Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
Kings Gap’s unique attractions are its mountainous terrain, extensive forest and panoramic views, which may be experienced while driving the winding road to the mansion area, or while hiking the trails. The sweeping view of the Cumberland Valley from the Cameron-Masland Mansion is impressive at any time of the year.
Kings Gap Environmental Education Center is one of several state parks specifically dedicated to provide environmental education and interpretive programs to the citizens of Pennsylvania. A variety of programs are available for children, teachers and the general public that increase knowledge and awareness of the values and function of our natural resources. Whether enjoying Kings Gap through recreational activities, educational programs, or its scenic beauty, visitors can be inspired to become stewards of Pennsylvania’s outstanding natural resources.
Kings Gap consists of 2,531 acres of forest on South Mountain, with more than 18 miles of hiking trails, a permanent orienteering course, picnicking, hunting and other recreational and educational opportunities. The mansion provides facilities for meals and overnight lodging, and may be reserved for meetings, weddings, receptions and similar functions.
Seasons and Hours: The center is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The center office is open specific hours. Contact the center office for facility seasons and hours.
Picnicking: Picnic tables are located throughout the center property. Drinking water is only available in the Mansion Area. Restrooms are available at the education building, Pine Plantation and Kings Gap Hollow areas.
Orienteering: A permanent orienteering course is located at Kings Gap. Orienteering is a sport that involves using a map and compass to navigate a designated course. Additional information on orienteering and copies of beginner course maps are available at the education building foyer. Additional course maps are available upon request. “Introduction to Orienteering” programs are offered in fall and spring.
Hunting and Firearms: About 1,860 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey and squirrel. An additional 633 acres is listed and posted as no hunting. However, this area is open to deer hunting (both antlered and antlerless) from the first Monday after Thanksgiving through the third Saturday after Thanksgiving - the traditional deer season. This area is closed to all types of hunting during the remainder of the year. Hunters should be aware of “Safety Zones” both posted and not posted. Contact the center office for additional information on the hunting areas.
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: 20 miles of trails
Trail Difficuly Ratings:
Ratings are based on technical challenge, not physical exertion.
Easiest: Elevation gain or loss is minimal, less than 5% slope, maximum 20% up to 100 feet
More Difficult: Elevation gain or loss is moderate, 12% slope, maximum 30% up to 300 feet
Most Difficult: Elevation gain or loss is usually severe, less than 18% slope, maximum 30+% up to 500 feet
Distances listed are one-way.
1. Pine Plantation Trail: 0.6 mile, easiest hiking
2. Whispering Pines Trail: 0.3 mile, paved, easiest hiking
3. Rock Scree Trail: 1.9 miles, more difficult hiking
4. Ridge Overlook: 0.8 mile, most difficult hiking
5. Forest Heritage Trail: 1.8 miles, more difficult hiking
6. Maple Hollow Trail: 1.3 miles, more difficult hiking
7. Woodland Ecology Trail: 0.6 mile, easiest hiking
8. Scenic Vista Trail: 2.5 miles, more difficult hiking
9. White Oaks Trail: 0.3 mile, paved, easiest hiking
10. Watershed Trail: 1.9 miles, more difficult hiking
11. Boundary Trail: 1.5 miles, most difficult hiking
12. Kings Gap Hollow Trail: 2.8 miles, more difficult hiking
13. Locust Point Trail: 1 mile, most difficult hiking
14. Buck Ridge Trail: 6 miles, most difficult hiking
15. Black Gum Trail: 1.1 miles, more difficult hiking
16. Nature Trail: 0.2 mile, easiest hiking
17. Cold Spring Overlook Trail: 0.04 mile, easiest hiking
Organized Group Tenting: This wooded area located in the Kings Gap Hollow Area has one site with a capacity of 30 people and may be reserved year-round by organized adult or youth groups. Reservations from 11 months up to two days in advance can only be made by calling toll-free 888-PA-PARKS, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Reservations two days or less in advance can be made by contacting the center’s office at 717-486-5031, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Meetings, Retreats and Trainings: The mansion is available to host meetings, retreats and trainings for government agencies, private businesses and non-profit organizations. Meeting rooms, food service and overnight accommodations are available from mid-April through mid-November. Contact the center office for additional information, availability, prices and to make a reservation.
Weddings, Receptions and Other Special Events: From sweeping views of mountains and the Cumberland Valley to the historical backdrop of the Cameron-Masland Mansion and surroundings, Kings Gap offers a unique setting for weddings and receptions. The mansion and grounds are available to rent for weddings, receptions and a variety of special events from mid-April through mid-November. Overnight accommodations are also available. Contact the center office for additional information, availability, prices and to make a reservation.
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.