National Parks in Pennsylvania National Parks in Pennsylvania

Outdoor Paradise: The National Parks in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is home to two major cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburg, and has almost 19 National Parks. There is truly a little of everything to do in the Keystone State.

There are various memorial places to visit in Pennsylvania, like the South Fork Dam, Delaware River, and crash site national parks.

There is 1 National Forest, 20 State Forests, 116 State Parks, and 294 sections of State Game Lands in Pennsylvania. We will cover some of the Pennsylvania National Parks in this article.

Pennsylvania national parks have a thriving population of black bears, white-tailed deer, and much other wildlife you may find in a park. The Appalachian Trail covers 229 miles of the state.

From Gettysburg to the Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell, there is a treasure of sites to see for history buffs on the Appalachian Trail.

We know Liberty Bell as the figure of democracy and freedom. We also know the Appalachian Trail A.T., a famous hiking trail. If you enjoy this, you may also love the Clark National Historic Trail.

1. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site

Exploring the Allegheny National Forest | Visit ANF

Allegheny National Park is in western Pennsylvania. It is approximately 80 miles east of Pittsburg.

This park counts as one of the most beautiful national parks. The park offers various opportunities to visit an engine house, tavern, historic railroad tunnel, and bridge.

History of Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site

During the 1820s, the United States was moving West, but transportation was not what it is now.

The Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania had a major problem with railroads. It was dangerous for the locomotives of the 1820s to handle the steep grades of the mountains.

Pennsylvania Public Works’ mainline solved this problem by building the Allegheny Portage Railroad.

Lemon House

The Park contains a lemon house that used to be a tavern for travelers. They have restored it to look like it was in the 1820s. Visitors can also visit the stable tunnel, the United State’s first railroad.

The second floor of the lemon house contains a park library and office space for the staff.

Activities at the park

Minister Creek Trail - Allegheny National Forest - PA

There are various exercises at Allegheny Portage National Park in Pennsylvania. Park trails follow sections of the original route of the Allegheny Portage Railroad and allow hikers to see where features of the railroad would have been located.

Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site has over 15 miles of trails in different sections of the national park.

There are certain points to remember while hiking trails or availing National Park Service at the Allegheny Portage National Park.

Instructions on National Park Service

  • They do not permit bicycles on the Summit area trails. However, they have permitted bicycles on the part of the Incline 6 to 10 trail.
  • Cross-country ski use is allowed.
  • Pets must be on a 6-foot (max) leash during the hiking trails. Pet owners are required to clean up after their pet’s litter.
  • They do not permit hunting on National Park Service land.
  • Wear bright colors during hunting season. While they do not permit hunting on parkland, State Game Lands will be busy during hunting seasons.
  • ATV (All-Terrain Vehicles) of any description, snowmobiles, and 4 x 4 off-road vehicles is not permitted
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By: Snehit Photo on Shutterstock

Skew Arch Bridge

The Skew Arch Bridge of Allegheny Portage Railroad is one of the unique features of the National Park. A trail can access the Skew Arch Bridge at the end of the boardwalk.

We advise it to keep in mind that the trail is downhill on the way to the bridge, roughly following Inclined Plane 6, and requires a steep hike on the way back from the bridge. It is almost 1/3 mile long each way.

2. Gettysburg National Military Park, National Historical Park

Gettysburg National Military Park FULL Drive Through Tour

History Of Gettysburg

The Gettysburg National Military Park is, located 50 miles northwest of Baltimore, the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and was the site of the largest battle ever waged during the American Civil Revolutionary War.

The battle was fought for three days in July 1863, and it resulted in a massive victory for the Union “Army of Potomac.” The Gettysburg National Military Park is a national memorial to the Army.

This was one of the bloodiest single battles, which resulted in over 51,000 soldiers killed, wounded, captured, or going missing.

To properly bury the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg, a “Soldiers Cemetery” was made on the battleground near the center of the Union line.

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By: Woodsnorthphoto on Shutterstock

During the dedication ceremony on November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln spoke of “these honored dead…” and renewed the Union cause to reunite the war-torn nation with his famous speech, the “Gettysburg Address.”

The Gettysburg National Military Park cemetery contains over 7,000 interments, including over 3,500 from the Civil War.

Seasons at Gettysburg

Like much of the Mid-Atlantic, it displays all four seasons at this national historic site. Whether visit in autumn to see spectacular fall foliage or experience springtime blooms in April and May.

