Samuel S. Lewis State Park

Samuel S. Lewis State Park

This 85-acre state park is dominated by Mt. Pisgah, an 885-foot high ridge that separates Kreutz Creek Valley and East Prospect Valley. The highest point in the area, Mt. Pisgah offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Susquehanna River and the towns and fertile farmlands that it borders. A wayside panel is on the summit of Mt. Pisgah near Pavilion C and identifies various points of interest along the river valley. Coin-operated binoculars are available.

The George E. Stine Arboretum was created before the land became a state park. European beech, persimmon, concolor fir, English yew and several other unique species still remain. A few of these trees are identified with metal plaques. The Arboretum has been severely damaged by storms and high winds. The park plans to plant new trees in the arboretum.

The park landscape also consists of mowed grass fields on the northern and eastern park slopes, a pine plantation in the southern area and mature woods in the western section.

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Image Credit: PA DCNR / flickr

Hours

The park is open from dawn to dusk.

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)

Fees

Access to the park is free.

Activities

Picnicking: Picnic tables scattered throughout the park have easy access to ball field and playground equipment. The park’s scenic backdrop also makes it a popular site for weddings, family reunions and other events.

Hilltop Pavilion may be reserved up to 11 months in advance. If the Hilltop Pavilion is unreserved, it may be used for free on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact the park office for more information on planning a wedding or other event in the park.

Kite Flying: The crest of Mt. Pisgah is an excellent area for kite flying. Local groups and individuals gather to show their skills and offer help to novice kite fliers.

Stargazing: On clear nights, local organizations hold star gazing events at the park so the public can enjoy Mt. Pisgah’s uninterrupted view of the stars. Check the park calendar of events online for program dates and times.

Two Miles of Hiking Trails: The one-mile Hilltop Trail winds through a pine plantation, interesting rock formations and spectacular scenic views. This easy hike also takes visitors past the George E. Stine Arboretum. Over the years, the arboretum has been severely damaged by storms and high winds. However, it still contains European beech, persimmon, concolor fir, English yew and other unique species, capturing a piece of the landscape’s past. Use the Short Cut Trail, a short loop, to more fully explore the pine plantation.  Located behind the park’s office, the one-mile Back Trail loops through a diverse hardwood forest.

Sledding: Several areas of Mt. Pisgah are great for sledding.

History

Samuel S. Lewis State Park was named to honor the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Forest and Waters from 1951-1954. Samuel S. Lewis donated 35 acres of his farm to the Commonwealth in 1954. Lewis convinced Walter Stine to sell his arboretum to the Commonwealth for a reasonable price. The Commonwealth then purchased an additional 35 acres of the adjacent Almoney Farm to complete the initial park tract. The park opened to the public on July 4, 1954. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources purchased an additional 14 acres of land in 1999.

This unassuming, jovial, analytical Samuel S. Lewis held several cabinet-level positions to several governors, most notably as Secretary of Highways to Governor Gifford Pinchot during Pinchot’s ambitious road-paving program to “get the farmer out of the mud.” Samuel Lewis was the lieutenant governor to Arthur H. James from 1939 to 1943. Lewis was the postmaster general of York and rejuvenated the York Fair.

In 1951, Lewis was appointed the Secretary of the Department of Forests and Waters and oversaw all state parks and forests. In two years, Lewis reorganized and streamlined the department.

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Last updated: July 09, 2022
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