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Gifford Pinchot State Park



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General Information

Gifford Pinchot State Park
Copyright: Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks
Gifford Pinchot State Park
Description - Gifford Pinchot State Park is a 2,338-acre full service park located in northern York County along PA Route 177 between the towns of Rossville and Lewisberry. The park consists of reverting farm fields and wooded hillsides with the 340-acre Pinchot Lake serving as a prime attraction. The diverse habitats of Gifford Pinchot State Park support a variety of wildlife through all seasons. The basis for the many habitats is diabase rock that underlies most of the park and was created when molten rock intruded the sandstone and melted it into a new kind of rock. Many of the diabase rocks have unique cracks that formed as the rocks slowly cooled.

Gifford Pinchot State Park offers a wide variety of recreation opportunities. There are cabins, campsites and group campsites. The lake opens up opportunities for boating, fishing and swimming. This beautiful park even offers an area for nature study. Winter sports include: ice skating, ice boating, ice fishing and cross-country skiing. Spring and fall area popular times of the year for bird-watchers. This area is a flyway for migrating neotropical birds.

There is a horse trail, mountain bike trail and other footpaths. The Mason-Dixon Trail, 200 miles of difficult trail travels through the park. This trail runs through Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The trail has blue blazes and follows portions of Lakeside, Alpine, Pinchot, Ridge and Beaver Creek trails as it traverses the length of Gifford Pinchot State Park. The trail enters the park along Conley Road in the east and Squire Gratz and Thundergust Mill roads in the Northwest. Through-hikers may only camp at the park campground.

The park offers environmental education and interpretive programs through hands-on activities, guided walks and campfire programs.

Approximately 1,780 acres of Gifford Pinchot State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs from fall archery season through the end of the traditional winter seasons. Common game species are deer, rabbit, squirrel and waterfowl.

The Harrisburg State Capitol, Hershey, Gettysburg National Historical Park and Lancaster County's Amish Country are located nearby.

Attractions - Gifford Pinchot State Park is a 2,338-acre full service park located in northern York County along PA Route 177 between the towns of Rossville and Lewisberry. The park consists of reverting farm fields and wooded hillsides with the 340-acre Pinchot Lake serving as a prime attraction. The diverse habitats of Gifford Pinchot State Park support a variety of wildlife through all seasons. The basis for the many habitats is diabase rock that underlies most of the park and was created when molten rock intruded the sandstone and melted it into a new kind of rock. Many of the diabase rocks have unique cracks that formed as the rocks slowly cooled.

The park is named for Gifford Pinchot, born in 1846 to a wealthy family. A childhood interest in nature led to a career protecting forests and Gifford Pinchot become one of the founders of the conservation movement. After graduating from Yale University, Pinchot went to France and became the first American trained in forestry. A good friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, Pinchot was named Chief Forester of the U. S. Division of Forestry and served from 1898 to 1910. With the guidance of Roosevelt and Pinchot, over 200 million acres of national forest came under scientific land management. Policies developed by Pinchot still help guide most national and state forests.

Recreation - Gifford Pinchot State Park offers a wide variety of recreation opportunities. There are cabins, campsites and group campsites. The lake opens up opportunities for boating, fishing and swimming. This beautiful park even offers an area for nature study. Winter sports include: ice skating, ice boating, ice fishing and cross-country skiing. Spring and fall area popular times of the year for bird-watchers. This area is a flyway for migrating neotropical birds.

There is a horse trail, mountain bike trail and other footpaths. The Mason-Dixon Trail, 200 miles of difficult trail travels through the park. This trail runs through Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The trail has blue blazes and follows portions of Lakeside, Alpine, Pinchot, Ridge and Beaver Creek trails as it traverses the length of Gifford Pinchot State Park. The trail enters the park along Conley Road in the east and Squire Gratz and Thundergust Mill roads in the Northwest. Through-hikers may only camp at the park campground.

