Visiting Bilger’s Rocks: Pennsylvania’s Best Rock Outcropping

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When I first visited Clearfield County, I was told over and over again that I needed to come back and visit Bilger’s Rocks. Honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure what all the fuss was about.

Sure, giant boulder outcroppings are fun to check out, but there are so many different ones around the state that I couldn’t see Bilger’s Rocks being anything special.

Fortunately, I took their advice and visited this incredible spot several times in the ensuing years.

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Sign at the entrance to Bilger's Rocks in Clearfield County PA
The entrance to Bilger’s Rocks.

As soon as I pulled up to Bilger’s Rocks for the first time, I knew that they had been hyped up for a reason. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Bilger’s Rocks is the most interesting rock outcropping in Pennsylvania save possibly Devil’s Den at the Gettysburg Battlefield (which gets extra points for its historical significance).

Set amongst the woods outside the tiny borough of Grampian, the rocks here have attracted visitors for more than 10,000 years, when Paleo-Indians used the outcroppings for shelter.

Looking through a narrow chasm at BIlger's Rock in Clearfield County PA
Bilger’s Rocks is a beautiful area to explore.

Today, the area is managed by the Bilger’s Rocks Association which maintains the area, hosts events, and runs tours through the rocks.

Parking for Bilger’s Rocks is located near the top of the outcropping. While you can’t actually see any of the boulders from the parking area, it’s a short walk to both the top and the bottom of the rocks.

To start your visit, head across the small field and into the woods near the parking lot. This leads directly to the top of Bilger’s Rocks.

Top of Bilgers Rocks in Grampian PA
The upper area of Bilger’s Rocks is amazing to explore but exercise caution.

This is an amazing place to explore with the many cracks offering incredible views over this outcropping and really showcasing how large and impressive this site is.

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While exploring here, use extreme caution. These are fairly large cracks that, in some cases, could lead to a fall of upwards of 50 feet. This is doubly true of younger children who might not fully grasp the dangers here.

Nevertheless, I definitely recommend walking around this upper area for at least a few minutes to get a better sense of Bilger’s Rocks before heading into the heart of them.

Large rocks at Bilger's Rocks in Grampian Pennsylvania
It’s amazing standing atop these large rocks.

While there are several ways down to the base of the rocks from the top, they are all a bit sketchy. Instead, I’d recommend retracing your steps back to the parking area. Once you get to the road, turn left and head down the small hill to the entrance sign and the start of the trail through the rocks.

Note that this road is narrow and has a bit of blind turn, so be careful while walking on the road (and while driving on it).

An open area in Bilger's Rock Park in Grampian PA
Inside Bilger’s Rocks.

Stepping into Bilger’s Rocks is a bit like stepping into a lost world. The rock walls here tower above you, trees cling to rocks in very unusual ways, and small passages filled with moss lead to hidden chambers.

While there is a path that leads through the rocks, it’s not well marked and following it would skip many of the most fun spots to explore here.

Trail through Bilger's Rocks in Grampian PA
There is a marked path through the rocks, but it’s best to just explore.

So, instead of trying to follow the marked path, I’d recommend exploring these rocks as much as you physically can. Head into the narrow paths and back into the hidden chambers. Just keep in mind that in many cases you’ll have to return the way you came, so don’t get yourself stuck somewhere.

Walking through the towering boulders and outcroppings that make up Bilger’s Rocks, I started to have a sense of déjà vu. It took me a minute to figure out what the area reminded me of until it finally hit me; the area reminded me of the Temples of Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Tree wrapped around boulder at Bilgers Rocks in Grampian PA
There are places where trees have grown impressively over large boulders.

I think it was because of the trees that somehow grew up around the rocks with their roots wrapped around large boulders that reminded me of the root-wrapped temples in Southeast Asia.

There are many nooks and crannies to explore at Bilger’s Rocks. Some are large enough for just about anyone to go through while others are passable only for those that are rather small or skinny.

Squeezing through areas is a ton of fun and its amazing the many great spots you can discover hidden through these cracks in the rocks.

