View Full Version : Port Clinton to Ducannon Hike

01-14-2014, 12:45
A friend and I are planning a week long hike between Port Clinton and Ducannon Pennsylvania on the AT SOBO. I understand its approximately 70 miles, but was wondering how long it generally takes to hike this section. Thanks.

01-14-2014, 14:05
It's really hard to say not knowing the level of your experiance and fitness. A week should be pleanty to go 70 miles through there. You have to hike shelter to shelter if for no other reason then that's were you'll find water and that will determine your daily milage. So, find out how far apart shelters are space along there and plan from that.

01-14-2014, 16:08
A friend and I are planning a week long hike between Port Clinton and Ducannon Pennsylvania on the AT SOBO. I understand its approximately 70 miles, but was wondering how long it generally takes to hike this section. Thanks.

As an older thruhiker it took me 4 days. If I were to do it as a section hike I would figure 5-6 days. That said, I don't know your capabilities. I felt that the miles were a bit easier here than a typical section of the southern AT but close to average. The climbs are very benign, with not much elevation gain, but this is the part of PA where the rocks start to get nasty.

Six or seven days should be a cruise for your age if in average health.

01-14-2014, 20:07
If you start in P. C., it'll be a short day's trek to the Eagle's Nest Shelter (water from stream). Another day's hike will put you at either the Hertline Campsite (PLENTY of water) or the Rt. 501 shelter (check with caretakers for water from outside tap). The William Penn Shelter is an easy (but rocky) morning farther south from here (water from spring on the other side of the ridge), but the next shelter and spring (Rausch Gap) is a GOOD day's march beyond, with a descent and an ascent before the final downhill into Stony Valley and the Rausch Creek crossing (do not drink - acid mine-water pollution). South of here (another good day's trek) is the Peter's Mtn. shelter (water is WAY downhill). Beyond this point, my memory is fuzzy.

Get the maps - you can find LOTS of other water sources that way. When are you going?

01-14-2014, 23:14
Thanks everyone, I'm fairly new to backpacking so I'm not too good with distance to time. I'm planning to leave the first week of February to prepare for my thru-hike in March. I recently got Awols guide in the mail and will probably just scan the section I'm hiking and use that. Also I'm not in terrible shape, I think I could go up a few hills, but will probably hit the gym a few times before this.

01-14-2014, 23:29
In 2012 I did that hike in 4 days. Going south I believe would be easier than north. Watch leaving Port Clinton leaving, after crossing the tracks and going uphill. In a rain storm I didn't see the blazes. Water won't be an issue, it will most likely be wet. Be safe, have fun

01-15-2014, 19:20
If anything, the biggest issue right now will be the mud!!! It seems that we don't really get "winter" any more: not much snow, but more ice, and then it warms up and everything turns to muck and slop....

Try some bicycling along with some "just walking" (with or without a weighted daypack) to get ready for the trip. Pa.'s mountains aren't THAT hard, but the rocks will surprise you!!

liberty lover
01-15-2014, 21:59
I love that section.Nice climb out of Port Clinton.If you can make it to the 501 Shelter,the pizza place delivers there.If you are tenting,you can stay at the Hertlein Campsite.I have spent many nights there and it is very nice.Check out the neat dam using the blue blazed trail.I hope you have a great trek.

Wise Old Owl
01-15-2014, 22:21
You left out a start date - your pack is much heavier at this time of the year... other-wise I agree with Chin & ShelterBuilder

01-15-2014, 23:12
I live (when in the states) about 3 miles from Eagles Nest Shelter so am very familiar with this section and have hiked it about 7 or 8 times, starting when I was in the Boy Scouts in the 60's.

Keep in mind, it is mostly on PA state game land and they don't like you camping just anywhere.

Eagles Next shelter is a very nice one, although as most shelters do, has many mice, last time I was there. (my house is visible from the nearby lookout)

Next is Hertline campsite as someone mentioned. There are a few tent platforms there and a nearby spring and also a nearby pond that we used to swim in (not sure if they allow that anymore, but, why not?)

Then comes 501 shelter which is at someone's house (well the ATC owns it but there's a caretaker there who calls it home) So, it's very accessible and as someone mentioned, they deliver pizza although I believe it is frowned upon. (hikers tend to leave their trash, and that's not cool)

Then there's the William Penn shelter which is south of the trail (while the water source is north). This is because the spring is on PA state game land, but the shelter is not.

Next is Rausch Gap shelter which was recently rebuilt. I haven't seen the new one but, saw a video of how they built it. quite impressive.
This shelter ^ is in a unique area that has a lot of history. Used to be a gold mine, Indian village, coal mining, and a beautiful trout stream nearby.
Check out St. Anthony's wilderness to learn more.

Continuing SOBO, you pass DeHart dam, which is Harrisburg's water supply and a beautiful lake and outlet stream. I don't believe they allow camping nearby, which is a shame because this is a nice wooded area.

Climb from there and one more shelter before reaching Duncannon. That would be Peters Mountain shelter. I've only stayed there once as it is not far from a road and Duncannon is not far.
But, if it works out for you.......................

One other small fact, the AT will cross Interstate 81 for the first time for a SOBO'er.
It crosses this interstate about 10 times altogether and on your second or third day, you should cross it and then you will enter a short piece of Swatara State Park, which is a fairly new state park. Lots of mtn bikers use this park (but not the AT) as they have built a nice maze of trails for them.

Enjoy the hike.

01-16-2014, 18:58
I was also wondering if there were any shuttles, taxis, etc. in Ducannon that could take us back to our car in Port Clinton, that would make this trip much easier.

01-16-2014, 22:28
I live near hamburg pa I may be able to shuttle you as long as it is a Saturday or Sunday