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Hiking at Gifford Pinchot State Park

18 miles of trails

There are more than 18 miles of marked and maintained trails at Gifford Pinchot State Park. Most trails interconnect to allow hikers to tailor their outing to meet their individual desires.

The park is open to hunting. Information on hunting seasons is available at the park office. For your safety, wear orange.

Trail Blaze Colors

  • Yellow blazes mark hiking only trails
  • Red blazes mark hiking trails that are shared-use trails with mountain bike riding or horseback riding
  • Mason Dixon Trail is marked with a blue blaze 

Hiking Trails at Gifford Pinchot

Alpine Trail

0.5 mile, easiest hiking

This wide, flat trail has a gravel surface. Alpine Trail has an outstanding crop of wildflowers in April and May, with bluebells and marsh marigolds. The trail begins on the east side of Conewago Day Use Area.

Beaver Creek Trail

1.5 miles, most difficult hiking

This trail runs between a small parking area off Squire Gratz Road and Mooring Area # 1 in the northwestern corner of the park. The trail meanders through low lying wooded terrain and can be muddy in wet weather. Sections of the trail can also be rocky.

Many habitats, including wetlands, can be seen in this undeveloped section of the park.

Gravel Trail

1.2 miles, easiest hiking

This trail runs through second growth forest from the campground to the area of the boat rental at the eastern end of the Conewago Day Use Area. This wide trail follows an old woods road and has a gravel surface.

A loop can be made by using part of Lakeside Trail making a nice trail for hiking, jogging, cross-country skiing, and bicycling. Concrete supports from an old toboggan run can be seen along this trail.

Lakeside Trail

8.5 miles, most difficult hiking

This is the longest and most scenic trail in the park. It may be accessed from all major use areas of the park. Walking time is five to six hours. Many parts of the trail are easy walking with gravel surfaces, but some of the remote sections are narrow with uneven footing and wet in other places.

Many hikers combine portions of this trail with other trails like Alpine, Gravel, Oak, and Quaker Race to make shorter loops.

Midland and Fern Trails

0.5 mile, more difficult hiking

These small side trails off Lakeside Trail can be reached from near Boat Mooring Area #3. Both trails have dirt and rock surfaces and steeper slopes, but wind through the most mature forests in the park. There are many wildflowers under the large oak, hickory, and tulip popular trees.

Oak Trail

0.4 mile, easiest hiking

This short trail connects the campground to the interpretive center at the western end of the Conewago Day Use Area. The trail is gently rolling and wide with a gravel surface. The trail passes through a maturing oak and hickory forest and past a large diabase rock outcropping near the interpretive center.

This trail connects with Gravel and Lakeside trails.

Old Farm Trail

1 mile, easiest hiking

This trail runs along the northeastern border of the campground and is a connector between Lakeside, Oak, and Ridge trails. Old Farm Trail follows an old farm road to the top of Straight Hill.

Pinchot Trail

1.4 miles, most difficult hiking

Wear good shoes on this trail because the surface can be rocky in some places and wet in other places. The trail begins at the environemtal learning center and climbs past a large diabase rock outcropping that once formed the beginning of the long abandoned toboggan run. The trail then crosses Gravel Trail and eventually splits into two branches that connect along the top of Straight Hill to form a loop.

The habitat is mostly maturing oak and hickory forest. A number of old stone walls provide reminders of long abandoned efforts at farming.

Quaker Race Trail

1.7 miles, more difficult hiking

This trail is best accessed from the Quaker Race Day Use Area or from the cabin colony for cabin occupants. This trail has a dirt or rocky surface, uneven terrain and one steep but short hill. This trail connects to Lakeside Trail at its end to form a three-mile loop that passes through diverse habitats.

Ridge Trail

1.2 miles, more difficult hiking

This trail begins near the campground entrance where it intersects Lakeside Trail, then meanders through old overgrown pasture, then climbs into a maturing oak and hickory forest along the top of Straight Hill. The trail surface is dirt and can be rocky and there are some wet areas near the campground entrance.

Stay on the trail to avoid prickly ash. Butterflies may be abundant near openings in the forest.

Mason-Dixon Trail (National Recreation Trail)

200 miles (6.8 miles in the park), most difficult hiking

This trail system 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 Road in the northwest. Through-hikers may only camp at the park campground.