Gifford Pinchot State Park
Gifford Pinchot State Park, a 2,338-acre full service park, is in northern York County along PA 177 between the towns of Rossville and Lewisberry. The park consists of reverting farm fields and wooded hillsides with the 340-acre Pinchot Lake serving as a prime attraction.
Hiking - Biking - Horseback Riding - Picnicking - Swimming - Boating - Fishing - Hunting - Disc Golf - Education - Cross-country Skiing - Ice Fishing - Ice Skating - Iceboating - Organized Group Tenting - Yurts - Cabins - Camping Cottages - Camping
Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. The beach, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.
Picnicking: The ADA accessible Quaker Race Day Use Area is on the west side of the lake and the Conewago Day Use Area is on the east side of the lake. Picnic tables, charcoal grills, convenient parking lots, drinking water, modern restrooms and horseshoe pits are throughout the areas. The Quaker Race area has a volleyball court. The Conewago area has a softball field. Four picnic pavilions, two that are ADA accessible, may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Swimming: A large, ADA accessible beach in the Quaker Race Day Use Area is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please read and follow posted rules. Boat rental, picnic facilities, snack bar and children’s play area are near the swimming beach.
Beginning in 2016, smoking is prohibited on half of the beach and in half of the swimming area. For visitors who smoke and still want to use this beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes or other handheld, lighted smoking devices.
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Boating: electric motors only
Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Boat Rental: The boating concession, located in the Quaker Race Day Use Area, offers rentals by the hour, day, overnight, or for the week. Types of boats include canoes, one and two-person kayaks, paddleboats, and row boats. Electric motors are available for rent. Weather permitting, the concession is open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day and weekends beginning mid-May and after Labor Day to mid-October.
Fishing: The 340-acre Pinchot Lake has largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, muskellunge, catfish, carp, walleye, crappie and sunfish. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Pinchot Lake is designated a big bass lake. Special regulations cover the minimum size and creel limits for all species of bass. ADA accessible fishing pads are near Boat Launch 2 and a pier is in the Quaker Race Day Use Area.
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 1,780 acres 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 November 1, when shotgun and muzzleloader use are also permitted. Center fire rifles and handguns for hunting in the park is prohibited. Detailed information about hunting in the park is available at the park office. 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.
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.
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 vehicle or enclosed trailer. 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: 18 miles of trails
Alpine Trail: 0.5 mile, easiest hiking
Beaver Creek Trail: 1.5 miles, most difficult hiking
Gravel Trail: 1.2 miles, easiest hiking
Lakeside Trail: 8.5 miles, most difficult hiking
Midland and Fern Trails: 0.5 mile, more difficult hiking
Oak Trail: 0.4 mile, easiest hiking
Old Farm Trail: 1 mile, easiest hiking
Pinchot Trail: 1.4 miles, most difficult hiking
Quaker Race Trail: 1.7 miles, more difficult hiking
Ridge Trail: 1.2 miles, more difficult hiking
Mason-Dixon Trail: 200 miles, most difficult hiking
Biking: 4 miles of trails
Horseback Riding: In the northeast section of the park is an area set aside for horseback riding. This area includes several miles of wide, mowed, interconnecting trails that wind through reverting farm fields, pine plantations and deciduous woodlands. There is a large, gravel parking area off of Alpine Road, a short distance south of the intersection with PA 177. There are no horse rentals.
Disc Golfing: There is an 18-hole disc golf course on the east and west sides of the park. In the Conewago Day Use Area, Boulder Woods is a fairly level course that is great for families. In the Quaker Race Day Use Area, Quaker’s Challenge Course has recreation and pro tees in a challenging, hilly course.
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
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Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 2 host positions
Camping Cottages: Three cottages sleep five people in bunk beds. Cottages have wooden floors, windows, electric heat, lights and outlets, porch, picnic table, fire ring and are adjacent to potable water and restrooms with showers.
Yurts: These round, canvas and wood walled tents have a wooden deck and sleep five people in bunk beds. Yurts have a cooking stove, refrigerator, countertop, table, chairs, electric heat and outlets, fire ring, picnic table and are adjacent to potable water and restrooms with showers.
Modern Cabins: Ten modern cabins can be rented year-round. Cabins are furnished and have a living area, kitchen/dining area, toilet/shower room and two or three bedrooms. Renters provide their own bed linens, bathroom articles, kitchenware and eating utensils. Cabins also have boat mooring areas on the lakeshore. One cabin is ADA accessible.
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Organized Group Tenting: The 50 sites, which can hold up to 250 people, are in the campground. This modern area is for scout, church or other organized groups that wish to camp together. Advance reservations are required.
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Cross-country Skiing: When adequate snow cover is available many of the hiking trails provide an excellent opportunity for cross-country skiing. The best trails are accessed from the Conewago Day Use Area or the special parking area at the campground entrance. These trails are marked for bicycling and include portions of Lakeside, Alpine, Oak and Gravel trails. Other good trails are the network of spur roads and trails in the interior of the park campground, which are closed to camping and vehicle use during the winter season.
Ice Fishing: When conditions permit, ice fishing is a popular attraction on the 340-acre Pinchot Lake. Ice fishermen most often catch largemouth bass. Walleye, muskellunge, crappies, and sunfish may be caught through the ice. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Ice Skating: Ice skating is permitted on the natural ice of the lake. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Iceboating: When lake ice conditions permit, iceboating is enjoyed on the natural lake ice. Iceboats must display a current state park launch permit. Ice thickness is not monitored.
Ice conditions should be carefully assessed before participating in all ice-related activities.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
The park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs year-round. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources. Pontoon boat tours of the lake are offered spring through fall. For more detailed information contact the park office.
A park-operated interpretive center in the Conewago Day Use Area is open weekends during the summer. Wayside exhibits and informative brochures help visitors learn more about the park’s natural environment.
Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Teacher workshops are available. Group programs must be arranged in advance by calling the park office.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming events.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Access for People with Disabilities
The park office is a completely ADA accessible building.
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.