Pennsylvania and our Cumberland Valley are at high color! Come trek our beautiful parks and forests to experience nature and changing seasons!
1. Little Buffalo State Park
Just off State Route 34, North of New Bloomfield the Little Buffalo State Park surrounds the Little Buffalo Creek and is watched over by Buffalo Ridge. The area was occupied at one time or another by quite a few different tribes of American Indians and nations during the migration away from the European Settlers. Finally the Albany Purchase of 1754 (3 years after Carlisle was founded) acquired the State Park land from the Iroquois League of Six Nations.
|2. Colonel Denning State Park
The State Park was named after William Denning, who was a veteran of the American Revolution. He was never actually a colonel, rather he served his country as a sergeant from March 1778 to April 1780 in Nathaniel Irish's Company of Artillery Artificers in Benjamin Flower's Regiment, and is deserving of a place in history for his manufacturing of wrought iron cannons. Denning was stationed just outside of Carlisle, Pa., at Washingtonburg Forge, now Carlisle Barracks. which provided armaments for the Continental Army, including cannons. It is at this forge that William Denning made wrought iron cannons in a process of welding gads (strips) of wrought iron in successive layers to produce a cannon lighter and better able to resist failure during firing than cast iron cannons. Unfortunately none of his cannons are known to still exist. Our picture shows a wrought-iron reinforced cannon from a later date.
| Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Steeped in natural and historical features, the 696-acre Pine Grove Furnace State Park is in the area known as South Mountain at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our guests enjoy all sorts of recreational opportunities, including the two mountain lakes, Laurel Lake and Fuller Lake, hiking the Appalachian , biking the rail trail, visiting the Appalachian Trail Museum and imagining when the park was a charcoal-fired iron furnace community. The park is surrounded by Michaux State Forest, which provides opportunities for exploring extensive public lands around South Mountain.
|4. Gifford Pinchot State Park
Spring and fall are the times of the great bird migrations. Gifford Pinchot State Park is a rest stop for many migrating forest birds due to its location in an area of forest surrounded by many farm fields. Warblers, vireos and thrushes stop to rest and eat before flying on to their breeding or winter homes. Pinchot Lake and its shoreline wetlands are a beacon luring waterfowl by the thousands. Mergansers, geese, mallards, loons, teal and many other ducks can be seen swimming, diving and dabbling for vegetation and small fish.
|5. Caledonia State Park
Why would a State Park be named after the old Roman name for Scotland back in the 1st to 3rd centuries AD? Well, one of the most effective and powerful legislators of the Civil War era was one Thaddeus Stevens, an abolitionist, radical republican, who was born in Caledonia County in Vermont. That county in turn was named Caledonia because of the high number of Scots who settled there. Stevens was a lawyer and businessman with significant interests in the iron industry, and also served in the U.S. House of Representatives where he championed the passing of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution.
|6. Fowlers Hollow State Park
The 104-acre Fowlers Hollow State Park is in a narrow valley created by Fowler Hollow Run. The park is on the edge of Tuscarora State Forest at the intersection of several multi-use trails. The campground of the park is a good base for adventures into the huge tract of public land.
|7.Big Spring State Forest and Tuscarora State Forest
Tucked in the side of Conococheague Mountain, Big Spring State Forest Picnic Area is a quaint picnic and hiking area. A short loop trail leads to a partially completed railroad tunnel with historic interpretation at the trailhead. The park also provides access to the Iron Horse Trail for day and overnight hiking. The park takes its name from nearby Big Spring, whose waters form the scenic Shermans Creek. Big Spring State Forest Picnic Area also serves as a trailhead providing parking, restrooms and access to the extensive snowmobile trail system in the Tuscarora State Forest.
|8. Kings Gap Environmental Education Center|
Kings Gap is our favorite place to go for a hike, or for one of the many programs held there. With over 20 miles of trails ranging from Easy through to "Rather You Than Me!", and from 0.3 miles to 6 miles this State Park provides something for everyone. The historic Cameron-Masland Mansion looks over the Cumberland Valley and a gorgeous panorama of green turning to gold at this time of year.