Conservation Atlas Spotlight – Conewago Mountains

Pennsylvania Highlands Conservation Atlas Story Map Spotlight – Conewago Mountains

To access the full Story Map, click HERE.

The AMC Mid-Atlantic office has updated and expanded the 2006 PA Highlands Conservation Atlas into 12 interactive Story Maps which include updated conserved lands, conservation areas, and historic and recreational resources, such as the PA Highlands Trail.

This atlas was developed to build awareness about the importance of the Pennsylvania Highlands region by portraying the special places and resources found there. It is also a call for action to help protect this incredible and threatened region.

Conservation Area: Conewago Mountains (

The ninth conservation we’re highlighting is the Conewago Mountains, which is made up of an arc of forested peaks located in northern York County. This arc of peaks, towering more than 1,300 feet above sea level, includes Blair Hill, Nell’s Hill, Flat Mountain, Round Top, Pinetown Hill, Wright Knob, John’s Knob, Ramsey Hill, and Straight Hill. Diabase formations, these hills contain large rock outcroppings, boulder fields, and sensitive natural areas.

Natural Resources: The Conewago Mountains, within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the smaller Conewago Creek Watershed, are composed of Triassic-aged reddish-brown sandstone and conglomerate.

This conservation area contains several priority conservation areas identified by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Nells Hill Swamp, a successional red maple swamp with seeps, is an example of the unique landscapes found in the Conewago Mountains. This swamp is home to the giant swallowtail butterfly and shumard’s oak. The forests of Gifford Pinchot State Park, located within this conservation area, are surrounded by farm fields and are a rest stop for migrating birds such as warblers, vireos, and thrushes. Pinchot Lake and its shoreline wetlands also attract thousands of waterfowl such as mergansers, Canada geese, mallard ducks, loons, and teals.

The Conewago Mountains conservation area overlaps with a High Priority area designated by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Priorities for Climate Change Connectivity in Pennsylvania.

Historical/Cultural Resources: The Warrington Quaker Meetinghouse, built in 1769 on Carlisle Road, has been called the finest example of early Quaker meeting house architecture in the country! Along the northern side of the ridge were several once operational brownstone quarries.

Recreational Resources: The Conewago Mountains conservation area has a few standout recreation areas of note. State Game Lands 242, Gifford Pinchot State Park, and the Mason-Dixon Trail provide great access to the outdoors. Gifford Pinchot State Park lies on the southern edge of the Conewago Mountains and it’s lake is known for excellent fishing.

Whitewater rafting is another recreational activity available here, thanks to Beaver Creek. This creek provides Class III to V whitewater for intermediate to advanced whitewater paddling.

Ski Round Top Mountain, a privately owned resort, also provides a full range of recreational activities.

Interactive Map: Follow this link to explore the Conewago Mountains conservation area through an interactive map that shows climbing sites, critical treasures, fishing and boating access, park and recreation areas, cultural resources, Audubon Important Bird Areas, and more! Conewago Mountains (


Local Organizations:

Farm and Natural Lands Trust of York County 

Watershed Alliance of York 

York County Conservation District