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Aerial view of Tionesta Lake and dam

Tionesta Lake

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 539
Tionesta, PA  16353-9613

Physical Address
477 Spillway Rd
Tionesta, PA  16353-9613
(814) 755-3512

icon and link to Tionesta facebook page

Authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1936 and 1938, Tionesta Lake is one of 16 flood control projects in the Pittsburgh District. Tionesta is a key link in a system of flood control project for the Allegheny and upper Ohio Rivers. Since its completion in 1940, Tionesta has prevented over $570 million in flood damage. The project’s flood control capabilities were dramatically demonstrated during the 1972 flooding resulting from Tropical Storm Agnes when over $62 million in damages were prevented by Tionesta alone. 

Recreation, Events, Facilities & Activities

The Tionesta Beach has reopened!!!


Winding its way through the rugged hills of northwestern Pennsylvania, Tionesta Lake offers a unique setting for a diversity of outdoor recreational opportunities.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites you to visit the project and discover Tionesta's delightful lake and the natural beauty of the surrounding forest.

For those looking for a memorable outdoor experience, Tionesta offers a mix of beautiful scenery and recreational activities that will not soon be forgotten.  Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy boating, camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, water-skiing, picnicking, sightseeing and much more.

Fishermen have found the variety of fishing waters in the area enticing and productive.  The clear mountain streams, placid lake and glistening Allegheny River have yielded many fine catches of trout, muskie, walleye, bass and panfish.

The lake and its miles of unspoiled shoreline offer unlimited opportunities for water-based recreation.  Watercraft of all types and sizes can be found on Tionesta Lake, from powerboats of unlimited horsepower with water skiers in tow, to sleek canoes and small fishing boats plying the inlets, coves and backwater areas of the lake.  Easy access to the water is provided by boat launches at either end of the lake with ample trailer parking available.

Home to a remarkable variety of wildlife, Tionesta has claim as one of Pennsylvania's best big game regions.  Hunters will find deer in abundance as well as bear, turkey and small game.  Part of the pleasure of hunting at Tionesta is experiencing the quiet, rejuvenating forest.

Campers will find a welcome change of pace from everyday urban life at one of Tionesta's many tree-shaded campsites. Camping facilities range from rustic in nature, located at lakeside and accessible only by boat, to sites equipped with hot showers and full hook-ups.

If out sightseeing for the day, why not stop at Tionesta and enjoy a leisurely picnic with family or friends or perhaps walk on one of the self-guided nature trails?  There are also several scenic overlooks that provide exciting vistas of the lake and forested hillsides.  An especially scenic time for sightseeing at Tionesta Lake is in the autumn when the splendor of the fall foliage is at its peak.

Current Events

Heritage Event -- August 10 from noon until 4 p.m. at the area around the Information Center, on top of the dam. For more information click here.


Campground Reservations

Many campsites at four Pittsburgh District lakes - Berlin Lake, Shenango River Lake, Tionesta Lake and Youghiogheny River Lake - can be reserved in advance through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS), an interagency one-stop center for recreation reservations. Reservations can be made up to six months before arrival by calling the NRRS toll-free at 1-877-444-6777 or on their web site www.Recreation.gov. Campsites at all other Pittsburgh District lakes, as well as other campsites at Berlin, Shenango, Tionesta and Youghiogheny, are available on a first-come, first-served basis. At Tionesta Lake, can be made 6 months before your arrival for the 2011 recreation season at the Tionesta Recreation Area Campground.

Tionesta Recreation Area Campground

The Tionesta Recreation Area Campground will open May 21, 2012 and close September 16, 2012. Campsites have electric, water and sewer hook-ups and are $28 per night. Reservations are available from May 21 through Labor Day, September 3, 2012, by contacting the NRRS at the telephone number or web site above. Visitors will be charged $3 per vehicle per day during the summer months. After September 3, 2012, camping will be on a first come first served basis until September 16 using the honor vault.

Outflow Camping Area

At the Outflow Recreation Area Campground, camping is possible year round. It is anticipated that the flush restroom and shower facility will open and fees will start the night of April 12 through October 2013. The camping fee is $12 per night. Camping will be free in November through mid-April 2014. Please call the project office at 814-755-3512 for more information.

Kellettville Camping Area

The Kellettville Campground - It is anticipated that this campground will open April 12, 2013. The camping fee is $10 per night through October 2013. Camping is free in November until the campground closes in mid-December. Please call the project office at 814-755-3512 for more information.

Primitive Lakeshore Camping

These campsites are free and open year-round, weather permitting and only accessible by boat. More information on the specific locations of these designated camping sites is available from the Park Office.

Boat Launching

Boat launching is $3 per day from April 13 through October 2013. An Annual Day Use Pass may be purchased for $30 ($15 with a valid Golden Age/Access Passport or America the Beautiful Senior/Access Pass). This Annual Day Use Pass permits the holder and accompanying passengers in a vehicle to use all boat launch ramps and swimming beaches at any Corps-operated recreation area without further charge. An annual pass can be purchased at the Park Office using cash or a personal check or money order.

Pavilion Reservations

Reservations are being accepted for the Outflow Picnic Pavilion.  The rental fee is $45 with electric and $35 without electric. Pavilions can be reserved by calling or visiting the Park Office or by mail using a Tionesta Lake Pavilion Reservation Request form.

Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids

The Boat/U.S. Foundation for Boating Safety has funded a Life Jacket Loaner Program for kids at Tionesta Lake. 15 life jackets in three sizes for children are available:  infant, child and youth. The U.S. Coast Guard requires recreational boats to have a wearable life jacket on board for each passenger, but life jackets suitable for children are not always available. In addition, at Tionesta Lake and other Corps of Engineers lakes in the Pittsburgh District, it is required that children under 13 years of age wear a life jacket while boating. Children are especially at risk on and near the water. A properly sized life jacket can be the difference between life and death for a small child. A boater merely signs out the jacket(s) and returns it at the end of the day. Please call the Park Office to make arrangements.

Information Center

The Information Center located on top of the Dam, is open on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays during the summer months. The hours are 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Group Tours & Programs

Control Tower tours and programming for school, Scout and other groups may be arranged by calling (814) 755-3512, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Topics include, but are not limited to, Tionesta Lake history, flood damage reduction and recreational opportunities, trees, wildflowers, wildlife, reptiles, amphibians, conservation, environmental stewardship, hiking, trail maintenance, wildlife management, water safety and pioneer crafts.  Programs may occur on site or at your school or club meeting place.

GPS Info (Latitude, Longitude)


41.48472, -79.44861

From Tionesta, PA: Go 0.5 mile south on SR 36 and follow signs into the campground.

Emerald Ash Borer

Please use local firewood, from Forest, Warren, Elk and McKean counties, in an effort to curb the Emerald Ash Borer from further spreading. If you already have brought firewood from another area, you must burn it all before leaving. Thank you. 

Facilities & Activities


  Dam Site Glasner
Run Camp-ing Area
ville Camp-ground
Lackey Flats Camp-ing Area Nebra-ska Access Area

Out-flow Camp-ing

Tio-nesta Beach Launch Area Tio-nesta Park Tio-nesta Rec Area
Camp-ground    X X X X   X
Hookups       X

Camper Dump

  X     X     X
Drinking Water X X   X X X X
Launch Ramp       X X  
Picnic Area X   X X
Picnic Shelter       X X
Playground                X X
Restroom Facilities X     X X X X
Accessible Restroom X X X X
Showers         X
Trails X     X     X
Beach             X