Explore PA: King’s Gap State Park

Before moving to Florida, I had never gone on a hike by myself in a new area. It seems like that’s not that big of a deal, but for me it was. I had just started traveling on my own a few months prior and a cold day in January, I decided to head to King’s Gap State Park for a windy hike.

I decided to hike the Scenic Vista Trail because my favorite hikes include any type of mountain overlook or water feature or both. This one was limited to just the overlook but it was beautiful. At the top of the vista it was incredibly windy. The trees were swaying, and it was so dang cold it hurt my hands to take my gloves off for photos. But I did it anyway.

I took the trail on the right hand side up the hill, and then came down the left hand side. The uphill portion was steep, but manageable. The downhill section stopped me in my tracks. As you can see in the bottom left photo below, this was straight down hill, and it was a mix of snow and some ice. I definitely considered sliding down the hill on my butt rather than trying to keep my balance. In the end, I ended up attempting it by foot. I held onto some trees on the way down and did some sliding but it was a good time.

I never passed anyone on my hike on the trail. I ended up hiking around the mansion as well and still didn’t run into anyone. The first car I passed was on my way outside of the park. I’m sure it was due to the temperature and wind on the day I explored since I was probably a little crazy to go when I did. Oh well.

If you’re interested in hiking, there’s a variety of trails with different lengths you can explore covering about 25 miles. They also have group camping opportunities and the chance to stay at the mansion up on the hill. You can check out that info here.

On my way back to Lancaster, I decided to use the “avoid highways” option on my GPS and got to wind through the countryside from the Carlisle area back to Lancaster. It was a longer drive, but worth the time!