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Manheim, Pennsylvania
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Lancaster, Pennsylvania
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New Stanton, Pennsylvania
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Pine Grove, Pennsylvania
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Holtwood, Pennsylvania


Carlisle boasts a rich and compelling history. The town was a flash point of the American Revolution and saw action during the Civil War, with Union and Confederate forces prizing the area for its strategic location. Today, it’s Pennsylvania’s automotive capital with over 500,000 visitors coming to town for the many automotive events held at the Carlisle Fairgrounds. Carlisle is also the mid-way point on the Appalachian Trail. No matter if you’re walking or driving, gear up and check out Carlisle.

Getting There

Carlisle sits at the intersection of interstates 81 and 76. It’s about a half-hour west of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital city, and about 45 minutes north of Gettysburg. The rolling hills of the downhill slopes of the Appalachian Mountains make Carlisle and the Cumberland Valley an outdoor lover’s paradise, with abundant freshwater streams and beautiful hiking trails for the expert and amateur adventurers alike.

Colonel Denning State Park

Just 17 miles from Carlisle, the scenic woodlands, forests, rivers and streams of Colonel Denning State Park are magnets for outdoor enthusiasts. Framed by majestic mountains, the park features more than 18 miles of hiking, biking and riding trails for all levels and sensibilities. The challenging 2.5-mile (one-way) Flat Rock Trail involves some rock scrambling and a steep ascent to a peak elevation of 1,980 feet. Avid birders convene at the Flat Rock lookout for the annual hawk migration, and black bears are occasionally spotted along the trail. For novice hikers, the Doubling Gap Trail is a swift and smooth one-mile jaunt. Just east of the park, beautiful Laurel Lake attracts nature lovers.

Car-Lisle, Pennsylvania

The gearhead in the family will want to visit the bustling Carlisle Fairgrounds and Expo Center, which host automotive-related events year-round. Sleek speedsters invade the sprawling venue in August during Corvettes at Carlisle, while Chryslers take center stage in July during the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals. Make a bid for your next ride during one of the 12 auctions held there every year.

Honoring U.S. Army Heritage

A celebration and an homage to America’s men and women in uniform, the superb U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is worth a morning’s exploration for anyone with even just a fleeting interest in military history. With more than 16 million military items, including 350,000 military history volumes and the world’s largest collection of Civil War photography and personal journals, the center turns the spotlight on the lives and experiences of American soldiers. Several interactive simulation exhibits include a shooting range and a 700-foot parachute drop.

Trail of Combat

The center’s outdoor Army Heritage Trail features full-scale recreations of military sites from the Colonial era to the present, including an extensive maze-like trench system from World War I. Also on display are tanks, helicopters, World War II barracks and winter cabins from the Civil War.

Cumberland County History

Within the Cumberland County Historical Society, an extensive series of exhibits display regional artifacts from the early 1700s through the 1960s. Check out the series of fascinating objects and mementos from the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, the first federally funded off-reservation Native American boarding school. Established in 1879, it was here in 1904 that Jim Thorpe, one of the greatest Olympians of all time, attained legendary status as a football player and track and field athlete.

Art Scene

Folk art devotees travel from across the country to view the largest collection of folk carvings by Wilhelm Schimmel, arguably America’s most esteemed folk artist. Schimmel moved from farm to farm in Cumberland County, carving animals for his hosts’ children in exchange for room and board.

Kings Gap State Park

Straddling South Mountain, with stellar views of the Cumberland Valley, Kings Gap Environmental Education Center comprises 2,531 acres of forest with 20 miles of hiking and biking trails that connect three main areas. There’s also an orienteering course and picnic sites. Hunting for turkey and white-tailed deer is permitted within designated areas. At the end of a winding road through the park, the evocatively restored first floor of the historic Cameron-Masland Mansion is open for tours.

For More Information

Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau



Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development