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.