Caledonia State Park
The 1,125-acre Caledonia State Park is in Adams and Franklin counties, midway between Chambersburg and Gettysburg along the Lincoln Highway, US 30.
The park is nestled within South Mountain, the northern terminus of the well-known Blue Ridge Mountain of Maryland and Virginia. Within South Mountain there are four state parks and 84,000 acres of state forest land waiting to be explored and enjoyed. The soils on either side of South Mountain are ideal for fruit production, proven by the abundance of orchards in the surrounding area.
Picnicking: Oak and pine trees along Conococheague Creek shade picnic tables and charcoal grills. Two rustic, CCC-era picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Make a reservation.
Swimming: The park features a large, ADA accessible swimming pool with a waterslide and a small snack bar. The pool opens for the Memorial Day weekend and then is open weekends only until the second weekend in June when it begins seven days a week operation, weather and staffing availability permitting. The pool is typically closed on weekdays beginning mid-August but is open for weekends including Labor Day, which is the end of the pool season. Check the Park Advisories on the website for updates.
There is a fee for pool use. Swimmers arriving after 4 p.m. receive a discount. Season passes are available at the park office.
Fishing: The East Branch Conococheague and Rocky Mountain creeks and Carbaugh Run flow through the park and the surrounding state forest lands, offering many exciting places for anglers. Brown trout, rainbow trout, native brook trout and some warm-water game fish can be found in these streams.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: About 740 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, rabbit, squirrel and turkey. Hunting is permitted in the adjacent Michaux State Forest.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting 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 leased campsite. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 10 miles of trails
Chambersburg Water Line: 1.9 miles, easiest
Charcoal Hearth Trail: 2.7 miles, most difficult
Fire Road Trail: 1 mile, more difficult
Midland Trail: 0.7 mile, easiest
Quarry Gap Road/Trail: 1 mile, most difficult
Raccoon Run Trail: 5 miles, most difficult
Ramble Trail: 2.2 miles, more difficult
Thaddeus Stevens Historic Trail: 0.8 mile, easiest
Three Valley Trail: 0.7 mile, most difficult
Trolley Trail: 0.7 mile, easiest
Whispering Pine Nature Trail: 0.4 mile, easiest
Appalachian Trail: 1.8 miles in the park, most difficult
Golf: An 18-hole, par 68, public golf course is just south of US 30. Constructed in the late 1920s, the course is the oldest and one of the most scenic courses in south central Pennsylvania. For more information contact, Caledonia Golf Enterprises, Inc., 9515 Golf Course Road, Fayetteville, PA 17222, 717-352-7271. www.caledoniagolfpa.net
Cathedral in the Pines: Caledonia’s Summer Sunday School dates back to the summer of 1917 when the Manges and Moyer families decided to provide a Sunday school for their children and other families’ children who spent the summer months vacationing at Caledonia, be it in tents or the increasing cabin community around the park. Since 1955, the Franklin County Sunday School Association has kept the tradition alive and offers outdoor, nondenominational Sunday school from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. All are welcome to attend.
Totem Pole Playhouse: Since 1952, the Totem Pole Playhouse, a summer stock theater, has offered performances during the summer months. Request a schedule of shows by contacting: Totem Pole Playhouse, 9555 Golf Course Road, P.O. Box 603, Fayetteville, PA 17222, 888-805-7056. 717-352-2164 www.totempoleplayhouse.org
Caledonia Arts and Crafts Fair: This event is held annually on the second Saturday in July. Join as many as 150 skilled crafts people and artists as they display and sell their creations.
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, electric hook-ups
Chinquapin Hill Campground is nestled on the side of a mountain among plenty of shade trees and is close to the swimming pool. Some sites have electric hookups. The park amphitheater is in this camping area and is accessible to the public from the day use parking area. Pets are prohibited in this campground.
Hosack Run Campground is one mile from the main day use area. All sites in this camping area are pet friendly. This campground has moderately level, open and shaded sites, and many sites have electric hookups. This camping area also has a small playground for children. There are ADA accessible sites available with a nearby family-assist restroom.