People going through a narrow rock passage at Bilger's Rocks in Clearfield County Pennsylvania
There are many narrow passages you can squeeze through while exploring the site, but don’t get stuck!

One unique area is nicknamed the “Ice Cave” because of how late in the year the ice stays. While more passage than cave, the Ice Cave actually passes underground for about 25 feet, leaving you in pitch black until you can exit through the narrow crack on the other side.

While exploring, keep your eye out for a few of the old carvings that can be found at Bilger’s Rock, some of which date back more than 100 years. A favorite of mine is near the entrance and features a carved map of the Americas with the words “The world is looking to us.”

Carving at Bilger's Rocks in Clearfield County PA
A historic carving at Bilger’s Rocks.

While the star attraction of the land is the rock outcropping, the property is also a great place for a bit of hiking. There is actually a total of 10 miles of hiking trails within the property here, only a small portion of which actually pass through the rocks.

The site also features a campground, a playground for kids, and the ruins of an old mill along the banks of Bilger Run. This is also one of the few hiking areas in PA where dogs are actually allowed to be off-leash, ensuring that your furry friend will have a great time as well.

Playground at Bilger's Rocks in Clearfield County Pennsylvania
There’s a small playground for kids near the parking area.

Overall, Bilger’s Rocks is a great area to visit. Whether you are exploring Clearfield County, the southern Pennsylvania Wilds, or simply looking for a diversion while crossing Pennsylvania on Interstate 80, Bilger’s Rocks is a fantastic place to explore.

Looking for more to do in the area? Check out Beartown Rocks, Scripture Rocks Heritage Park, and the last covered bridge in Clearfield County.


Bilger’s Rocks

Hours: Daily from dawn to dusk

Cost: Free

Website: BilgersRocks.net

Address: 1921 Bilgers Rocks Road
Grampian, PA 16838

 

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24 thoughts on “Visiting Bilger’s Rocks: Pennsylvania’s Best Rock Outcropping”

  1. I loved Jim Cheney’s review, but I think he cowered at the last sentence when he qualified his review by saying he would not go so far as to say people should visit from a far distance. I so totally, and respectfully disagree.

    When he compared the rocks to the ancient temples of Cambodia, I think he hit on something. This place has a sacredness. It is more than an outcropping. It has mystery, beauty, and the rocks create an environment that conjures up something trancendant — like Stone Hendge.

    Be brave, Jim…tell it like it is! this place is special, and well worth a loooonnnggg drive.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment, Elle. I’m glad you liked my review, and I certainly did enjoy my time at Bilger’s Rocks. I’m sorry that you feel that I cowered at the end, but I don’t entirely agree. Would I recommend someone driving a bit to visit the rocks? Absolutely! But I would hesitate to recommend someone driving multiple hours to visit unless they were going to spend a few days in the area or had a great interest in seeing something similar to the Angkor temples.

      Reply
  2. This sounds great! We are also attracted by it being a place dogs can hike off leash … can you recommend others as well? Thank you!

    Reply
    • There really aren’t many, Hilary. As a dog owner myself, I always keep my eyes open, but I can’t recall there being anywhere else that I’ve come across that allows this in a public area.

      Reply
  3. We have similar places like this in western NY:
    Rock City in Olean NY
    Panama Rocks in Panama NY
    and Thunder Rocks in Allegany State Park in Salamanca NY – all fascinating places….

    Reply
  4. Thank you I liked your review now I want go with all my grandkids . You know I grew up in heilwood and alverda pa and moved to emporium pa after marring . We have been passing that road for 45 years now and I just paid attention to what the sign said . Thanks we will be visiting come spring
    Sincerely
    Janet mason

    Reply
    • Yes, it is, just be sure to pick up after . There are garbage can, a picnic area I know you will love it. Lived here my whole life and practically grew up in the rocks.

      Reply
    • We ask for a donation fee for camping, in order to maintain the area , which is run solely by a non-profit, non-governmental community group of volunteers.

      Reply
  5. Have you ever climbed the rocks at St Petersburg Village off routes 23 & 100 in Montgomery County? It was dog friendly last time I was there.

    Reply

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