Summer can get hot, so visitors should always carry plenty of water. And there’s nothing so serene as the battlefield covered in snow during the cold winter season.

We recommend checking with park rangers about current conditions before visiting the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Fees for entrance

Entrance to the Gettysburg National Military Park is free, although there are fees associated with the museum in the park.

Visitors may also choose to book a guided tour of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield, and we recommend that you book these at least three days ahead of time as they fill up pretty quickly.

General Information for Gettysburg National Military Park:

Gettysburg National Military Park | Museum | Battlefield | Visitor Center | POV Tour | Pennsylvania

  • Opens daily from sunrise at 8 am to sunset at 5 pm.
  • Pets are not allowed in the Museum and Visitor Center, but they welcome service dogs.
  • Firearms in the National Park. They amended the law governing possession of firearms inside a national park on February 22, 2010. Visitors may possess firearms within a national park unit only when they comply with federal, state, and local laws.
  • The role of the responsible gun owner is to know and abide by the federal, state, and local laws appropriate to the park they are visiting. It is important to remember that federal law prohibits firearms in certain park facilities and buildings. They marked these places with signs at public entrances.
  • They do not permit backpacks in the Museum and Visitor Center. Exceptions are backpacks considered medical and first-aid packs, camera bags, or essential baby bags.
  • They added security guards to the Museum and Visitor Center, with the ever-changing level of security being incorporated at museums and parks around the country. They will help ensure the safety of all visitors to the complex, which accommodates over one million visitors each year.
  • They do not permit bicycles either on the sidewalks or the walking paths. Bicycles were to be parked at the bike racks in the Parking Lot.

3. State National Historic Park (First State National Historical Park in Pennsylvania)

First State NHP is in four different sites in Pennsylvania and Delaware region. One of these units is in southern Pennsylvania. Woodlawn Tract is over 1,100 acres in Northern Delaware and Southern Pennsylvania.

The park site sits next to Brandywine State Park and has trails for hiking and horseback riding and the opportunity to see various historic Quaker houses. This national historical park is a national scenic trail with also a brilliant national historic trail.

The Delaware River, the largest free-flowing river in the eastern United States, floes through.

This wild and scenic river also has Delaware Water Gap national recreation areas. Potomac Heritage Trail covers this scenic river.

First State

Famous as the First State to ratify the Constitution, Delaware emerged out of a conflict among three world powers for dominance of the Delaware Valley.

Park staff placed large boulders in 2016 to provide a natural bench for visitors to sit and reflect as they take in the rolling hills and scenic vista of the greater Brandywine Valley.

The site contains various historical sites to visit.

Historic Sites

  • Brandywine Valley
  • Fort Christina, National Memorial.
  • Old Sews Historic site
  • New Castle, Fort Necessity.
  • The Green, Dover
  • John Dickinson, Plantation

History of State National Park

This area was once home to the Lenape village of Queonemysing. As the years passed, English colonists would settle throughout the area.

The Quakers took advantage of the fast-moving creeks and started building mills that produced wool, paper, and other goods to generate a profit.

They also started cultivating agricultural fields to support their small village and ship goods to far destinations.

The mills are no longer visible, but you can still see a variety of agricultural fields that have existed for centuries and continue to provide food for the Delaware Valley.

Landscapes and Monuments

When you visit the State National Historical Park, take a moment to look at these historic structures, beautiful landscapes, and national memorials, which are a natural beauty.

There is nothing like something old to see, and that’s what the newly minted First State National Historical Park is. You can visit the first National Park Service site in Delaware’s history, which surrounds the history of the nation’s first state and also the Independence National Historical Park.

The park has the Independence Hall, a historical civil war representation. The Independence Hall is a declaration of independence of the U.S.

4. Steamtown National Historic Site

Scranton, Pennsylvania - Steamtown National Historic Site - Full Tour HD (2017)

Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton is a reminder of the history of steam railroad transportation and teaches the people about who built the industrial railroad.

Railroad of Steamtown

Steam locomotives excite the senses as the national historic site keeps their stories alive. You can feel the heat from the firebox, hear the bell and whistle, smell the hot steam and oil., feel the ground vibrate under your feet, and see one-ton drive rods push the wheels around.

