Mont Alto State Park, opened in 1902, is the oldest park in the PA DCNR system, and its one of the smallest. I have an unexplained fondness for this park. It’s like one of your grandfather’s cufflinks – old, cute, small, but useless when you think about it. Still, I like the park, and visit when I can.

The park is on Route 233 on South Mountain, a few miles north of the Mason-Dixon line. The park consists of a picnic area, restrooms, a play area that’s seen better days, a bridge over the West Branch of the Antietam Creek – yes, THAT Antietam Creek – and a carousel shell. Mont Alto was originally an amusement park, and the roof of the carousel was used to cover a raised picnic area.

The trails in the park are short and seem to go nowhere. There are forest roads on either side of the park one can hike on, but for this trip I restricted myself to lunch ‘under the big top’ and walks along Antietam Creek. The creek isn’t very wide or deep, and it jumps and runs over rocks like other streams in the South Mountain area. This cascade I found interesting enough to photograph it from both sides.

Fed and wet, I left the park and headed north to Tumbling Run, where I got wetter.