Gifford Pinchot State Park, a 2,338-acre full service park, is in northern York County along PA 177 between the towns of Rossville and Lewisberry. The park consists of reverting farm fields and wooded hillsides with the 340-acre Pinchot Lake serving as a prime attraction.
What is pictured is mostly the Lakeside trail with a diversion to Ridge Trail at about mi 1.5 on map,onto Old Farm at about mi 2 then back to Lakeside Trail.
For the most part this is more of an easy trail walk than a hike. It gets a little rough around the dam but otherwise it is relatively level and smooth. Using the map from the park's website makes it especially easy to navigate as it is marked so well.
I started from Boat Mooring 3 parking and did a part of the Pinchot Trail rather than Old Farm and it was exactly 9 mi which took me 3 hours.
Not a moderate trail at all. We hiked it today with a 9 and 11 year old boys in 4 hours. Stopping frequently to watch wildlife and teach the boys about nature. Mostly level and easy walking. I have hiked this trail several times in 3 hours or less and also it makes a great day hike with plenty of places to stop, eat, replenish your water, hang in your hammock, or whatever your into! Enjoy the trail.
It is labeled as an out and back trail, however my friend and I hiked around the entire lake making it a total of 8.6 miles (from my car around the lack and back to my car) so it should really be labeled as a loop trail if you are up to it. The path was pretty clearly labeled. Only a few times did we used the map to confirm where we were going. There were several other trails that extended from the one around the entire lake that we didn't explore. A great place to hike, didn't see very many people on the trail but lots of people on the lake. If you do the full loop, bring lots of water! Will be visiting again :)
George H. on Pinchot Trail Lakeside Loop
I love hiking here. The trails are mostly flat and well groomed. Only the far ends of the lake (remote areas) get a little overgown and dodgy. I have hiked every trail here and they are all worth re-hiking anytime you want a nice day trip. Lakeside trail is my favorite, 8.5 miles, easy hiking. Plenty of places to refill your water bottle and rest with great views of the lake. Make a weekend trip and camp there as well.
My sister and I hiked this for 3 days from around Havee de Grace with an attempted destination of the MD-PA line. The trail is marked with blue blazes but could be marked better for greater clarification so getting lost isn't quite as easy. A free map was difficult to find so we hiked it without one, and definitely got off-track more than once. Hence, we hiked much more than our supposed 30 miles, and didn't have time to finish by Sunday (had to return to work on Monday). Thank goodness we brought our compasses. Nevertheless, it was an adventurous experience and a beautiful hike. The few miles around Peach Bottom were all road (country road, but still...), it was painful on the feet and not the type of off-road hike I enjoy. But that was just a small portion from what we hiked. I would highly recommend this trail for hikers who enjoy adventure and changes in trail surfaces (dirt, rock, gravel, road).... I definitely plan on returning for a longer period of time to hike more miles of this on a different part. The part I enjoyed most was the trail not being unkept 100% (fallen trees, difficult stream crossings, high grasses) and the fact that portions of it seem to be barely used. If you love seclusion, hike this.
We've done a few of the trails here. It's a nice place, good mix of terrain but mostly flat. The lake is pretty and there's a nice nature center. In the summer you can go for a swim in a sectioned off portion of the lake, but it's really murky and crowded