Hear the chuff-chuff-chuff of the train. You can relive the steam era as the engines come back to life. The cinders, grease, oil, steam, people, and railroading stories returned to the Steamtown National historic sites.

Things to do at the National Historic Site

You can discover the history of steam locomotives and the anthracite railroads by watching our 18-minute orientation film “Steel and Steam” or browsing this National Historic site. People can explore the Roundhouse and get a personal look at our rolling stock.

They can join the “room where it happened,” a park ranger, or volunteer on a guided tour of Steamtown’s Locomotive Repair Shop.

Exploring the Steamtown National Historic Site | January 2021

You get to find that perfect souvenir to capture your Steamtown experience or give it as a gift to a train aficionado in our Park Store.

Last but not least, you can hop onboard our seasonal short train rides or longer train excursions for the ultimate hands-on Steamtown experience.

There are train and rail yard safe measures to be known to the visitors.

Safety Measures

  • Trains are large and can move anytime. You assume that ALL tracks are active and that a train can be on them.
  • The railroad tracks produce a tripping hazard, whether above ground or embedded in concrete, wood, or macadam.
  • All the cars and locomotives in the Steamtown collection have not been stabilized. We advise it not to climb on any of the railroad equipment.
  • Steam locomotives release live steam from the cylinders, sometimes from under the front of the locomotive. This live steam can be dangerous and hence advised to be cautious.
  • Steamtown National Historic Site is an active National heritage site. Please supervise your children at all times.
  • Cinders from operating steam locomotives can often cause eye irritation. If you get a cinder in your eye, we advise you not to rub it. Be sure to blink repeatedly, and the tears will wash the cinder out. If it does not, contact a Park Ranger or Volunteer for help.
  • Individuals with breathing difficulties need to know that steam and smoke are part of the steam railroading experience and may create breathing troubles.
  • Other hazards may show themselves. Please exercise caution at all times during the visit.

5. Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Forge National Historical Park  Tour

Valley Forge is a historical place. Valley Forges National Historical Park is the site of the 1777-1778 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington.

Here the Continental Army, a collection of disparate colonial militias supported by hundreds of camp followers and allies, emerged under Washington’s leadership as a united and disciplined fighting force.

Valley Forge History

In late 1777, when the British occupied the patriot capital of Philadelphia, Washington had his troops in winter at Valley Forge, only a day’s march from the city.

Valley Forge was a defensible plateau where they could train and recoup from the year’s battles while winter weather, impassable roads, and insufficient supplies stopped the fighting.

Encampment History

On December 19th, 1777, 12,000 soldiers and 400 women and children marched into Valley Forge and built what substantially became the fourth largest city in the colonies, with 1,500 log huts and two miles of fortifications.

Lasting six months, from December until June, the encampment was as diversified as any city. It comprised free and enslaved African American soldiers and civilians, Indigenous people, wealthy officers, impoverished enlisted men, European immigrants, speakers of several languages, and adherents of multiple religions.

Encampment Tour

Valley Forge: A Winter Encampment

The Encampment Tour route is a 10-mile driving loop comprising 9 major tour stops plus moments to stop and explore Valley Forge National Historical Park. On a first-time visit, the route can be thoroughly experienced by the vehicle.

Driving the route in your vehicle can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2-3 hours to complete, depending on your stops and how much time you spend.

The route features some of the most scenic views of the park and many of the sites and monuments.

’78 Mile Challenge

The ’78 Mile Challenge is a fun way to memorialize your outdoor enjoyment at Valley Forge National Historical Park!

To complete the challenge, they invite participants to walk, run, bike, hike, or paddle on the trails, roads, and waterways within the park.

You have to keep track of the miles you have covered within the area of Valley Forge National Historical Park. And when you reach the number 78′, you will be awarded a special prize.

The ’78 Mile Challenge is a Healthy program run for the entertainment of visitors at Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Museum Exhibit

Valley Forge Revolutionary War Cabin Reproduction
Image Source: depositphotos

Explore the sights, sounds, and stories of the Valley Forge National Historical park encampment during a visit to the new museum exhibit in the Visitor Center at Valley Forge, which opens daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. It is one of the eyes.

As you move through the exhibit, you’ll discover how men, women, and children from many walks of life all struggled together during the winter of 1777-78 and how they pursued overcoming incredible hardships.

Closing Thoughts

And with this, we come to the end of our list. Let me remind you that this is not it, and there are more than you are reading about in this list.

Have fun!

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