If you are travelling to southeastern Pennsylvania, it is well worth popping into Mont Alto State Park for a quick visit.
Located in the Quincy Township of Franklin County, this 24 acre park is one of the smallest parks in the Pennsylvania state park system. It is also the oldest, having been established all the way back in 1902. (Initially it was called Mont Alto State Forest Park, but its name was later changed).
A noted spot for trout fishing, picnicking and snowmobiling in the winter, the park is also adjacent to the Michaux State Forest. Which itself provides visitors with excellent opportunities for hiking and hunting.
It is not the busiest Pennsylvania state park, so you are unlikely to see that many people here. But that is where much of its charm and appeal lies.
In short, Mont Alto State Park is a fantastic place to withdraw yourself from the pace of city life, relax and rejuvenate, and to immerse yourself in the heartwarming bosom of Mother Nature.
Mont Alto State Park can easily be reached by car from a number of major cities in the surrounding area.
From Baltimore it is just a 90 minute drive, while from the nation’s capital of Washington D.C. it will take you about an hour and 45 minutes to get there.
Similarly, Wilmington is around 2 hours and 30 away, whilst Philadelphia is a little bit further at 2 hours 45.
As a result, the park can easily be explored as a day trip destination from all of these places, if you don’t want to find overnight accommodation.
The park gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy its fabulous scenery in a number of ways.
Here are just a handful of some of the many things you can see and do when you get there.
Fishing at Mont Alto State Park
At the park, the West Branch Antietam Creek provides excellent trout fishing for those who come here to cast a line.
It is a lovely scenic spot in which to do so, but you will need a valid state licence and to abide by the local regulations and laws.
Hiking at Mont Alto State Park
While there is little in the way of hiking trails throughout the park, you will find several forest and logging management roads to walk along.
Not only will this give you access to a range of hiking opportunities at the adjacent Michaux State Forest, it will also provide you with an up close view of the flora and fauna that reside along it.
Picnicking at Mont Alto State Park
The picturesque park is a popular spot for families who love to picnic there.
Throughout the park there are two main picnic areas which accommodate about 50 tables between them.
There are also two pavilions as well, one of which is a former carousel house, which is now ADA accessible.
If you intend to visit the park in a large group, these pavilions can be reserved in advance. However, if they are left unreserved, they are available for everyone to use on a first come, first served basis.
Hunting at Mont Alto State Park
If you are into hunting, Mont Alto will provide you with access to the designated area at the Michaux State Forest, which is well set up for it.
Within this area, you will be able to hunt, trap and train your dog. Some of the typical game species you can snare include grouse, rabbit, deer, turkey and squirrel.
Please be aware that the hunting of woodchucks is not permitted. Dogs can also only be trained between Labor Day and March 31st.
If you decide to go hunting there, make sure you abide by the rules and regulations of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and DCNR.
Snowmobiling at Mont Alto State Park
When the winter comes, you will be able to enjoy snowmobiling along some of the beautiful trails that run all the way through the Michaux State Forest.
They open after the deer season finishes at the end of December and showcase the park’s outstanding scenery under a pristine blanket of pure white snow.
Right next to the park, Penn State University’s Mont Alto Campus is well worth a visit.
It is especially notable for the Campus Chapel, which was where John Brown, the famed abolitionist, taught Sunday school. During his period of residency at Chambersburg, when he planned his infamous Harpers Ferry Arsenal raid.
Also close to the park is the spectacular Michaux State Forest. Sprawling for 83,949-acres it is a lovely sport for fishing, hiking and hunting.
Some of the trees you will see in this area include pitch pine, Virginia pine, table mountain pine and short-leaf pine.
Pets at Mont Alto State Park
Pets are allowed in the park, but only within designated areas.
If you plan to bring your dog with you during your visit, it is worth contacting the main office for further details of what restrictions may apply.
Camping at Mont Alto State Park
Unfortunately there is no overnight camping accommodation available at the park.
However, right next to it, the Michaux State Forest has 24 designated motorized campsites, as well as a number of primitive tent sites too.
In addition, within a 30 miles radius of Mont Alto State Park, there are a number of other state parks where you can choose to stay.
Some of these include Colonel Denning State Park and Fowlers Hollow State Park, both of which are in Pennsylvania, as well as Gambrill State Park and South Mountain State Park, which are located in Maryland.
Mont Alto State Park
Mont Alto, PA 17237
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Mont Alto State Park:
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