Explore the campground map.
Explore camping for more information.
Make a reservation.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 2 host positions
Caledonia Lodge: Located along US 30, Caledonia Lodge is a two-story frame house available for rent year-round. The lodge has a modern kitchen, closed-in porch, 1½ baths, dining room, living room, central heat and three bedrooms that sleep ten people.
Explore cabins for more information.
Make a reservation.
Organized Group Tenting: Caledonia offers 5 separate 20-person sites for rent to organized adult and youth groups. This area opens the day before trout season in March and closes the 4th Sunday in October. There are flush toilets, picnic tables and fire rings. Advance reservations are required. Caledonia makes a great base for groups touring the Gettysburg National Military Park.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
A park educator offers programming during the summer season. The history and environment of the area are topics for discovery for park visitors of all ages. Children’s programs, guided walks and campfire programs are scheduled throughout the summer season. Program schedules are available at the park office. Special requests are welcome and may be directed to the park office.
The Thaddeus Steven Blacksmith Shop has operating hours during the summer. Visitors can tour and, on occasion, visit with a guest blacksmith as he hammers out iron products. The park is also the home of the Pennsylvania Forest Fire Association Museum, located across from the park office.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of events from today forward.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Access for People with Disabilities
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
Thaddeus Stevens 1792-1868
Called the Great Commoner, Thaddeus Stevens was an abolitionist, radical republican and was one of the most effective and powerful legislators of the Civil War era. Some historians consider Stevens the de facto leader of the United States during the presidency of Andrew Johnson. Stevens became the third person in American history to be given the privilege of lying in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, following Senator Henry Clay and President Lincoln.
Born in Caledonia County, Vermont, Stevens would face many prejudices for having a club-foot. This and his birth to a poor family likely forged a lifelong drive to defend the poor and persecuted. After graduation from Dartmouth in 1815, Stevens moved to York, Pa. to teach, but within a year moved to Gettysburg, Pa. to practice law, dabble in real estate and in 1822, enter the iron business with the opening of Maria Furnace in Fairfield, Adams County.
Finding better iron ore in Franklin County, Stevens built a new charcoal iron works, which went into blast in 1837. The Caledonia Iron Works grew to include the charcoal iron furnace, forge, rolling mill, stables, warehouses, blacksmith shop, sawmill, and tenement houses for the workers and their families.
Thaddeus Stevens served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly from 1833 to 1841, where he fought for free, public education. In 1842, Stevens moved his law practice to Lancaster, Pa. where he could make a better living as a lawyer and support his iron business interests. Jumping into politics again, Stevens served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1849 to 1853 and again from 1859 to his death in 1868. During his terms in office, Steven championed the passing of three amendments to the constitution: the 13th, abolition of slavery; the 14th, citizenship and due process; and the15th, the right to vote.
Even in death Stevens illustrated his principles by choosing to be buried in a cemetery that accepted people of all races.
While Thaddeus Stevens fought for abolition in Washington DC, Caledonia Iron Works furnace foreman William Hammett was a conductor for the Underground Railroad. Hammett would meet a conductor near Pond Bank and guide run-away slaves north to Greenwood, just west of the park, to meet the next conductor on the journey to freedom. For this, and Stevens’ tireless fight for equal rights, Caledonia State Park is a Path of Freedom site.
During the Gettysburg Campaign of the American Civil War, the confederate cavalry of General J.A. Early raided throughout southern Pennsylvania but followed a policy to destroy no private property or industry. The cavalry burned and pillaged Caledonia. Early explained his actions, “Mr. Stevens is an enemy of the South. He is in favor of confiscating their property and arming the Negroes. His property must be destroyed.”
The Confederate army marched through the ruins of Caledonia on their way to the Battle of Gettysburg, then retreated back the same way, followed by the Union army.
With money from Stevens and the help of the Ahl brothers, Cumberland County ironmen, furnace manager John Sweeney rebuilt the furnace and forge, which continued to operate at a reduced capacity until 1870.
