Appalachian Trail: Pine Grove Furnace State Park to Clark's Ferry

The halfway point for the Appalachian Trail.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
72 km
Ascent
1.8 km
Descent
2 km
Duration
1 day +
Low Point
100 m
High Point
445 m
Gradient
12˚
VIEW ON MAP
Appalachian Trail: Pine Grove Furnace State Park to Clark's Ferry Map

Description

Home to the Appalachian Trail Museum, the historical and picturesque Pine Grove Furnace State Park serves as the southern terminus for this segment—also noted as the official halfway mark for the AT.

Known for other activities such as fishing, camping, and cycling, this park serves as a hub and excellent resupply point for a longer thru-hike. Whether a novice day hiker or experienced thru-hiker, countless options to form other hikes can be found in the area.

This segment can be divided into three pieces. The first portion heads northeast through the state park and Michaux State Forest—considered the northernmost portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Leaving the mountains, the trail traverses through rural Pennsylvania farmlands and over a couple of major thoroughfares. The Carlisle Pike serves as the best opportunity to leave the trail and head into town for a resupply. This area is also the crossroads of two major highways, making lodging opportunities plentiful.

As the trail continues north, it passes over a creek before making its way over a ridge and down to Valley Road. A small trailhead is located here and makes a great day hiking opportunity to visit Cove Mountain and Hawk Rock—also accessible from Duncannon.

These two vantage points offer beautiful views of the valley below, plus an excellent vantage point of the Susquehanna River. If beginning in Duncannon, a spur trail to Hawk Rock can create a loop with the AT for an excellent day hike opportunity.

Passing through the small trail town of Duncannon, you'll cross two bridges over the river before reaching a large parking area along the railroad track. Should you be shuttling any portion of this segment, this is an excellent place to stage a vehicle.

Sources: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/PineGroveFurnaceStatePark/Pages/default.aspx

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Guidebooks in this area