Pennsylvania National Parks


Pennsylvania is the cradle of American Democracy, but also home to plenty of natural beauty. Come #FindYourPark in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania National Parks


Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site

Opened in 1834, the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site was the first direct route from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh by rail. Guests can explore the Engine House No. 6 Exhibit Shelter, which includes interactive exhibits of how the engine house might have run, and the also The Lemon House which served as a tavern along the route. The Summit Level Visitor Center shows a short film about the railroad while Ranger led van tours are also available.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail - CT, GA, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

One of America's most famous trails, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail stretches an incredible 2,180 miles and runs nearly the entire length of the eastern United States from Maine to Georgia. The trail was constructed by private citizens and completed in 1937. Today, the trail is maintained by several federal and state agencies, as well as volunteer groups.

Click here for more information on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Benjamin Franklin National Memorial

The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial resides at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA, and is part of Independence National Historical Park. The statue is twenty feet tall and was sculpted by James Earle Fraser from 1906 to 1911. It was designated a National Memorial in 1972.

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail - VA, MD, DE, DC, PA, NY

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail explores the stories, people, and landscapes documented by John Smith and his crew as they set out to map 3,000 miles of the Chesapeake area between 1607 and 1609. Today you can still explore these areas, and popular activities include visiting Jamestown Island, boating, paddling, or canoeing the waters of the Chesapeake, sailing, learning about 17th-century America at a historical park, or just viewing the wildlife. There are literally hundreds of sites, trails, and places to visit along the way.

The Chesapeake National Historic Trail makes its way through parts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and New York. For more information about places to visit along the trail, visit the official website here. The trail is managed in partnership by the National Park Service and the Chesapeake Conservancy.

Chesapeake Bay - DC, DE, MD, NY, PA, VA, WV

Chesapeake Bay and its watershed covers 64,000 square miles of area and is the largest estuary in the United States. In 2009 by Presidential Executive Order, a broad plan was put in place to protect Chesapeake Bay and to help preserve and restore the area for future generations. With the help of other organizations, along with the National Park Service, the strategy includes the addition of 300 new public access sites by 2025, while conserving an additional 2,000,000 acres.

Visitor Centers for the park are located at the Zimmerman Center for Heritage in Wrightsville, PA, Columbia Crossing in Columbia, PA, and Sultana Education Foundation in Chestertown, MD. See findyourchesapeake.com for information on things to do.

Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor

The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor preserves the historic pathway between  the towns of Wilkes-Barre in the Poconos and Philadelphia. The path was used to transport coal, lumber, and other goods. Today it's being developed as a historic and recreational area. Visitors can explore the National Canal Museum, hike parts of the Delaware & Lehigh Trail, or float parts of the river that runs through it.

For more information and trip ideas, see their website.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area - NJ, PA

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a 70,000-acre park in northeast Pennsylvania that straddles the border with New Jersey. It's a skinny park that protects a long strip of land on either side of the Delaware River. This includes 40 miles of the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River and 27 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Other activities in the park include camping hiking, scenic roadways, and the 1,000 Delaware Water Gap. Several properties and buildings in the park are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area was established in 1965 and is open year round.

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, writer, and poet. His works were famously macabre and dark and include such stories as "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Pit and the Pendulum," and his famous poem "The Raven."

Poe only lived in Philadelphia for six years, but it was some of his most productive time. Visitors to the site can enjoy either a self-guided or Ranger-led tour of his home, which is the only residence of his that remains. Learn about his life and works, and enjoy listening to them read aloud in the imaginative Reading Room.

The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site became a Park Service site in 1962 and is affiliated with nearby Independence National Historical Park.

Eisenhower National Historic Site

Sitting adjacent to the Gettysburg battlefield, the Eisenhower National Historic Site preserves the farm of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 36th President of the United States. Several tours are available for both the home and the grounds which have been kept and maintained as they were during Ike's years living here, and the home retains almost all of its original furnishings.

President Eisenhower donated the home to the National Park Service in 1967, and the park covers 690 acres today.

First State National Historical Park - PA, DE

First State National Historical Park is Delaware's only National Park Site and celebrates its status and fame as being the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States of America along with other important historical sites around the state. The park is made up of seven individual sites spread throughout Delaware - Beaver Valley, Fort Christina, the original Swedish colony in Delaware, Old Swedes Historic Site, New Castle, The Green in Dover, the John Dickinson Plantation, and the Ryves Holt House, part of one of the first Dutch settlements in America.

Hours depend on each site, and seven different Passport Stamps are available at each site, including a bonus Underground Railroad Network to Freedom stamp that some sites are involved with. The Beaver Valley site is the largest portion of the park covering 1,100 acres, and extends into neighboring Pennsylvania. The park was designated and approved by Congress in 2015.

