State Parks Harrisburg PA

6 State Parks Near Harrisburg PA: Discover the natural beauty of Pennsylvania

Welcome to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a beautiful city surrounded by stunning natural landscapes and exciting outdoor activities. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the wilderness and explore the great outdoors, you’re in luck. Harrisburg is home to several state parks that offer a range of recreational opportunities, from hiking and fishing to camping and bird-watching. Let’s take a closer look at these six state parks near Harrisburg, PA, and discover the natural beauty of Pennsylvania.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the natural beauty of Pennsylvania through the state parks near Harrisburg PA.
  • Experience a variety of recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, camping, and bird-watching.
  • Explore historical buildings and learn about the rich history of the region at Fort Hunter State Park.
  • Enjoy camping, hiking, and fishing at Fowlers Hollow State Park, located in Perry County.
  • Visit Wildwood Park to explore nature trails, engage in bird viewing, and participate in children’s activities.
  • Embark on a hiking adventure and witness the majestic waterfalls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
  • Engage in outdoor activities such as camping, boating, and fishing at Gifford Pinchot State Park.
  • Experience the beauty of Boyd Big Tree Preserve through hiking trails and learn about conservation efforts.

Fort Hunter State Park

Fort Hunter State Park is a picturesque park located on the banks of the Susquehanna River. With its sprawling 40 acres of land, this park offers visitors a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Wandering through the park, visitors will have the opportunity to explore several beautifully preserved 18th and 19th-century buildings, including a mansion built in 1814. The rich history of Fort Hunter State Park adds an extra layer of charm to its natural beauty.

One of the highlights of a visit to Fort Hunter State Park is the chance to engage in various recreational activities. Bird-watchers will be delighted by the diverse avian population that calls this park home. With its abundance of natural habitats, the park provides a haven for numerous bird species, making it a must-visit destination for bird enthusiasts.

For those who enjoy being out on the water, the park offers the opportunity to go canoeing along the serene Susquehanna River. Glide through the calm waters and take in the scenic views as you paddle your way through Fort Hunter State Park.

The park also caters to families with young children, providing play areas where little ones can run, jump, and play to their heart’s content. Fort Hunter State Park is the perfect place for families to come together and create lasting memories.

Fort Hunter State Park

Recreational Activities Facilities
Bird-watching 18th and 19th-century buildings
Canoeing Mansion from 1814
Play areas for children

Fowlers Hollow State Park

Fowlers Hollow State Park, located in Perry County, is a nature lover’s paradise offering a range of outdoor activities. Whether you’re looking to set up camp, hike through scenic trails, or indulge in some fishing, this park has something for everyone.

For camping enthusiasts, Fowlers Hollow State Park provides a tranquil and picturesque campground. Set amidst the beauty of nature, the campsites offer a peaceful retreat where you can immerse yourself in the serenity of the park. Pets are welcome, so you can even bring your furry friends along for the adventure.

If hiking is your passion, you’ll be delighted by the various trails that wind through Fowlers Hollow State Park. Explore lush forests, cross babbling streams, and enjoy breathtaking views along the way. The park’s trails are also open to mountain biking, providing an exhilarating experience for cycling enthusiasts.

For those who enjoy fishing, Fowlers Hollow State Park features a creek teeming with fish. Cast your line and try your luck at catching trout, bass, or other species that inhabit the creek. It’s the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind, and enjoy the peacefulness of the park’s natural surroundings.

Immerse yourself in nature at Fowlers Hollow State Park, where camping, hiking, and fishing combine to create an unforgettable experience. Escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with the tranquility of the great outdoors.

Fowlers Hollow State Park

Activities Facilities Location
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Mountain biking
  • Campground
  • Picnic areas
  • Pet-friendly
  • Restrooms
Perry County

Wildwood Park

Wildwood Park is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. With its picturesque 229 acres of woodland, the park offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you’re an avid nature enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Wildwood Park has something for everyone.

One of the highlights of Wildwood Park is its extensive network of nature trails that wind through the lush greenery. These well-maintained trails provide the perfect opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. From leisurely strolls to challenging hikes, there is a trail for every skill level.

Bird Viewing and Children’s Activities

If you’re a bird enthusiast, Wildwood Park is a haven for birdwatching. The park boasts a dedicated bird viewing area where you can observe a wide variety of bird species in their natural habitat. Whether you’re an experienced birdwatcher or simply curious about avian life, this is a must-visit spot within the park.

“Wildwood Park is a true haven for bird lovers. The variety of species you can see here is truly impressive, and the peaceful environment makes it a perfect spot for birdwatching enthusiasts.” – Mary Johnson, avid birdwatcher

Wildwood Park also offers a range of activities for children, making it an ideal destination for families. The park features interactive educational displays that allow children to learn about nature and wildlife in an engaging and hands-on way. Additionally, the children’s library provides a cozy space for young readers to explore the wonders of the natural world through books and storytelling.

Throughout the year, Wildwood Park hosts special events that cater to children, including nature-themed workshops and guided tours. During the summer months, the park also offers a summer camp where kids can embark on exciting outdoor adventures while learning about the importance of environmental conservation.

Plan Your Visit to Wildwood Park

Wildwood Park is open year-round and admission is free. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in nature, a chance to spot magnificent bird species, or engaging activities for children, this park has it all. So pack a picnic, lace up your hiking boots, and immerse yourself in the beauty of Wildwood Park.

