Kings Gap has a great, easily-accessible network of trails surrounding its education center, that provide visitors with rewarding views without the same level of physical demand needed for some of the neighboring trail networks. This is largely due to the fact that the main parking area and education center sit at the end of Kings Gap Road on the top of South Mountain, which means views of the Cumberland Valley open up without even stepping foot on a trail.
The trails in this State Park can be traveled in either direction and can be connected in a variety of ways. This recommended hike shows a popular route to some of the best viewpoints only accessible to pedestrians.
After looping around the mansion on the park road, find the main trailhead parking area looking for signage for the Maple Hollow Trail
and Scenic Vista Trail
. The eastern half of this loop hike is made up of the Scenic Vista Trail
, with the western half on the Kings Gap Hollow Trail
From the parking area, head east/southeast on the Maple Hollow Trail
which shares a section with the Scenic Vista Trail
. After 0.20 miles, stay to the right (south) on the Scenic Vista Trail
, crossing a brief break in the trees before continuing through the woods. Around the 0.5-mile mark, look for a bench that marks the beginning of a gradual climb to a nice viewpoint.
Stay to the right at the next intersection with the orange-blazed Buck Ridge Trail
which heads toward Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Past the viewpoint, the trail descends, sometimes more steeply, toward the Program Shelter and parking area for the Pond Day Use Area. There are restrooms available here.
Cross the road following signs for the Watershed Trail
on the Watershed Connector
heading north. Continue along the road and then across it on the Watershed Trail
. At the next intersection, turn right onto the Kings Gap Hollow Trail
for a gradual climb back to the starting point with another road crossing before looping behind the Cameron-Masland Mansion back to the parking area.
Chestnut oak, blueberries, American woodcock, songbirds, toads, white-tailed deer, snakes, skinks, butterflies, etc.