Flight 93 National Memorial

Flight 93 National Memorial remembers those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and the brave crew and passengers on board who thwarted an attack on the United States Capitol. The Memorial is located in southwestern Pennsylvania, approximately 20 miles from Somerset, PA, and can be explored with interactive tours via smartphone. A Visitor Center, Memorial Plaza, and final resting places for the 40 on-board can all be explored here.

Fort Necessity National Battlefield

Fort Necessity was the location of the first battle of the French and Indian War in 1754 that paved the way for the removal of the French from American soil. Disputes between the English and the French escalated over who was going to control territory along the Ohio River between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi. The ensuing skirmishes allowed a young soldier named George Washington to hone his skills on the battlefield, which would help him win the American Revolution and become the first President of the United States.

Start your visit at the Visitor Center to watch a short film and learn more about the Fort, and then explore the Great Meadow and Fort Necessity. Guided tours are offered throughout the year, as well as living history programs with period firearm demonstrations. The Battlefield was transferred to the National Park Service in 1933 from the U.S. War Department and was designated a National Battlefield on August 10, 1961. In 1966, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Friendship Hill National Historic Site

Friendship Hill is the restored home and country estate of Albert Gallatin, and the original brick house was built here in 1789. Gallatin served in many roles, most notably as Secretary of the Treasury from 1801 until 1814. His tenure under Presidents Jefferson and Madison make it the longest held of anyone for that position in American history. He is also recognized for his purchase of the Louisiana Territory, providing for Lewis & Clark's expedition.

The Gallatin House is also home to the Visitor Center, and guests can explore parts of the original home on a self-guided tour. Outdoors, explore the 661 acre park and ten miles of trails that are part of the Allegheny Plateau.  The Gallatin House was originally added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and designated a National Historic Site in 1978. It is co-managed with Fort Necessity National Battlefield.

Gettysburg National Military Park

The battle of Gettysburg was many  things - the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War, the turning point for the Union Army to turn back the Confederacy, and the site of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. As such, there's a lot of American history to explore here, and Gettysburg National Military Park aims to tell the stories and preserve the history of one of the most epic battles in the history of the United States military. Visitors to the site can experience the park in many ways from visiting the various battlefield sites with a licensed guide, to exploring the 22,000 sq. ft. Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War. The short 20-minute film, "A New Birth of Freedom," is shown throughout the day at the Visitor Center, and the Museum Bookstore is available for more information.

Ranger Programs, along with Battlewalk and Campfire Programs, are all available throughout the year to visitors, in addition to living history demonstrations. Other places to visit on the grounds are the David Wills house where President Lincoln prepared his Gettysburg Address and the Eisenhower National Historic Site which sits adjacent to the battlefield. There is also the Gettysburg National Cemetery which is part of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. Gettysburg National Military Park was established in 1895.

Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site

Gloria Dei Church is Pennsylvania's oldest church and is not far from Independence National Historical Park. The church was constructed between 1698 and 1700 by Swedish settlers and today, its congregation still maintains it with help from the National Park Service. Admission to the church is free, and in the cemetery, you can find grave markers from soldiers who served under George Washington.

Gloria Dei, or Old Swedes' Church as it's known, became a National Historic Site in 1942 and is managed as part of Independence National Historical Park.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site

Hopewell Furnace operated from 1771-1883 and helped propel U.S. industry forward during the Industrial Revolution. This "iron plantation" contains several buildings and structures to explore on the nearly 900-acre property, including the Visitor Center, the Blacksmith Shop, Charcoal Furnace, Cast House, and several other historical buildings used in the process of turning out iron. Ranger-led programs are available, as well as self-guided tours. Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site was established in 1938.

Independence National Historical Park

Independance Hall Philadelphia

Independence National Historical Park in the heart of Philadelphia is a collection of sites and buildings that interpret and preserve the stories and events the led to the birth of the United States of America and its independence from the British. These sites were the backdrop to many of America's most important and critical moments in its history. Sites include Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was argued and ultimately signed by the Founding Fathers, Franklin Court, home of Benjamin Franklin's printing press and other Franklin memorabilia, the President's House Site where both George Washington and James Madison once lived, the Declaration House, once home to Thomas Jefferson and where he drafted the Declaration of Independence, and so many others.

Visitors should start their visit in the Independence Visitor Center for information about the sites and to reserve your spot for a tour of Independence Hall, which is usually limited each day. From there, it's an easy walk to most of the sites and even some related sites that are not part of the park like the Betsy Ross House and the National Constitution Center. Plan on spending most of the day exploring the park. For something extra fun, try visiting on the 4th of July. The annual parade passes by Independence Hall, and the day is filled with special events, visits by some special folks like Betsy Ross, and plenty of red, white, and blue. At only 55 acres, the park has been nicknamed "America's most historic square mile."

