Home | Getting Started | Gift Center | Gear Store | Topo Maps | My Wildernet | Newsletter Signup
STATE:
ACTIVITY:
SEARCH:
Pennsylvania > Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests > Michaux State Forest
Destination Locator: (19 options)

Michaux State Forest



Caledonia State Park- Caledonia is a treasure for nature enthusiasts and historians. Because it is near Gettysburg, the park has become a favorite for Civil War buffs who find it ideal for family outings. Other unique features of this park include an 18-hole golf course and part of the Appalachian Trail which traverses through the central portion of the park.
Mont Alto State Park- Once the site of an iron furnace, Mont. Alto State Park is the oldest state park in Pennsylvania. Picnicking is a very popular activity. Nearby attractions include Michaux State Forest and Penn State Mont. Alto Campus.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park- The historical character of the park is enhanced by its natural beauty. This park was once the site of the Pine Grove Furnace Iron Works that dates from 1764. Historical buildings include the ironmaster's mansion, a gristmill, an inn and several residences. The self-guiding historical trail leads you through the remains of the iron works. The Appalachian Trail passes through the park.

Search by Name within Pennsylvania:



Activity Locator: (322 recreation options)

Activities within Michaux State Forest:

All Michaux State Forest Outdoor Recreation Activities

Michaux State Forest Customized Topo Maps and Aerial Photos
Outdoor Gear and Clothing

Search by Name within Pennsylvania:



Trip Planner

Hotels Airline Tickets Car Rentals
B&Bs Yellow Pages City Guide


General Information

Description - The Michaux State Forest encompasses about 85,000+ acres in the South Mountains, which is a narrow mountain range extending though Virginia, Maryland and about 40 miles into South central Pennsylvania, in a generally northeast to southwest direction. The range itself is six to seven miles wide and is bounded on both sides by broad fertile agricultural valleys including several large communities with a wide variety of light to medium industry.

The district maintains about 130 miles of gravel roads. It is dotted with ponds, lakes and reservoirs as well as many miles of natural trout streams, all of which serve to create an unusual scenic attraction. The district office administers many leases and right-of-way agreements. A partial list of these would include almost 500 leased campsites, pipeline, power line and telephone rights-of-way, road use agreements, numerous water use agreements, including both rights-of-ways for transmission lines and leases for water supply structures.

Within the state forest and operating under a separate administration are three state parks. Caledonia State Park is a little less than 1,200 acres and located about the middle of this long and narrow state forest. Pine Grove Furnace State Park is situated in the northern end of the state forest and is about 700 acres in size. Mont. Alto State Park is 35 acres and is the oldest state park in Pennsylvania. These state parks receive heavy public year-round use. They provide snowmobiling opportunities, swimming, picnicking, hunting, fishing and associated recreation. Caledonia and Pine Grove Furnace also provide a jumping off point for hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

The Michaux District is the only of the 20 State Forest Districts to administer a state-owned golf course.

Attractions - The Michaux State Forest encompasses about 85,000+ acres in the South Mountains, which is a narrow mountain range extending though Virginia, Maryland and about 40 miles into South central Pennsylvania, in a generally northeast to southwest direction. The range itself is six to seven miles wide and is bounded on both sides by broad fertile agricultural valleys including several large communities with a wide variety of light to medium industry.

Transportation in the area is very good with Interstates 81 and 83 running roughly parallel to each other on the west and east sides of the mountain range respectively. U.S. Route 30 cuts the area approximately in half in the east and west direction and the Pennsylvania Turnpike traverses east and west through the northern part of the section.

Historically, the Michaux State Forest has played an important role in Pennsylvania's forest conservation movement. The first tract of land was purchased here in 1901. The majority of what is today Michaux State Forest had been acquired by the early 1930's. It was originally two separate state forests, the Michaux and the Mont. Alto. These were consolidated under one District administration in 1942.

The Michaux State Forest can boast many firsts in forestry in Pennsylvania. The first forest tree nursery was established at Mont. Alto in 1902 and one year later the Pennsylvania State Forest Academy was opened near the Nursery at the site of the old Mont. Alto Iron Furnace. One primary purpose of the forest academy was to train professional foresters for the Bureau of Forestry, which was in the Department of Agriculture at that time. This forest can also claim the first wooden fire tower built in the state in 1905 and the first steel structure built in 1914. It also was the first (and only, we hope) State Forest to have a steel fire tower cut down by vandals in 1972. The first forest tree plantings and cultural work on state forests were concentrated in this area primarily because of the location of the Mont. Alto Forest Academy. For a short time, in its early years, the Bureau, under Dr. Rothrock, originated and administered the South Mountain tuberculosis sanatorium. This was subsequently turned over to the Department of Health and has been converted to a geriatric center since tuberculosis is no longer a major health problem.

