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Pennsylvania State Parks

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USA Parks
South-Central Region
Mont Alto State Forest
Ruffed Grouse ©
Picnic Table ©
It is always a great day for a picnic in the park.
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Mont Alto State Forest, located in Pennsylvania, is a picturesque haven for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. Stretching across the landscape with its vast expanse of serene forests and rolling hills, the forest offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life. Its diverse ecosystem boasts breathtaking scenic views, displaying an array of vibrant flora and fauna. Wander along the well-maintained trails, relishing the soothing sounds of chirping birds and gushing streams while immersing yourself in the stunning beauty of the forest. Whether it's camping, hiking, or simply appreciating the abundant natural wonders, Mont Alto State Forest provides a captivating experience that rejuvenates the soul and fosters a deep connection with the enchanting wilderness.
History of the Area
Mont Alto State Forest is located in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and it has a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century. Here is a brief overview of its history:

1. Formation and Early Years: Mont Alto State Forest was officially established in 1902, making it one of the oldest state forests in Pennsylvania. The state initially acquired approximately 7,000 acres of land to create the forest.

2. Utilization as a Conservation Area: In the early years, the primary goal of Mont Alto State Forest was timber conservation. Logging activities were carried out to sustainably manage the forest's resources and provide timber for Pennsylvania's growing industries.

3. Creation of the Mont Alto Fire Tower: In 1929, a 60-foot fire lookout tower was constructed within the forest to provide early detection of wildfires. The tower played a crucial role in monitoring the forest for many years, alerting authorities to potential dangers.

4. Development of the Mont Alto Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp: During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) established a camp in Mont Alto State Forest. CCC workers constructed various facilities, trails, and infrastructure projects, leaving a lasting impact on the forest.

5. Forest Management and Expansion: Over the years, Mont Alto State Forest has undergone numerous management activities to sustainably utilize its natural resources. Periodic timber harvests and wildlife management initiatives are carried out to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

6. Recreational Amenities: Mont Alto State Forest offers various recreational activities, including hiking, picnicking, camping, and hunting. The forest boasts over 20 miles of hiking trails that provide outdoor enthusiasts with opportunities to immerse themselves in nature.

7. Collaboration with Other Conservation Entities: Mont Alto State Forest collaborates with neighboring Michaux State Forest and Caledonia State Park to protect and enhance the region's natural resources. These joint efforts aim to promote a holistic approach to conservation and outdoor recreation.

Mont Alto State Forest continues to be managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), catering to both the ecological needs of the forest and the recreational demands of the public.
1. Mont Alto State Park: This park is located within the forest and offers a variety of camping options, including tent sites and RV hookups.

2. Caledonia State Park: Located just north of Mont Alto Forest, this state park has over 100 campsites available for both tents and trailers with modern facilities like restrooms, showers etc.

3. Pine Grove Furnace State Park: It's about half an hour drive from the forest but it provides campgrounds that can accommodate anything from tents to large motor homes in its two organized group tenting areas.

4. Michaux State Forest Campground: Offers primitive backcountry camping experience where you need to carry all your necessities as no amenities are provided except pit toilets at some locations.

5. Gettysburg / Battlefield KOA Holiday: A private campground near Gettysburg offering cabins & lodges along with traditional campsites suitable for RVs or Tents.

6. Chambersburg/Lake Guilford Spring Campsite: Another privately owned site which features full hookup services perfect for those who prefer more comfort while being close to nature.

7. South Mountain Fair Tent Camping Area: Perfect place if you're looking forward attending South mountain fair happening every August since they offer basic grassy field type spots without any utilities.

Nearby Accommodations
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The Brickhouse Inn - Gettysburg, PA
BBs / Inns
Gracious accommodations and in-town convenience are the perfect combination for your stay in Gettysbug. 1898 brick Victorian in historic district. Walk to battlefield, restaurants, shops.
15.3 miles from park*
Nearby Vacation Rentals
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1. Mont Alto State Park Loop: This is a 0. 8-mile loop trail that offers an easy hike for beginners and families with children, featuring beautiful wildflowers during springtime.

2. Michaux Forest - Pole Steeple Trail: A moderate difficulty level hiking path of about three miles round trip starting from the Laurel Lake area in Pine Grove Furnace State Park to the top of South Mountain's quartzite cliffs offering panoramic views over Cumberland Valley.

3. Appalachian National Scenic Trail Section Hike-PA Route 233 To US Route 30: It's approximately a nine-mile section on one of America's most famous trails running through part of Michaux state forest which includes steep climbs, rocky terrain but also provides breathtaking vistas along its route.

