Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area Trip Report

My first trip ever to Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area took place on 2/1/2017.  I have to admit that is really sad because it is less than 10 miles from my house.  I drove past the sign directing you to it many time but I just never took the time to go see.

Brief History

Ibberson is one of only three Conservation Areas in Pennsylvania.  A Conservation Area is different from a state park in that the land is to remain largely untouched with no through roads.  Activities are of the low-impact, passive variety only which means no horses, bicycles or ATVs.

This particular piece of land was donated to the commonwealth in 1998 by Joseph E. Ibberson and it became the Commonwealth’s very first Conservation Area. Mr. Ibberson was a lifelong student of Forestry and had amassed his holdings to manage as a tree farm.  He was heavily involved in forestry management and received numerous awards in the field.  He died in 2011.

Additional history can be found at the DCNR website for this Conservation Area here.

Trip Details

Located in Dauphin County, just north of Peters Mountain off Route 225, you will need to take a nice little drive in the county to reach Ibberson.  Watch while you are driving and you are likely to see white-tailed deer and maybe even some of these guys like I saw…. you really have to stop the car because turkeys totally do not care much for flying.

Like it’s sister site in Dauphin County, Boyd Big Tree Conservation Area, it is a quiet spot with hiking trails and not much else.  If you want to “get away” from it all, this is a good place to choose.

Arriving at the park you drive up a stone road to a parking area.  There you will find an information board with emergency information and park maps.  These maps contain history, local places of interest and most important – trail maps. Grab one before you go anywhere because the trails in this park are not easy to spot (in my opinion…)

One thing to be aware of is in this park is that hunting and TRAPPING are permitted so if you bring a doggie friend with you, they should be on a leash.

Also with much of the area open to hunting, you really should wear clothing that makes you easy to spot by hunters – lots of blaze orange is recommended.  Hunting is not allowed in Pennsylvania on Sundays so that is the safest day to hike (there are bills proposed to end this ban… so enjoy it now.)

Now on this particular day I didn’t hit the trails – I wasn’t wearing orange and didn’t want to take my chances so I will have to go back again to finish up this posting, but one thing I learned is that the Appalachian Trail passes through Ibberson so if you’ve had an itch to hike the trail, this is a place you can give it a go.

Trails

Trails at Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area are:

  • Evergreen Trail – 1.1 miles, easy (Red blaze, begins at parking area)

  • Victoria Trail – 3 miles, difficult
  • Old Sawmill Trail – .9 miles, easy
  • Pine Trail – .9 miles, easy
  • Turkey Foot Trail – .6 miles, easy
  • Rock Trail – .8 miles, moderate -rocky
  • Whitetail Trail – 1.8 miles, difficult
  • Appalachian Trail – can be reached from both the Victoria and Whitetail Trails

Facilities

Well, it won’t take me long to discuss the comfort facilities at Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area. As a Conservation Area there is minimal development.

On site you will find a covered presentation area used by the naturalists who do educational programs (they are shared with Little Buffalo State Park and Boyd Big Tree Conservation Area – offices are at Little Buffalo).

You will also find two toilets and a water fountain.

And a bulletin board which we already discussed.

Hmmm… that’s pretty much it. Oh yeah, there is a really nice view from the parking area looking toward Halifax as well.

If you want to check out Ibberson for yourself, your map is below:

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Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area

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Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area 40.442460, -76.859180 (Directions)

Can’t wait to go back and hike those trails soon…. but it sure was nice to finally stop and see what was up at the closest State Park/Conservation Area to my home.

Only 120 more parks to go!

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