Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area

Virginia Bluebells blossoms

What is a Conservation Area?

Conservation areas are donated to the PA Bureau of State Parks and therefore are governed by different rules.


Straddling Peters Mountain, the 803-acre Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area is dominated by large hardwood trees. This large block of nearly unbroken forest is a haven for wildlife like forest warblers and other deep woods animals. A main attraction to the conservation area is the elaborate trail system. An additional 433 woodland acres on the northern slope of Peters Mountain, called the western portion and added in April 2012, features trails that will eventually connect to the nearby Appalachian Trail.

Click here to see the NOAA weather for this park.
Click on the Map It! logo to go to an interative GIS map of this park.
Click on this Flickr logo to go to the Flickr page of Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area, Pennsylvania.

Hiking   -  Hunting   -  Education   -  Cross-country Skiing

Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. Contact the Little Buffalo State Park office for facility seasons and hours.

Hunting and Firearms: About 780 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are black bear, deer, turkey, grouse, rabbit and squirrel.

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.

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Hiking: 8.4 miles of trails
The trails in the conservation area travel through forests up and down hills.

1 Evergreen Trail: 1.1 miles, red blazes, easiest hiking
This trail begins at the east gate and is a nice loop trail that is also great for cross-country skiing.

2 Victoria Trail: 1.8 miles, medium blue blazes, most difficult hiking
This rugged footpath begins by the Education Pavilion, runs near the eastern boundary, crosses over to the west end of the park on the historic Victoria Road and meets the Appalachian Trail for a distance of 1.8 miles. From there, the trail winds down to Game Land 211 and PA 325 for a distance of 1.2 miles. This is the most difficult trail in the conservation area.

A broad trail winds through tall trees at Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area, Pennsylvania.3 Old Sawmill Trail: 0.9 mile, yellow blazes, easiest hiking
The loop portion of this trail encircles the old location of Baker’s Sawmill, the last steam sawmill in Dauphin County. This is a nice trail for cross-country skiing.

4 Pine Trail: 0.9 mile, lime green blazes, easiest hiking
This trail begins at Evergreen Trail, crosses the conservation area, and loops near the Pond. Pine Trail runs through a multitude of forest habitats and is named for the many white pines along the middle section of the trail.

5 Turkey Foot Trail: 0.6 mile, lavender blazes, easiest hiking
Access this trail from the western end of Evergreen Trail. Turkey Foot Trail is a loop trail that offers many good opportunities to view wildlife.

6 Rock Trail: 0.8 mile, beige blaze, more difficult hiking
This trail goes through some very rocky areas. Rock Trail begins at the intersection of Evergreen, Pine and Old Sawmill trails.

7 Whitetail Trail: 1.8 miles, pink blazes, most difficult hiking
This trail begins at the conservation area’s west gate, crosses Victoria and Appalachian trails and the Pond, and ends by reconnecting to Victoria Trail on the south side of Peters Mountain. The mountain section is rugged and includes switchbacks and stone stairs in places. A nice view of Powells Valley can be seen from a stone bench on the north side of the mountain. This is a good trail for viewing wildlife.

Appalachian Trail: 0.5 mile, white blazes, more difficult hiking
The famous, national scenic trail extends 2,000 miles from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to Mount Katahdin in central Maine. The Appalachian Trail is reached from Victoria and Whitetail trails. Just over half of a mile of this famed trail traverses the Conservation Area.

Winter Activities

Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.

Cross-country Skiing: All hiking trails in the Conservation Area are open for cross-country skiing. Evergreen and Old Sawmill trails are recommended for cross-country skiing.

Environmental Education and Interpretation

The Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening 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. Group programs must be arranged in advance and may be scheduled by calling the Little Buffalo State Park office.

Programs are offered year-round. Many programs feature the abundant wildlife and forest management practices that can be seen in the conservation area. For more detailed information on programs, contact the Little Buffalo State 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 ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.