After a nineteen-year estate battle over the Caledonia property, the Diller brothers of Lancaster County purchased the iron works in 1887 and operated quarries for ganister sand and other minerals. In 1903, the Caledonia Mining and Manufacturing Company, then owned by a New York investment group headed by telephone magnate Theodor Vail, sold most of the Caledonia Iron Works lands to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as part of the new Forest Reserve System. The tracts of cutover forestlands were being set aside as a future supply of timber and to be “outing grounds for citizens.”
The Chambersburg and Gettysburg Electric Railway Company leased the area around the old furnace and blacksmith shop as a trolley park. The company turned the former blacksmith shop into a trolley station and built amusement rides and a dance pavilion.
In 1927, the Pa. Alpine Club, a local hiking group, reconstructed the old furnace stack as a reduced scale model monument to the iron works.
From 1933 to 1939, young men of camp SP-18-PA of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built many of the roads throughout Michaux State Forest and recreational facilities at Caledonia State Park.
For more information on the CCC, explore The CCC Years.
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Scouts and organized groups can earn free camping by completing service projects.
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Believing that each generation is responsible for leaving behind a better legacy of good conservation, the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) was created in 1999 to give supporters and users of Pennsylvania's parks and forests a positive way to contribute to the conservation of our publicly-owned properties. The Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation welcomes the support of individuals and businesses who share a commitment to conserving, protecting, and enhancing the natural, scenic, and recreational areas of this commonwealth. www.paparksandforests.org
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We love when young people ask us how to get involved!
DiscoverE has programs for young people ages 4 to 17, provided by Pennsylvania State Park educators. By combining recreation and education, we hope to motivate children to learn more and return often, leading to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment and conservation leadership.
In Watershed Education, teachers and students assess water quality of a local stream on a quarterly basis and develop strategies to solve local water quality problems.
ECO Camp - Exploring Careers Outdoors - is a week-long residential camp for a cross-section of high school youth from across Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Participate in action-packed, hands on activities and recreational adventures in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests that expose youth to conservation, recreation and careers in natural resources. Learn how people make a living working in the outdoors.
Explore education for more information on these and other programs.
Explore the Calendar of Events to find a program near you.
Do you take conservation personally? iConservePA is a Web site managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whose vision is to inspire citizens to value their natural resources, engage in conservation practices and experience the outdoors. Take conservation personally.
Come Work with Us
Pennsylvania State Parks and the Department of Conservation and Natrual Resources offer a wide range of civil service and non-civil service jobs, from foresters, to rangers, to engineers, to educators, to botanists and so much more. Learn what is currently available.
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Caledonia State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Fulton County Visitors Bureau. www.explorefranklincountypa.com
or the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors BureaU. www.gettysburg.travel
Michaux State Forest: This 83,949-acre forest features hunting, fishing and general outdoor recreation. 717-352-2211
Gettysburg National Military Park: This historic military site is operated by the National Park Service and preserves and explains the events that occurred on the Gettysburg Battlefield during the Civil War, 717-334-1124. www.nps.gov/gett
Maps and Downloadables
Below are many of the maps and publications for this park. You can read them or download them and might need special software (all free) to view the publications.
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Alternate versions of the text of the brochures are in rich text and text formats. Click on the files to view them. To download (.rtf) files:
Interactive GIS Map
The Interactive GIS Map uses Geographic Information Systems to create a map that does not need to be downloaded and features driving directions, searchable park amenities and customizable maps. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Caledonia is at the intersection of US 30 and PA 233. From Chambersburg, follow US 30 east 11 miles to the park. From Gettysburg, follow US 30 west 15 miles to the park. From Harrisburg, follow I-81 53 miles to Chambersburg, then 7.3 miles east on US 30.
GPS DD: Lat. 39.9089 Long. -77.4783
Driving Directions: The Interactive GIS Map has turn-by-turn driving directions to the park office from the Park Information Window. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Caledonia State Park