Mount Holly Marsh Preserve is a 913-acre nature preserve along the rocky slopes of South Mountain perfect for nature lovers and hikers. Carving out part of South Mountain’s rocky slope, Mount Holly Marsh Preserve encapsulates the wildlife and forest that the surrounding landscape has to offer.
Cumberland County owns Mount Holly Marsh Preserve while The Nature Conservancy manages 200 acres containing the most sensitive habitats and associated rare species. The Conservancy takes advantage of the preserve’s accessibility to the Harrisburg area to educate visitors about the preserve, and the diverse management techniques employed to maintain the landscape’s unique features.
View the Mount Holly Marsh Preserve Brochure and Map (.pdf)
Please note the map marker on the map below is placed at the parking lot.
Hiking: Pick blueberries along the dry upland slopes. The starting point for Mt Holly Marsh Preserve's trail network is Marsh Loop Trail in the parking area.
- Marsh Loop Trail: 2.2 miles (out and back, easy) - This trail connects with Spring, Creek, Briar and Ridge. and is marked with blue blazes.
- Lamberton Trail: 1 mile (out and back, difficult) of steep, rocky terrain begins near the parking area
- Spring Trail: 0.5* mile (one way, easy) path leading to the bountiful, bubbling spring
- Creek Trail: 1.4* miles (loop, easy to moderate) scenic trail
- Briar Trail: 1.2* miles (one way, moderate)
- Ridge Trail: 2.2* miles (out and back, difficult) of steep, wooded terrain
*Mileage does not include the distance to get to the designated trail via the Marsh Loop Trail.
Fishing: Mountain Creek is stocked with trout by the PA Fish & Boat Commission.
Hunting: Hunting is restricted to the more than 700 acres of upland wooded preserve where wild turkey and white-tailed deer thrive.
What You’ll See:
Chestnut oak, pitch pine, and an under story of low-lying blueberry bushes and mountain laurel cover the ridge top. Mountain springs located along the lower slopes flow into an open sedge meadow and marsh rich with rare species, including glade spurge and golden club. Dominated by black ash, red maple and winterberry, the marsh also channels water flowing from the upland forest into Mountain Creek at the base of the mountain.
Wildlife & Birding: Mount Holly Marsh has a variety of wildlife, such as: spotted, painted, wood, snapping and stinkpot turtles; Northern copperhead snakes; Water-dependent minks and muskrats. Birds include: Canada geese, mallards, wood ducks, great blue herons, belted kingfishers, green-backed herons and American woodcock, and rare species such as glade spurge, golden club, horned pondweed and buckthorn.
- Directions: Coordinates for parking lot are 40.1063, -77.1805. From Carlisle – Travel south on Route 34 through Mount Holly Springs, about 6 miles. You will pass the former Deer Lodge Restaurant on the right. Immediately after Deer Lodge, turn right onto a dirt road at the “Smokey the Bear” Fire Danger sign. The road will follow Mountain Creek for approximately 1/8 mile. The parking lot for the preserve is located on the left. From Shippensburg or Harrisburg – Take Interstate 81 to Exit 47A (Hanover Street/Route 34) and then follow Carlisle directions.
- Hours: Dawn to Dusk
- Months Open: Year-round
- Parking: 10 spaces
- Pets Allowed:
- All Ages:
- Under 4:
- Family Fun Fishing:
- Fly Fishing:
- Stocked Trout:
- Any Length Trail:
- Bird Watching:
- Hiking Trails:
- Miles of Trails: 7
- Number of Trails: 6
- Trail Length < 5 Miles:
- Stream Access: