’s colony, a monument was erected to honor Ole Bull. The monument was a gift from the citizens of Norway in recognition of Ole Bull’s talent, foresight and patriotism.
Access for People with Disabilities
éThis symbol indicates facilities and activities that are accessible. This publication text is available in alternative formats.
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
The nearest gas station, store and gift shop are one mile north of the park along PA 144 at Oleana. Cross Fork is eight miles south along PA 144 with a variety of services available.
Service garages, shopping areas, laundry facilities and restaurants are along PA 144 north or south in Germania, Galeton, Tamarack and Renovo.
For information on nearby attractions, contact: Potter County Visitors Association, 888-POTTER2. www.pottercountypa.org
Susquehannock State Forest: This 262,415-acre state forest surrounds Ole Bull State Park and offers hiking, including the Susquehannock and Black Forest trail systems and snowmobile trails. 814-274-3600
Denton Hill Ski Area:Along US 6, ten miles west of Galeton. 814-435-2115
Kettle Creek State Park: 20 miles southwest and offers a 160-acre lake, fishing, swimming, camping, picnicking and hiking. 570-923-6004
Pennsylvania Grand Canyon: Off of US 6 at Ansonia, 20 miles east of Galeton, located in Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks. 570-724-3061
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum:Along US 6, ten miles west of Galeton. 814-435-2652
Protect and Preserve Our Parks
Please make your visit safe and enjoyable. Obey all posted rules and regulations and respect fellow visitors and the resources of the park.
• Be prepared and bring the proper equipment. Natural areas may possess hazards. Your personal safety and that of your family are your responsibility.
• Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
• Please camp only in designated areas and try to minimize your impact on the campsite.
• Firewood Advisory: Firewood may contain non-native insects and plant diseases. Bringing firewood into the park from other areas may accidentally spread pest insects and diseases that threaten park resources and the health of our forests. Campers should use local firewood. Do not take wood home and do not leave firewood - Burn It!
In an Emergency
Contact a park employee or dial 911. For directions to the nearest hospital, look on bulletin boards or at the park office.