Review of Wildwood Park and Fort Hunter Mansion and Park in Harrisburg, PA (Pennsylvania): Travel notes and tips

Wildwood Park, Harrisburg, PA

During our 14 year residency in the state of Pennsylvania, my wife and I (and our Pomeranian dog, Toby) spent many hours at Pennsylvania’s wonderful state parks.  Unlike other states like Maryland, New Jersey, or New York, Pennsylvania being a commonwealth, does not charge park entrance fees.

Our pack took full advantage of this perk!

Being relatively close to Harrisburg area from our residence near Philadelphia, meant we took many trips to the Pennsylvania capital.  Two of these places, Wildwood Park and Fort Hunter Mansion and Park are two of Toby’s and our favorite places there.

Wildwood Park is located within the city limits of Harrisburg.  The park features a visitor center / nature center, a Boardwalk that takes you into the swamp / marsh area, bird watching, biking, hiking, and picnicking.  

The first time we visited there, we noticed Toby was enjoying the park.  He was pulling us(!) to hurry up.  This is a good sign he’s excited.  We gladly obliged!

We first stopped by the visitor center / nature center to use the restroom and to get a lay of the land.  Facilities were top notch.  A friendly volunteer / ranger, asked if we had any questions or needed help. 

After our pit stop, we proceeded to the boardwalk first.  There are two different boardwalks.

  1. Delta Boardwalk:  This boardwalk is .5 mile and it connects with Wildwood Way.  It winds through the marsh with views of birds, small critters, and lizards.  
  2. North Boardwalk:  Also .5 mile but it doesn’t connect to any other trail.  You must come back the way you went.  There’s a blind at the end of the walkway providing excellent location to bird watch.  
Toby absolutely loved both boardwalks!  He was leading us so he can see them first hand.  He would walk really fast then stop to smell the air and the surroundings.  We could tell he was having a great time!

There are other trails to explore if you’re ambitious!

  1. Towpath Trail:  3.1 miles long, does not loop except when combined with Wildwood away.  This is a soil trail with wood chips.
  2. Wildwood Way Trail:  2.1 miles long, does not loop except when combined with a Towpath Trail.  Mostly blacktop trail with some gravel areas.
  3. East Short Trail:  .9 mile, connects with Wildwood Way.
  4. Tall Timbers Trail:  .25 mile connects with Wildwood Way.
  5. Fox Run Trail:  This trail is one of the most pristine areas in Wildwood Park.  New bog bridges should help hikers’ from getting their feet wet through the habitat.  
View from a blind on North Boardwalk 

Toby at the Delta Boardwalk 


Fort Hunter Mansion and Park is built on a bluff overlooking the Susquehanna River.  It served as a war fort, a frontier commerce, and an exclusive private estate.  

It features tours, museum shop, a playground and benches you can sit on to enjoy the view of the Susquehanna River.  This place is one of our other favorite places in Harrisburg!

We love the rocking chairs/benches along the park.  The views are Instagram worthy!  Although not a big place, you can visit both the building on the mountain side of the road then check out the mansion and the park on the riverside of the road.  

Keep in mind the mansion is closed from December 23 - April 30.  Please plan accordingly if you’re doing the tour.

Walk along the trails along the river to appreciate the massive size of the Susquehanna River.  Marvel at the beautiful bridges where you can see both trains and cars cross all day and night.  Look across the river to spot beautiful homes and high rises.

There are plenty of parking at this location.  You can easily spend an hour just staring at the view!

 View from the Fort Hunter and Mansion Park, Harrisburg 

Tip:  When hunger hits, be sure to check out our favorite Italian restaurant in Harrisburg area, Alvaro Bread and Pastry Shoppe.  They serve awesome Italian food.  You can’t go wrong with ordering stuffed shells with chicken parmigiana or spaghetti with stuffed eggplant from their Saturday lunch menu. Lunch menu changes daily.  They bake their own bread and pastries.  Try some, it’s awesome.

We hope you’ve enjoyed two of our favorite parks in Harrisburg!  Thank you for reading!


Jake

Wandering Money Pig 



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