Independence National Historical Park was established in 1948, and Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Declaration House Philadelphia

Johnstown Flood National Memorial

On Friday, May 31, 1889,  the South Fork Dam failed and sent  20,000,000 tons of roaring water into South Fork, PA, killing 2,209 people. The National Memorial remembers the victims and allows visitors to learn more about this tragic event. Visitors to the park can watch a short film at the Visitor Center about the flood and then from there, hike to various spots like the bottom of the dam where interpretive plaques are available. Other Ranger-led programs are available, as well as tours to see other parts of the preserved dam. The Johnstown Flood National Memorial was authorized by Congress in 1964.

Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area - MD, PA, VA, WV

Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area follows the Old Carolina Road from Gettysburg in Pennsylvania to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Albemarle County, VA, and connects communities in Maryland and West Virginia along the way. Historic sites, Civil War battlefields, and plenty of natural beauty are what's in store for visitors who decide to explore the area. The NHA is 180 miles long and about 75 miles wide.  National Park Service Sites that are a part of the Heritage Area include Eisenhower National Historic Site and Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, Fredricksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park in Virginia, and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Maryland/West Virginia.

Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area was established in 2008, and in 2009 the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway was established. Be sure to visit the official website here for more information.

Lackawanna Valley National Heritage Area

Centered on Scranton, PA in northeastern Pennsylvania, Lackawanna Valley National Heritage Area promotes and preserves the region's cultural heritage and history, and provides recreational opportunities to enjoy throughout the year. One of the most popular activities here is the 70-mile long Lackawanna Valley trail system, which begins at the Lackawanna and Susquehanna Rivers. Steamtown National Historic Site is also a part of NHA.

Lackawanna Valley National Heritage Area was established in 2000 and is managed by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority. Read more about planning your trip here.

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail - PA, OH, WV, KY, IN, ID, IL, IA, KS, MO, MT, NE, ND, OR, SD, WA

The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail marks the historic journey by Merriweather Lewis and William Clark along 4,900 miles of wilderness from Pennsylvania all the way to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon. The Trail connects 16 states - Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon - and includes museums, landmarks, exhibits, and Visitor Centers along the route. For a complete list of markers and things to see and do, click here.

Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River - PA, NJ

The Delaware River is the largest free-flowing river in the United States, and in 2000, parts of the lower Delaware were protected as part of the Wild and Scenic River Program. Activities include boating, hiking, fishing, sightseeing, biking, and exploring many of the historic sites along the river. There are four Visitor Centers throughout the park for more information -  Delaware Canal State Park (between Easton and Bristol, PA), New Hope Visitor Center (New Hope, PA), The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park (Princeton, NJ), Washington Crossing State Park (Titusville, NJ). Visit their webpage for more information, recreational activities, and programs.

Middle Delaware National Scenic River - PA, NJ

The Middle Delaware National Scenic River is manged by the National Park Service along with Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and encompasses 40 miles of river for both scenic and recreational use. The Middle Delaware is also part of the Delaware River Water Trail, a unit of the National Recreation Trails Program. Hiking, paddling, swimming, fishing, and many other activities are popular on the Delaware and the surrounding areas.

North Country National Scenic Trail - MI, MN, ND, NY, OH, PA, WI

The North Country National Scenic Trail spans eight states and is part of the National Trails System Act signed into law by President Johnson in 1968. The North Country National Scenic Trail was added to the system in 1980 with seven states. Today, New York, Vermont, North Dakota, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin host parts of the trail.

There are currently over 1,775 miles of NPS-certified trail, with another 500-700 miles yet to be certified. It connects various landscapes, urban districts, historic sites, forests, lakes, canals, towns, and large cities.

Oil Region National Heritage Area

Oil Region National Heritage Area was first established as a Pennsylvania Heritage Area in 1994 and recognizes Pennsylvania's contribution to the first oil boom in America  - the result of the first successful commercial well that was dug here in 1859. In 2004, it was re-designated as a National Heritage Area and encompasses 708 square miles. The NHA is managed by the Oil Region Alliance with support from the National Park Service and provides recreation, historical preservation, education, and interpretation of the region's history and significance as the birthplace of the petroleum industry.

For more information about the Oil Region National Heritage Area, visit their website here

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail - DC, MD, PA, VA

The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is part of the larger Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail Network that runs throughout the Potomac River Corridor. Popular activities here include hiking, cycling, paddling, and other regional activities. There is also plenty of American history to explore as well.