Wildwood Park

Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park is a true natural wonder, spanning over 13,000 acres of breathtaking beauty in the heart of Pennsylvania. With its pristine nature trails, magnificent waterfalls, and unparalleled hiking opportunities, this park is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

As you explore the park’s extensive trail system, you’ll be immersed in a majestic forest that is home to more than 20 stunning waterfalls. The Falls Trail System, consisting of a 7.2-mile loop, offers a mesmerizing journey through the park’s most picturesque spots, allowing you to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of cascading waterfalls and serene woodland scenery.

Each waterfall in Ricketts Glen State Park is unique and holds its own charm. From the popular 94-foot Ganoga Falls to the enchanting 30-foot Cayuga Falls, every step along the trail unveils a new natural wonder to behold. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner looking for an adventure, these trails offer an immersive experience that will leave you in awe of Mother Nature’s creations.

In addition to its remarkable waterfalls, Ricketts Glen State Park also boasts a rich diversity of plant and animal life. This makes it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts, photographers, and bird-watchers alike. Keep your eyes peeled for the park’s abundant wildlife, including birds, deer, and various other woodland creatures.

Plan Your Visit to Ricketts Glen State Park

When planning your visit to Ricketts Glen State Park, make sure to come prepared with comfortable hiking shoes, plenty of water, and a camera to capture the breathtaking scenery. Please note that some trails can be strenuous, so it is essential to assess your fitness level and choose a hike that suits your abilities.

Before setting out on your adventure, be sure to check the park’s website for any closures or updated information, as trail conditions may vary depending on the weather. It’s also important to follow park regulations and practice Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the park’s natural beauty for future generations.

Trail Name Distance Difficulty Waterfalls
Ganoga Falls Trail 2.8 miles Moderate Ganoga Falls, Conestoga Falls, Tuscarora Falls
Murray Reynolds Falls Trail 1.2 miles Easy Murray Reynolds Falls
Highland Trail 1.9 miles Moderate B. Reynolds Falls, Erie Falls

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful escape into nature, an adrenaline-fueled hiking adventure, or an opportunity to capture stunning photographs, Ricketts Glen State Park has it all. With its enchanting waterfalls, captivating nature trails, and unbeatable hiking experiences, this park is truly a gem in the heart of Pennsylvania.

Gifford Pinchot State Park

Located just a short drive from Harrisburg, Gifford Pinchot State Park is a 2,338-acre oasis for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a camper, boater, or fishing enthusiast, this park offers a range of recreational activities to suit everyone’s interests.

One of the highlights of Gifford Pinchot State Park is its picturesque Pinchot Lake, which provides the perfect setting for boating and fishing. Boating enthusiasts can take their boats out onto the lake and enjoy the peaceful serenity of the water. Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines and try their luck at catching various fish species that inhabit the lake.

Recreational Activities Facilities
  • Camping
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic Areas
  • Playgrounds

“Gifford Pinchot State Park is a hidden gem near Harrisburg. I love spending weekends camping by the lake and enjoying the tranquility of nature.” – Sarah, a happy camper at Gifford Pinchot State Park

During the winter months, the lake freezes over, creating the perfect opportunity for ice fishing. Ice fishing enthusiasts can venture out onto the frozen lake and try their hand at catching fish beneath the icy surface.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at Gifford Pinchot State Park, where camping, boating, and fishing combine for a truly memorable outdoor experience.

Explore the Natural Beauty of Gifford Pinchot State Park

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Gifford Pinchot State Park is the perfect destination. Its expansive grounds and serene lake offer a peaceful retreat for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re camping under the stars, gliding across the tranquil waters on a boat, or casting your line in search of the perfect catch, Gifford Pinchot State Park has something for everyone.

Boyd Big Tree Preserve

Boyd Big Tree Preserve, located on the scenic Blue Mountain, is a nature lover’s paradise. With over 1,025 acres of protected land, this preserve offers a tranquil escape for hiking enthusiasts and nature enthusiasts alike.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding mountain wildlife as you explore the various hiking trails that wind through the preserve. From towering trees to vibrant flora, every step offers a chance to connect with the wonders of nature.

Not only does Boyd Big Tree Preserve provide recreational opportunities, but it is also actively involved in conservation efforts. Outdoor classes on conservation are held within the preserve, educating visitors about the importance of preserving our environment for future generations.

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Boyd Big Tree Preserve. Lace up your hiking boots, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and embark on an unforgettable journey through this picturesque preserve.


What recreational activities are available at Fort Hunter State Park?

Fort Hunter State Park offers recreational activities such as bird-watching, canoeing, and play areas for children.

What activities can I enjoy at Fowlers Hollow State Park?

At Fowlers Hollow State Park, you can enjoy camping, hiking, and fishing. The park also welcomes pets at the campsites and on the trails.

What does Wildwood Park offer?

Wildwood Park offers an extensive network of nature trails for hiking, a bird viewing area, interactive educational displays, and a children’s library. The park also hosts special events and a summer camp for kids.

What can I expect to see at Ricketts Glen State Park?

Ricketts Glen State Park is known for its majestic forest and waterfalls. The Falls Trail System offers breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls and serene woodland scenery, making it a popular destination for hiking and photography.

What recreational activities are available at Gifford Pinchot State Park?

Gifford Pinchot State Park offers a range of activities, including camping, boating, and fishing. The park’s Pinchot Lake is a popular spot for boating and fishing enthusiasts. During the winter, visitors can even go ice fishing on the lake.

What can I do at Boyd Big Tree Preserve?

At Boyd Big Tree Preserve, you can enjoy hiking and exploring the mountain wildlife. The preserve is also used for outdoor classes on conservation and has open recreational areas for light trail activities like hiking. Please note that horseback riding and outdoor sports are prohibited in the preserve.

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