Pennsylvania's State and National Parks

This map displays the locations of Pennsylvania's State and National Parks. Zoom in using your mouse or the "+" and "-" buttons on the map. As you zoom in, park names will appear. Click within any green or red area of the map to identify the park and learn more about it. The paragraphs below the map provide some context for these park details.

Data Explanation

State Parks vs. National Parks

Pennsylvania's national parks, operated by the National Park Service, do not include any of the scenic wonders of the major national parks in the western US, though several have regionally significant landscapes. Most of the National Park Service sites in Pennsylvania have historical significance in the development of our country or state. In contrast, most of Pennsylvania's state parks are natural areas set aside for their scenic beauty, most of which have been set up with recreational facilities to enhance the experience of park visitors.

Both state parks and national parks are shown on the map using outlines that designate the park boundaries. However, park boundaries are not always what you assume they should be. The national parks such as the site commemorating the Civil War battle at Gettysburg, when you zoom in, are often made up of multiple smaller areas. This demonstrates that the federal government could only acquire smaller areas of the larger site due to landowners who did not want to sell their land. Many state parks, on the other hand, have boundaries enclosing a larger area, but within those boundaries are many privately owned properties. Visitors to those parks are warned to respect the rights of those landowners.

Keep in mind that there are many other sites within the state that provide comparable experiences. Many historical sites are privately owned but welcome visitors for natural or historical educational experiences. Many others are owned by federal agencies other than the National Park Service or state agencies other than the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, while others are operated by county or municipal levels of government.

Many parks need volunteers, so please consider volunteering your time so Pennsylvania's national parks can continue to be preserved properly. The link to follow up is:

Pennsylvania's National Parks

The map above portrays 16 national parks within Pennsylvania, each holding historical or natural value in some way. These National Park Service sites are represented with red outlines. Zoom in closer and click on a park, to see the park's name and the nearest Pennsylvania town or city, when it was created, and a link to the National Park Service website about the park. The dates are approximate, or reflect the official legislation creating the park, because the process to go from the intent of acquiring the property to formal approval of the legislation can take years.

The largest proportion of these (44%) locations are designated as National Historic Sites. There are also several National Memorials, a couple of National Historical Parks, and one each of the following: a National Military Park, a National Battlefield, a National Recreation Area and a Scenic and Recreational River. These parks provide enriching educational and recreational opportunities for students as there are also historical museums in some of the parks and recreational resources such as hiking trails and guides in others.

There are several additional National Park Service properties that are accessible to Pennsylvanians. For example, the National Park Service co-manages the Appalachian Trail with several other federal agencies, and the trail spans many states. Similarly, the map includes the Upper Delaware River Scenic and Recreational River as well as the Delaware Water Gap, but there are similar Park Service properties spanning the Middle Delaware and Lower Delaware.

Pennsylvania's State Parks

The map includes over 110 of Pennsylvania's state parks. Some park sites are historically significant but most include natural environments that were deemed important to preserve. The state parks are represented with green outlines. Zoom in closer and click on a park, to see the park's name several of the activities available at each park, when it was created, and a link to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website about the park. The dates were taken from the Wikipedia source noted below. There are many additional activities beyond those listed in the map popups, such as hiking trails, ice-fishing, horseback riding, rock climbing.

While the vast majority are simply identified as state parks, there are a few other types of sites, including environmental education centers and conservation areas. Several sites are focused on important buildings and other structures, such as homes, dams and one bridge.

Pennsylvania has 121 state parks. The Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks, a division of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), is in charge of all these parks and directly operates 113 of them. The remaining eight are operated in cooperation with other public and private organizations. These parks do not charge an entrance fee.


Park boundaries: PASDA (Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access)
Park Information:, the U.S. Government's Open Data
US Maps Source: Esri, Inc.
Map and Webpage created by: Nicky Witte, Fall 2017.
Webpage maintained by: Dr. Geiger