The district maintains about 130 miles of gravel roads. The area is dotted with ponds, lakes and reservoirs as well as many miles of natural trout streams, all of which serve to create an unusual scenic attraction. The district office administers many leases and right-of-way agreements. A partial list of these would include almost 500 leased campsites, pipeline, power line and telephone rights-of-way, road use agreements, numerous water use agreements, including both rights-of-ways for transmission lines and leases for water supply structures.

Recreation - Within the state forest and operating under a separate administration are three state parks. Caledonia State Park is a little less than 1,200 acres and located about the middle of this long and narrow state forest. Pine Grove Furnace State Park is situated in the northern end of the state forest and is about 700 acres in size. Mont. Alto State Park is 35 acres and is the oldest state park in Pennsylvania. These state parks provide swimming, picnicking and associated recreation. Caledonia and Pine Grove Furnace also provide a jumping off point for hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

The area receives extremely heavy public pressure on a year-round basis. Snowmobiling has been increasing annually. York County, which is adjacent to the state forest, has the highest number of registered snowmobiles in the state. Hunting and fishing are popular pastimes throughout the area. Motorcycling and recreational vehicle uses are also increasing at an astounding rate. The close proximity to several large metropolitan areas is one of the major reasons for this extremely heavy use. Washington, DC and Baltimore are less than two hours away by car. Local residents and those enrolled at the many local colleges also constitute a large portion of the number of people utilizing the state forest.
It appears that rock climbing and primitive camping will become increasingly important within the next few years. The Michaux District is the only of the 20 State Forest Districts to administer a state-owned golf course.

Climate - Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Michaux State Forest area generally has fairly cold winter months. This lower central area has temperatures averaging above 28 degrees Fahrenheit (above -2 degrees Celsius). The region's average summer temperatures range 72 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 23 Celsius).

Location - The Michaux State Forest encompasses about 85,000+ acres in the South Mountains, which is a narrow mountain range extending though Virginia, Maryland and about 40 miles into South central Pennsylvania, in a generally northeast to southwest direction.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I took a group of 3 kids backpacking in Michaux -- this was the first backpacking experiences for all of us. We started at Caledonia and travelled south on the Appalachian Trail. It was a wonderful experience. We found a number of unexpected interesting locations, which made the trip seem worthwhile. There are several nice overlooks, a rocky mountaintop with great crevices to explore, and a delicious cool stream valley. And we were joined one night by a group of 20 girls from a local summer camp -- my boys liked that! The proximity of roads gives a sense of security to us first-timers (not to mention the mothers). I wouldn't call this an 'easy' trip, though -- some of the terrain is pretty difficult. We liked it so much, we went back the next summer with more kids.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Hermitage Cabin winter visit: http://members.fortunecity.com/shivers3/cabins/hermitage.html


More Information

Contact Information:
Michaux State Forest, District Forester, 10099 Lincoln Way East , Fayetteville, PA, 17222, Phone: 717-352-2211, Fax: 717-352-3007

Additional Information:
Caledonia State Park - Caledonia is a treasure for nature enthusiasts and historians. Because it is near Gettysburg, the park has become a favorite for Civil War buffs who find it ideal for family outings. Other unique features of this park include an 18-hole golf course and part of the Appalachian Trail which traverses through the central portion of the park.
Hershey / Dutch Country Area - History and natural delights intermingle with the hand-plowed farm fields of the Amish and the scent of the Hershey Chocolate Factory.
Mont Alto State Park - Once the site of an iron furnace, Mont. Alto State Park is the oldest state park in Pennsylvania. Picnicking is a very popular activity. Nearby attractions include Michaux State Forest and Penn State Mont. Alto Campus.
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests - Pennsylvania is known for producing some of the most valuable hardwood timber in the world. The 2.1 million acres of state forest land are protected from fire, destructive insects and diseases while offering a beautiful recreation environment for the visitor. Pennsylvania's State Park system offers visitors year-round recreational enjoyment as well. Amenities include: camping, picnicking, hiking, an assortment of winter sports and the viewing of the natural biological diversity and ecosystems found within the Commonwealth.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park - The historical character of the park is enhanced by its natural beauty. This park was once the site of the Pine Grove Furnace Iron Works that dates from 1764. Historical buildings include the ironmaster's mansion, a gristmill, an inn and several residences. The self-guiding historical trail leads you through the remains of the iron works. The Appalachian Trail passes through the park.

Links:
Michaux State Forest - Official agency website

Advertisement





About Wildernet |  Email to a Friend  |  Disclaimer |  Privacy |  Contact Us  | Comments & Suggestions
Advertisers & Sponsors |  Owners & Operators |  Tourism Promotors
©1995-2017 Interactive Outdoors Inc. All rights reserved.