Mount Pisgah is one of the highest and most picturesque summits in York County and provides an excellent vantage point from which to see the Susquehanna River. This is in all definitions, barely a hill. For PA though, we take what we can get and take pride in what we have. There are some very famous climbing points in this area such as Chickees Rock which you can see from the summit. Also close by is Hawk Point and Susquehannock State Park just a little farther south along the river. Located within Samuel S. Lewis State Park , this summit is an 885 foot cone which separates East Prospect Valley and Kreutz Creek. The summit area is all open grass and the views are unparallel to anywhere in the area.
The geology of this area in south-central PA is very complex and diverse. The area was at one point in geologic history, a very active volcanic area. You'll be able to see signs of this all throughout the rocks and geologic formations of the area. Within the famous rock out cropping just below the summit, you'll find very large dikes of quartz running everywhere through the rock. Also, you'll notice that Mt. Pisgah, along with many other summits in the area, has a cone shape to it. As you could imagine, Mt. Pisgah and its surrounding summits are the remnants of some ancient volcanoes. These summits were formed probably at the formation of the last "Pangea", on the table of about 450 million years ago. Mt. Pisgah is just to the south of the Appalachian Mountain Range and probably didn't reach the vast heights of the main range. Some believe though that these volcanoes may have been higher than our western volcanoes such as Mount Rainier and Mount Shasta . The complex volcanism of this area makes for a very interesting trip all on its own. The hills are all very steep sided with plateaus near the summit. You'll encounter every one of these features no matter what direction you drive into the area.
One of the more popular areas in the park is the "Rock Outcropping". This outcropping provides some very fun and the only scrambling opportunities on Mt. Pisgah. The rock ridge is about thirty feet high and stretches for approximately 0.3 miles. Located to the south of the main summit, this point is not hard to find. Dotted with little pinnacles the entire length of the outcropping, this site can keep you busy for a couple of hours.
The views from this summit are amazing. To the northeast you'll see Chickees Rock hanging above the Susquehanna River. To the east you'll see the bridges heading out of Wrightsville and across the river. To the south you'll see the river cutting sharply through the hill region around Hawk Point and Susquehannock State Park. This would also be a great place to take your binoculars and get a free ticket to watch a Northern High football game. On a clear day the view will stretch out thirty miles to Lancaster City.
This summit is probably most famous for its star watching and kite flying because of the large grassy summit plateau. Located in between the two small cities of York and Lancaster, the lighting and elevation make this site better for watching the stars than almost anywhere you'll find. Also, since you're well above the surrounding area, all the light tends to dissipate. This is one of the best summits you’ll find in south-central PA.
Samuel S. Lewis State Park
Samuel S. Lewis State Park is one of the few within south-central Pennsylvania. It is named in honor of the former Secretary of the PA Department of Forest and Water between 1951 and 1954. Originally, thirty-five acres of todays property was part of the Lewis Farm until he donated it to the state for recreational purposes. The state then purchased the remaining 49 acres of land up through 1999. The park originally opened on July 4, 1954 and has been open ever since. Again, more famous for its star watching and kite flying than anything else, this park has become a jack of all trades for nearly every aspect of recreation.
Take US 30 east from the downtown and get off at the Wrightsville exit. Follow Cool Creek Road south for about a mile and a half to Mt. Pisgah Road. This road will take you straight into Samuel S. Lewis State Park.
From just north of Lancaster downtown, get onto US 30 west and get off at the Wrightsville exit after crossing the Susquehanna River. From here head south on Cool Creek Road for a mile and a half. Turn right onto Mt. Pisgah Road which will take you straight into Samuel S. Lewis State Park.
There are no permits required to hike in this area. Parking is plenitful around the park. Samuel S. Lewis State Park is open from dawn to dusk. For conservation purposes follow the “LEAVE NO TRACE” system and you'll be fine.
For current and up to date weather around Mount Pisgah, click on the link below!
When To Climb
This summit is climbable during all times of the year.
There is no camping within Samuel S. Lewis State Park.
- Samuel S. Lewis State Park
This page provides information on the state park and recreational opportunities.
- Samuel S. Lewis State Park and PA Grand Canyon
This page contains a basic overview on Samuel S. Lewis State Park and Colton Point State Park at the PA Grand Canyon.