The park offers environmental education and interpretive programs through hands-on activities, guided walks and campfire programs. Participants gain appreciation, understanding and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources. Curriculum based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Teacher workshops are available early spring through late fall. Group programs must be arranged in advance and may be scheduled by calling the park office.

Approximately 1,780 acres of Gifford Pinchot State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs from fall archery season through the end of the traditional winter seasons. Common game species are deer, rabbit, squirrel and waterfowl.

Because of the adjacent residential development and the many non-hunting visitors, special regulations apply to all hunting in the park. Hunting weapons are restricted to bows and arrows until the general small game season in late fall when shotgun and muzzleloader use are also permitted. Rifles and handguns can not be used in the park at any time. Hunting is prohibited during spring and summer and dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply.

To help protect the safety of hunters, non-hunting visitors and nearby residents, signs designating hunting areas, no hunting areas and safety zones are posted throughout the park. Hunters should be especially alert for other park visitors who may not be familiar with hunting and for safety zones near park buildings and private residences in and around the park. The Bureau of State Parks reserves the right to participate in or conduct special hunts at other times if necessary to adequately control specific wildlife populations or to conserve park resources. Please contact the park office if you have any questions or need more specific information.

Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment 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 camp.

The Harrisburg State Capitol, Hershey, Gettysburg National Historical Park and Lancaster County's Amish Country are located nearby.

Climate - Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Gifford Pinchot State Park area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging above 28 degrees Fahrenheit (above -2 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range above 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius).

Location - The park is near the metropolitan areas of York and Harrisburg. It may be reached from Harrisburg via the Lewisberry Exit 15 off Interstate 83 South and PA Route 177 South. OR by U.S. Route 15 South to Dillsburg, then to PA Route 74 South. OR from York, take PA Route 74 North or Interstate 83 North. From I-83 take Exit 13, PA Route 382 West to PA Route 177 South.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Bridget (norristown, PA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Very nice state park campground. Water is the main focus of this park/campground. Boats can be rented from the Quaker Race Day area and they have a nice package for people who are camping to rent the boats for several days. There is a small swimming beach at the campgrond with a playground right on the beach. While the campsites in loop A were within walking distance to the beach, the campsites in loop B were more secluded and had access to two boat launch areas. The showers were clean and had great water pressure.

Filed By: Pauline (Ionia, NY)
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We camped in the park this July, and found it to be very enjoyable. The camp sites located in group B on the water were large and wooded. The bathrooms had hot water in the showers and the sinks. Nice large picnic tables and the fire pits have grates for cooking. We were camping with other couples who had a cabin, and the cabins are not near the camping area which was a bit inconvenient. The cabins are large and private. The lake is very beautiful and great for a conoe. There is more than one beach for swimming, but swimming was only allowed in one beach due to lifeguard on duty. Lynn's market makes great subs and is close to the park. We look forward to camping at gifford pinchot state park again.

Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I went camping here with a nonprofit family group the summer of 2002. The facilities are very nice and the park is well maintained. It is also about a 30 minute ride to Hershey Park for those that might want to do that!


More Information

Contact Information:
Gifford Pinchot State Part, 2200 Rosstown Road , Lewisberry, PA, 17339, Phone: 717-432-5011
, gpinchot.sp@a1.dcnr.state.pa.us

Additional Information:
Gettysburg National Military Park - Gettysburg National Military Park commemorates the individuals involved in the battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the U.S. Civil War.
Hershey / Dutch Country Area - History and natural delights intermingle with the hand-plowed farm fields of the Amish and the scent of the Hershey Chocolate Factory.
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests - Pennsylvania is known for producing some of the most valuable hardwood timber in the world. The 2.1 million acres of state forest land are protected from fire, destructive insects and diseases while offering a beautiful recreation environment for the visitor. Pennsylvania's State Park system offers visitors year-round recreational enjoyment as well. Amenities include: camping, picnicking, hiking, an assortment of winter sports and the viewing of the natural biological diversity and ecosystems found within the Commonwealth.

Links:
Pennsylvania State Parks - Official agency website

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