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McCall's Ferry Nature Preserve


McCall's Ferry Rd. | Lower Chanceford Township | York County


McCall's Ferry Nature Preserve is a truly magical place. The preserve, managed by Lancaster Conservancy, uses a section of the Mason Dixon Trail to take you through the preserve. The hike starts along the shores of the Susquehanna River and then travels along Oakland Run, which is a delightful glen full of waterfalls and mossy rocks.

The hike becomes quite challenging after the falls, it's a true hiker's hike. It's steep and very rocky, but a a certain point you pass through what seems like endless rhododendron tunnels. (you can also choose to take the Eagle Bypass that loops back to the road). The trail will take you to the end of the preserve where you can continue along the Mason Dixon Trail though PA State Game Lands 181 or turn around and go back the way you came.


Distance: 5 mile and 2.5 mile trail options

Time: 1 hr 30 min- 2hrs 20 min

Terrain: dirt | rocks | wooded | water

Difficulty: medium well to burnt

Activities: hiking | trail running | leashed dogs

Trail Blaze: blue & yellow

Parking: small parking lot

Restrooms: port-o-potty at Holtwood dam


Mason Dixon Trail | 2.5 miles point to point (5 miles out and back) medium well/burnt | blue blaze

From the parking lot continue along McCall's Ferry Rd. The trail dips into the woods on the right. The trail skirts the edge of the Susquehanna as it passes by bamboo forests and pawpaw groves. There are several side trails that will lead you down to the water's edge.

When you reach Oakland Run the trail turns right and that is where the magic happens. As you hike up the trail you will pass waterfalls and clear pools.

The trail then takes a turn as you go up a crazy steep hill. The trail continues uphill as you go though endless rhododendron tunnels.

You will cross Oakland Run several times before you come to the edge of the preserve. This is where State Game Lands 181 begins. The Mason Dixon Trail goes on for about a half mile before it reaches E. Posey Rd.

Eagle Bypass Trail | 2.5 mile loop medium well\ burnt | yellow blaze

This trial can be picked up 1.4 miles from the parking lot. It's just after the steep uphill climb away from the falls past the large rock outcropping. There is a sign to the left of the main trail. This trail is not as exciting as the Mason Dixon Trail, it basically cuts through the woods at the top of the ridge. But, I did see an eagle at the top, so it's not just a clever name. The trail will eventually switchback to the road and cross over a stream. From there you take the road back to your car.



From Lancaster take PA-272 S through Willow Street

Turn Right onto PA-372 West at the Buck

After crossing the Norman Wood Bridge take the first right into the parking lot.

The road sign says McCall's Ferry Rd. even though it is River Rd. (It does eventually turn into McCall's Ferry Rd)

Continue down the dirt road past Holtwood Dam for about 1.5 miles. There is as small lot on the right just before the road turns to the left. There is as sign that says "Portage Here."


Nearby Trails:

Mason Dixon Trail


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2 comentarios

25 may

Comment edit. It was not a big salamander but a lizard- a broad headed skink. Had a photo and looked up . About 5 inches long.

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25 may

Thanks for the hiking idea. I never heard of McCalls Ferry before. My son, golden retriever and I took the “burnt” trail based on your photos. It was absolutely beautiful. Soothing sounds of water and waterfalls. Did get a little steep at one point . Definitely not for beginners. Saw a few snakes and large salamander. John

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