Caledonia State Park entrance sign

Caledonia State Park: Things to Do, Maps, Weather & More

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Located in Pennsylvania’s south-central region, Caledonia State Park is an excellent spot to visit.  Whether you are planning on visiting for a few hours or settling in for a few days, you’ll find plenty to do in the park itself as well as the greater region which includes the expansive Michaux State Forest, nearby Pine Grove Furnace State Park or Gettysburg National Military Park.

Inside Caledonia State Park you can count on finding great hiking, camping, picnicking and more!  In this guide we’ll cover information on each, provide links to a few other articles that we have on the surrounding area, help you learn about lodging options, things to do nearby, fees and a bit more.  We hope this guide helps you plan your trip and get excited about what you can see in the area as well!


Like many state parks in the east, the recent history of the land currently part of Caledonia State Park has an interesting past.  The land was found to be rich in iron ore, and a company owned by Thaddeus Stevens set up operations here in 1837, to include a charcoal iron furnace.  The company was the “Caledonia Iron Works”, named after Stevens’s home town, which was in Caledonia County in Vermont.

Stevens was a vocal supporter of anti-Confederate policies and free education.  Both issues he took great action on as a politician in the Pennsylvania State government and U.S. House of Representatives.  Angering the south, his business property was destroyed by Confederate troops on their march toward Gettysburg, PA.

The land was eventually sold to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Caledonia State Park was established in 1903.  In 1927, a smaller version of the iron furnace was reconstructed by hikers, and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) resurrected a number of buildings in the park during the 1930’s. 

Today the park preserves 1125 acres of land for recreational use and is operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.


Caledonia State Park map

Caledonia State Park map, courtesy of Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

While most state parks have the standard things to do (hiking, picnicking, etc), there are a few unique aspects of Caledonia State Park which we think you’ll find interesting!  Our recommendations include:


Our favorite activity to really see and experience Caledonia State Park is hiking!  There are a few great trails to choose from, which range from easy and short to a bit more challenging.  Here are a few of the best options to check out:

  • Appalachian Trail (moderate, 3.6-miles (round-trip), 370 ft. elevation gain). You’ve probably heard of this trail before!  This hike travels along the same route hikers that travel from Georgia to Maine.  There are some steep parts to the trail.
  • Chambersburg Water Line Trail (easy, 3.8-miles (round-trip), minimal elevation gain). This easy hike is great for families.  It travels from the Hosack Run campground to the western end of the park with the middle of the trail passing through the main parking lot.
  • Ramble Trail (easy, 2.0-miles (round-trip), 50 ft. elevation gain). This heads from the main parking area, along the Conocheague Creek before crossing and returning through the forest.  This is popular for fisherman as well.
  • Charcoal Hearth Trail (moderate, 2.8-miles (round-trip), 615 ft. elevation gain). This trail climbs up Graefenburg Hill where you’ll have nice views to the south.  You’ll also pass by 4 charcoal hearth sites. 

For a full list of great hiking trails in the park, see our article on Hiking Trails in Caledonia State Park.  We cover trail descriptions, trail maps and much more!

Forest Heritage Discovery Center

The Forest Heritage Discovery Center is a great place to learn about the forest and how fires are fought.  It’s interactive and a great place for kids in particular.  The Forest Heritage Discovery Center is open on the weekends only, from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

The Forest Heritage Discovery Center is located on the north side of PA-233, just past the main entrance station to Caledonia State Park.

Thaddeus Stevens Blacksmith Shop

Caledonia Iron Works’ Blacksmith Shop is available for tours on Saturday afternoons.  The Blacksmith Shop is located on the western side of PA-233, just south of the main park entrance.

Caledonia Iron Works Blacksmith Shop

Caledonia Furnace Monument

In addition to the Blacksmith Shop, you can check out the recreation of the original Caledonia furnace.  It’s located on the east side of PA-233, just across from the Blacksmith shop.

iron furnace pine grove furnace state park


Nothing says summer like having a picnic in the outdoors, and Caledonia State Park is a great place for it!  There are plenty of places to picnic at the main parking area just past the entrance station on the left.  Here you’ll find plenty of shade as well as pavilions that can be reserved for large parties.