4. Sunset Rocks via Appalachian Trail (South): An approximate five mile out-and-back trail located near Gardners that features stunning rock formations and scenic overlooks; it has some challenging sections including scrambling up rocks so not recommended for novice hikers or those afraid heights.

5. Rocky Knob Quartzite Quarry Interpretive Geology Walking Tour: This unique interpretive geology walking tour takes you around old abandoned quarries where you can see different types minerals found within these ancient geological sites; this short half-a-mile walk starts at parking lot off PA-16 west Mont Alto campus PennState University.

6. White Oak Ridge / Three Square Hollow Trails: These interconnected network trails provide opportunities explore diverse ecosystems ranging hardwood forests wetlands ; they vary length complexity depending your chosen route, total distance could be anywhere between two ten miles.

7. Long Pine Run Reservoir Area Trails: Located western edge park, there are several multi-use paths suitable both hiking mountain biking surrounding reservoir providing picturesque water woodland scenes throughout year.

8. Rattlesnake Run ATV/OHV Riding & Hiking Pathways: While primarily designed all-terrain vehicles other motorized recreational use, these trails also open hikers ; they offer challenging terrain including steep inclines , rocky surfaces mud holes depending recent weather conditions.

9. Flat Rock Trail: A 2. 5-mile trail that takes you to a beautiful overlook with views of the surrounding forest and mountains; it's moderately difficult due some steep sections but well worth effort for stunning scenery at top.

10. Birch Run Road - Michaux State Forest: This is an easy, relatively flat hiking path stretching about four miles along scenic Birch Run Creek which provides opportunities wildlife viewing birdwatching in addition enjoying peaceful woodland surroundings.

11. Midstate Trail: Wandering through heart Mont Alto State Forest, this long-distance footpath offers more experienced adventurers chance undertake multi-day hikes across diverse landscapes from mountain ridges deep valleys featuring numerous flora fauna species native region.

12. Tumbling Waters Nature Walk: An accessible half-a mile loop walk suitable all ages abilities showcasing variety local plant life alongside babbling brook cascading waterfall making ideal choice those seeking gentle stroll rather than strenuous hike.

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Area Campgrounds
Gettysburg Campground
2030 Fairfield Road
Gettysburg, PA
Gettysburg KOA Kampground
20 Knox Road
Gettysburg, PA
Granite Hill Camping Resort
3340 Fairfield Road
Gettysburg, PA
Pine Ridge Campground
2635 Shippensburg Road
Biglerville, PA
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Rouzerville Fish & Game
11721 Woodhaven Rd
Waynesboro, PA
(717) 762-5098
Area Cabins and Lodges
Liberty Mountain Resort & Conference Center
78 Country Club Trl
Fairfield, PA
(717) 642-8282

1. Start by heading onto I:81 and take Exit 20 for PA-997 toward Scotland.
2. Turn left onto PA:997 South/Black Gap Road (signs for Fayetteville).
3. Continue on this road for approximately 4 miles until you reach a T:junction with Main Street in the town of Fayetteville.
4. Take a right turn onto Main Street and drive through the town center.
5. After passing through Fayetteville, continue straight as the road becomes Mentzer Gap Road/PA:233 North.
6. Follow this road northward for about 7 miles until you arrive at another T:junction intersection with Buchanan Trail East/US Route 30 West near Caledonia State Park Visitor Center.

At this point, there are two options depending on which part of Mont Alto State Forest you want to visit:

For access to Michaux District:
7a) If your destination is within Michaux District or Pine Grove Furnace State Park area, make a slight left turn from Buchanan Trail East onto Mountain Creek Road/Michaux Road just before reaching US Route 30 junction mentioned earlier.
8a) Stay on Mountain Creek Road/Michaux Rd., following signs towards Pine Grove Furnace/Camp Nawakwa/Pole Steeple trailhead if desired.

For access via Old Forge Picnic Area:
7b) To reach other parts of Mont Alto SF such as Old Forge Picnic Area or Quarry Gap Recreation Area,.
continue straight across Buchanan Trail E./US Rt.-30 that aforementioned junction instead
onto Shippensburg Rd/Old Rte.-16W.,
9b.) Drive along Shippensburg Rd/Old Rte.:16W.for around half-mile then make sharp right-turn into an unmarked gravel/dirt-road entrance leading directly into forested areas where various recreational facilities can be found.

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Pennsylvania State Parks