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Kings Gap Environmental Education Center

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Address: 500 Kings Gap Road, Carlisle, PA 17015
Phone: (717) 486-5031
Visit Website  |  Send Email

Kings Gap Environmental Center is well known for the four-mile road that winds through its 2,531 acres to the historic Italian villa-style stone mansion atop of South Mountain. Kings Gap focuses on natural and cultural interpretation and education. Lifelong learners will appreciate both self-guided interpretive trails and guided hikes.

Sixteen miles of trails interconnect three main day use areas: Mansion, Pine Plantation and Pond. Begin your journey at the Mansion Day Use Area where center offices and an adjacent education center are located. While at the mansion, be sure to take in the view from the patio, wander through the mansion garden, or hike the Ridge Overlook Trail to the sweeping vista of the Cumberland Valley. Traveling back down the mountain, the pond Day Use Area offers trails that explore this habitat for songbirds, wildflowers, reptiles and amphibians, created by the presence of Kings Gap Hollow Run. Continuing down the road, the Pine Plantation Day Use Area is the site of another trail head, a half-century old conifer forest, and is also a haven for many resident bird species, including owls. Kings Gap is free and open year-round, from dawn to dusk. The center offices are open from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday–Friday.

Download Recreational Guides and Maps:

Hiking: Sixteen miles of trails provide ample opportunities to explore chestnut oak forests, blueberry patches, and trickling streams, and to encounter wildlife such as the Baltimore Oriole, White-breasted Nuthatch, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Phoebe, Scarlet Tanager, Wild Turkey, white-tailed deer, and eastern box turtle. Trail heads are located at the three day use areas.

View more about each trail by clicking on its trail name below. 

Trail Difficulty Ratings: based on technical challenge, not physical exertion.

  • Easiest (Interpretive) – Elevation gain or loss is minimal, less than 5% slope, maximum 20% up to 100 feet  
  • More Difficult – Elevation gain or loss is moderate, less than 12% slope, maximum 30% up to 300 feet
  • Most Difficult – Elevation gain or loss is usually severe, less than 18% slope, maximum 30+% up to 500 feet
Birding: Pine Warbler and other migrating birds, and songbirds are attracted to the open pines around the center. Migrant sparrows and occasional wintering Long-eared Owl can be spotted at the Pine Plantation. 
Biking: Bike the 4-mile windy road leading up to the mansion. Be sure to stop along the way at scenic vistas of the Valley below.

Hunting: Open to hunting, trapping and training of dogs during established seasons.

Orienteering: A permanent orienteering course is located at Kings Gap. Orienteering is a sport that involves using a map and compass to negotiate a designated course. Additional information on orienteering and copies of the course map are available at the center office. The center offers programs on orienteering for beginners in the fall and spring.

Groups: Self-guided and guided programs range from historical tours of the mansion to interpretive walks through the gardens, grounds and trails. Enjoy a scenic view and catered lunch at the historic Cameron Masland Mansion.

The Environmental Center is also available for meetings.

  • Directions: Directions: From Interstate 81, take Newville exit 37. Travel south on Route 233 for approximately 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Pine Road and continue for 2.5 miles. The entrance to Kings Gap is on the right; watch for the sign.
  • Gift Shop
  • Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
  • Months Open: Open year-round
  • Motorcoach Parking
  • Parking: Free
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Handicapped Accessible
  • Pets Allowed
Family Fun
  • All Ages
  • Restrooms
  • Tours Available
Land Recreation
  • Bird Watching
  • Environmental Education
  • Hiking Trails
  • Hunting
  • In Kings Gap State Park
  • Interpretative Signage
  • Orienteering
  • Picnic Area/Pavilions
  • Scenic Overlook
  • Miles of Trails: 16.0
  • Number of Trails: 13
  • Any Length Trail
  • Trail Length > 5 Miles
  • Trail Length < 5 Miles
Guided Adventures
  • Backpacking
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Guest Rooms Available
  • Lobby/Reception Area
  • Picnic Area
Additional Information
  • Any Licensed Caterer
  • Group Reservations Required
  • Maximum # of People for Tour: 60
  • Motorcoach Parking
  • Price Range: varies
Type of Experience
  • Educational
  • Historical
  • Private Dining Room
  • Tours Available
Kings Gap Environmental Education Center Meeting Facility
  • # of Rooms: 2
  • Total Sqft.: 1,835
  • Largest Room: 840
  • Theatre Capacity: 48
  • Banquet Capacity: 48
  • Classroom Capacity: 30
  • Sleeping Rooms: 15
  • Reception Capacity: 100
  • Any Licensed Caterer
  • Guest Rooms Available
  • Lobby/Reception Area
  • Picnic Area


Hike Off the Holidays

Dates: January 31, 2015
Venue: Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
Category: Events
Time: From: 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Location: Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
Admission: Free


Animals of Kings Gap Hike

Dates: February 21, 2015
Venue: Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
Category: Events
Time: From: 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Location: Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
Admission: Free


Plants of Kings Gap Hike

Dates: February 28, 2015
Venue: Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
Category: Events
Time: From: 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Location: Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
Admission: Free