You can also do what we do, which is to have a picnic along one of the hiking trails along the creek.

Picnicking at Caledonia State Park


Fishing in Caledonia State Park is great.  You can fish in Conocheague Creek, which extends through most of the park and is accessible from the picnic parking area.  You can also get to some more remote spots by hiking along the Ramble Trail to the east, which is popular for fly fishing in particular.  There is also plenty of fishing in the surrounding Michaux State Forest.

Be sure to obtain the proper licensing before you head out.  Details are found at the website for Pennsylvania State Fishing Licenses.


A large swimming pool is nearby the picnic area.  The pool is open on weekends in the summer, as well as daily during the warmest time (mid-June through mid-August).  Prices are generally around $7 / day per person, with discounts given for coming later in the day (after 4:00 pm).


Caledonia State Park is one of the rare parks that also has a golf course!  The course is a par 68, 5,154 yard course.  Rates are very reasonable, but advanced reservations are recommended, particularly on weekends on the summer.

The Caledonia State Park golf course is located on the south side of PA-30, just a short distance from the main part of Caledonia State Park.

Cathedral in the Pines

Created in 1917, this non-denominational Sunday School is operated by the Franklin County Sunday School Association.  It’s open on Sundays in the summer.  Services are held at 10:30 am.  There are no chairs, so you should come prepared with your own camp chairs. 

The Cathedral in the Pines is located just south of PA-30 on the west side of Golf Course Road.

Cathedral in the Pines in Caledonia State Park

Cathedral in the Pines, image courtesy of Dincher

Totem Pole Playhouse

If you are in for some art and culture while you are exploring nature, then head over to the Totem Pole Playhouse!  The theater started in 1952.  Shows typically run for one to two weeks.  You can get tickets on their website, Totem Pole Playhouse.

Totem Pole Playhouse in Caledonia State Park

Totem Pole Playhouse, image courtesy of Dincher


This area is full of great places to explore if you love to get out in nature!  A few of our recommendations include:

  • Michaux State Forest borders Caledonia State Park to the north, east and south. It’s a fantastic place to explore during the day.  Here you’ll find great hikes, scenic drives and forest roads to drive around for hours.
  • Pine Grove Furnace State Park is only about 14 miles to the north. This is a great spot to go for spending time at Fuller Lake, an alternative camping spot or to be a bit close to more of Michaux State Forest.  It’s a bit deeper in the woods and harder to get to, making it a bit quieter.
  • Gettysburg National Military Park is a must-see if you haven’t been before. This was the site of a major civil war battle and is incredibly restored.  The town itself is worth seeing and is only about 20 minutes away.


Caledonia State Park is actually one of the easier state parks to get to that is in the area of Michaux State Forest.  It’s about 8 miles east of Interstate-81, just north of Highway 30.


There are no entrance fees into Caledonia State Park.


There are two campgrounds in Caledonia State Park, the Hosack Run Campground and the larger Chinquapin Hill Campground.  Advanced reservations are highly recommended.  We cover all you need to know about both campgrounds and more in our article on Camping in Caledonia State Park.


If you want to be able to hike and really explore the park, we recommend visiting Caledonia State Park in the summer.  Temperatures are moderate, though it can be hot and humid during the peak of summer in July.  Bugs can be a problem early in the summer, but tend to not be much of an issue once late July and August come.

Spring is beautiful here but it can be quite wet, making for a treacherous hiking experience and perhaps some not-so-comfortable nights.  Fall is gorgeous as the colors change, but just be prepared for some cold evenings and freezing temperatures as you get into November.

If you come in the winter, just be sure to have the proper gear (including heavy coats and microspikes for the ice) for hiking and exploring.

Average Temperatures in Caledonia State Park

Average High and Low Temperatures in Caledonia State Park


Pets are allowed in the park, but must be kept on a leash at all times.



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About Just Go Travel Studios

We are Amy & Pete Brahan. Very simply, we are passionate about our National Parks and Public Lands and explore them with our three kids whenever we can.

As much as we enjoy traveling, we also love sharing our knowledge and helping others create everlasting memories through our custom-made travel posters, downloadable travel itineraries and detailed blog articles.

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