Other popular trails within the Potomac Heritage Network include the Laurel Highlands Trail, Great Allegheny Passage, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, and the Civil War Defenses of Washington Trail. It also crosses the Appalachian Trail at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. The trail is managed by the National Park Service with help from the Potomac Heritage Trail Association along with other supporters.

Rivers Of Steel National Heritage Area

Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area showcases the industry and innovation of southwestern Pennsylvania's steel industry and features tours, workshops, festivals, and other local activities. Rivers of Steel NHA also promotes local community and economic revitalization. Visitors can explore Carrie Blast Furnaces used by U.S. Steel Homestead Steel Works, tour the area by riverboat, and explore the W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop which is a National Historic Landmark.

Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area was designated in 1996 and is managed by the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation. Learn more about it at riversofsteel.com.

Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area

Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area encompasses parts of the Schuylkill River Valley in southeastern Pennsylvania extending from Pottsville to Philadelphia.  It includes several National Park Service sites, such as Valley Forge National Historical Park, Independence National Historical Park, and Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. The Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area was established in 2000 and is managed by the Schuylkill River Greenways Association.

Steamtown National Historic Site

Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA encompasses about 63 acres in downtown at the former Scranton yards of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad (DL&W), and it tells the stories of the steam engine and its part in American railroad history. Visitors can tour the History, Roundhouse, and Technology Museums and take guided tours of the locomotive repair shops. Be sure to check the calendar for special events and demonstrations, along with steam train excursions. Steamtown National Historic Site was established in 1986.

Susquehanna National Heritage Area

The Susquehanna National Heritage Area was established to help protect historical, cultural, and recreational resources in Lancaster and York Counties in south-central Pennsylvania. The Susquehanna River has a long history as a transportation corridor, early gateway to the west, fishery, and a key economic driver for the area. The NHA also has a rich history involving the Revolutionary War and the Continental Congress, and it played host during the approval of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.

Susquehanna National Heritage Area has two Visitor Centers - the Zimmerman Center for Heritage and the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center. The Zimmerman Center is also the contact and passport station for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Susquehanna National Heritage Area was established in 2019 as America's 55th National Heritage Area. Visit their official site here to plan your trip.

Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial

Thaddeus Kosciuszko was a Polish freedom fighter during the American Revolution, as well as a military engineer. The site is within walking distance of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center in downtown Philadelphia and explores the life of this American patriot. There are exhibits, as well as a furnished bedchamber where he stayed, along with information about his career and some of his most notable visitors, including Thomas Jefferson.

Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial is administered by Independence National Historical Park, along with Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site and the Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site. The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and designated a National Memorial in 1972. It is the smallest unit of the National Park System at 0.02 acres.

Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River - NY, PA

The Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River provides a natural boundary between 5 counties and 15 towns in New York and Pennsylvania and aims to preserve the scenic beauty of the area, along with historically and culturally significant sites. It became part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System in 1978, and today is a prime recreational area for hikers, fishers, and boaters. The area is also home to the nation's oldest existing wire cable suspension bridge.

Valley Forge National Historical Park

George Washington's famous encampment at Valley Forge during the brutal winter of 1777-78 is legendary. Stories of suffering but resilient soldiers, Washington's measured leadership, and America's ultimate victory over the British are known by many, but historians also attribute Valley Forge as the birthplace of the modern American Army. Visitors to the park can enjoy exploring the 10-mile loop that covers 9 major stops along the way, including Washington's headquarters, the artillery park, and several statues and memorials.

Valley Forge was first established in 1893 as Pennsylvania's first state park and was later designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1961. President Ford made it a part of the National Park System in 1976 by signing it into law. The park encompasses 3,500 acres and has also served as the site of the Boy Scouts National Jamboree three times - in 1950, 1957, and 1964.

Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail - MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, DC

The Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail denotes one of the most successful troop movements in the Revolutionary War - one that led to victory over the British in Yorktown, Virginia, and eventually led to America's independence. General Rochambeau of France combined his forces with General Washington's, moving 680 miles over land and water to secure victory for the allies.

The Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail was formally recognized by Congress and singed into law by President Obama in 2009. The trail spans Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and what is now Washington D.C. It celebrates America's alliance with the French during our fight for independence and also highlights the historical and military significance that proved to be a pivotal moment in American history.

White Clay Creek Wild and Scenic River

White Clay Creek was designated in 2000 and is actually the first National Wild and Scenic River to have its entire watershed protected - not just a section of the river. The entire length of the protected river is 199 miles, flowing from southwestern Chester County, Pennsylvania, to northwestern New Castle County, Delaware. The river was designated for its scenery, bird watching, trout fishing, and for its historic sites such as lime kilns and 19th century mills. Read more about America's Wild and Scenic Rivers at rivers.gov.