National Parks in Pennsylvania

March 10, 2023

national parks in Pennsylvania

National parks in Pennsylvania are a great way to explore the state's history and natural beauty. They offer hiking trails and other outdoor activities as well as a chance to see monuments and historic sites.

The state of Pennsylvania has 121 state parks and 19 national parks. These range from historical sites to breathtakingly scenic areas, all of which are worth exploring for their own reasons.

1. Valley Forge National Park

Valley Forge National Park is a national park in Pennsylvania that commemorates the 1777-1778 winter encampment of the Continental Army. It's one of the most important sites in American history and evokes the nation's feelings of patriotism.

During the encampment, the American troops endured disease, short supplies, and mud. Yet through grit and determination, they managed to turn into an incredible fighting force.

2. James Buchanan National Historic Park

If you want to learn more about the nation's 15th president, there's no better place than James Buchanan National Historic Park. Located near Cove Gap, Franklin County, the park is on Pennsylvania Route 16 along Tuscarora Mountain.

The park features a monument to Buchanan's birthplace. There is also a museum with exhibits about Buchanan, his family and other aspects of Lancaster County history.

3. Pine Creek Gorge National Scenic Area

Often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, Pine Creek Gorge is a 47-mile-long gorge in Tioga State Forest. It begins south of Ansonia and extends to Waterville.

The gorge offers sweeping views, towering waterfalls and opportunities for kayaking, fishing, hiking and biking. There are two state parks on the rim of the gorge: Leonard Harrison State Park and Colton Point State Park.

4. Colton Point National Scenic Area

On the west rim of Pine Creek Gorge, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Colton Point State Park resonates with the rustic charm of the Civilian Conservation Corps era of the 1930s. Rugged overlooks offer spectacular views into the gorge.

About 250 acres of Leonard Harrison State Park and 100 acres of Colton Point State Park are open for hunting and trapping during established seasons. Common game species include deer, turkey, rabbit and pheasant. Hunting is also allowed in adjacent Tioga State Forest.

5. Mount Carmel National Scenic Area

Located 88 miles northwest of Philadelphia and 71 miles northeast of Harrisburg, Mount Carmel is a borough in Northumberland County.

The town was incorporated in 1862 and was formed from part of Coal Township. It was also one of the first towns in the country to have its streets lit by electricity.

Sawmill operator, Albert Bradford gave Mount Carmel its name because of it's elevation and beautiful setting in the mountains. He decided that it deserved a special name.

6. Susquehannock State Park

Located in Drumore Township, this 224-acre park overlooks the Susquehanna River and Conowingo Reservoir. The park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking and horseback riding.

There are over five miles of trails, varying in difficulty. These trails showcase a variety of plants and wildlife.

7. Mount Washington National Scenic Area

Mount Washington is Pittsburgh's top destination for scenic views of the city skyline and the confluence of the Monongahela and Ohio rivers. You'll find lots of vistas along Grandview Avenue and two funicular inclines that whisk visitors up the hill to see it all.

The community is working hard to recover and restore the 280 acres of wooded land that surrounds Mount Washington, creating a continually evolving green space called Emerald View Park.

8. Susquehannock State Park

Susquehannock State Park is located on a scenic plateau overlooking the Susquehanna River and Conowingo Reservoir. It offers wide open fields for kids to run around, a decent playground, good picnic sites, and short but interesting hikes.

The Susquehannock Trail System is an 85-mile loop that combines old Civilian Conservation Corps fire trails, abandoned railroad grades and logging roads. Mountain bikers, equestrians and hikers can explore the trails.

9. Mount Nittany National Scenic Area

A favorite among hikers and locals, Mount Nittany is a ridge of the Appalachian Mountains that rises above State College in Centre County. It’s home to many scenic views overlooking Happy Valley and the Penn State campus.

It’s also a popular spot for hiking with more than 8 miles of trails maintained by the Mount Nittany Conservancy. Traveling in the back country can be hazardous and you should use caution when hiking.

10. Mount Hermon National Scenic Area

Mount Hermon National Scenic Area is one of the state’s top attractions for many reasons. Besides being home to Israel’s only ski resort, it’s also an ancient mountain with high religious significance.

The mountain is also known as “The Eyes of the Nation” for its altitude, which makes it crucial to Israel’s strategic early-warning system. It’s a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.


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