View Full Version : Hiking southern PA in October for a week

Gambit McCrae
07-15-2014, 09:56
Can some please provide a day to day for southern PA? I will have from saturday to the following sat/ early sunday to hike from Pen Mar North. More info the better.

I will have a light pack and am comfortable going 15-17 miles consistantly thru the nc/ tn section if that helps. I am hiking all of it over 7-10 years so miles are important but it is my vacation as well. Will the leaves be changing yet in october 15thish?

07-15-2014, 12:06
Here are some waypoints:

Duncannon - 83 miles - easy for you.

Rt. 501 - 130 miles - for 8 days of hiking, this averages 16 mpd. If you can hike 15-17 mpd in the Smokies, you hike this although keep in mind the reduced daylight in October. Also, the PA rockfields will slow you down, especially after ascending from Swatara Gap (2nd crossing of I-81). You'll find 2 recent threads on PA rocks - go to "New Posts" and start scrolling down. I don't know how easy the logistics are from Rt. 501 nor how safe it is to leave a car there, assuming you want to hike to your car after getting a shuttle to PenMar.

Port Clinton - 153 miles - a 19 mpd average for 8 days. Can you squeeze a 9th day? Port Clinton used to have bus service. Not sure if they still do.

If you start your hike around Oct. 15, you'll see colorful foliage. If you end it then, you may see some.

Check with the ATC about hunting season.

Gambit McCrae
07-15-2014, 12:51
Thanks so much, I have 5 days of vacation, and live in cookeville tn, which means that I leav friday after work, and drive to at least around Pen Mar or harpers ferry. Get up early saterday and drive to mid PA whereever I end up choosing, and get shuttled back to penMar. I dont think I could do 7 19 mile days. I will need pretty much all day for the trip home which eliminates more than liek 2-4 miles on sunday. But if I end the trip saturday then i see it as wasting time i coudl use on the trail. so I will have from saturday until the following sunday morning. I feel comfortable doing about 15-17 mile days, but I also want to spend a night or 2 in towns while still pulling addiquate days. Duncannon looks good. I have a attempt at my trip written down at home I will post later which is pretty much shelter hopping although I will be bringing my tent. I have hiked almost 25 % of the AT on weekends since October

07-15-2014, 13:16
If you have an extra day at the end, you can tour Gettysburg.

07-15-2014, 21:44
It is Bow Season in PA at that time of year. Rifle season is in December

07-16-2014, 00:57
Southern PA has rocks - BUT NOT the razor rocks! It also has lovely fields mixed in! I found it to be an area of great milage!

Gambit McCrae
07-16-2014, 09:28
Can one stay at the michiner cabin(locked)? As in tent there?

Gambit McCrae
07-16-2014, 09:32
Michener* spelling

Rain Man
07-16-2014, 09:36
I hiked southern PA (to Swatara Gap) in October '12. It was a great, but tough hike. The rocks do get to be a tedious drag, as I couldn't get a rhythm going. I'm not sure if I can find our exact schedule, but will look for it. Here's a link to the photo album of our trip, if that might help--

Pen Mar Park to Swatara Gap photos. (http://www.meetup.com/NashvilleBackpacker/photos/all_photos/?photoAlbumId=11518222)

If I might be able to answer specific questions, just let me know. BTW, I'm in Nashville and stop in Cookeville every week or two for dinner, if you want to go over maps in person.



07-16-2014, 09:42
Rain Man, just wait until you resume your section hiking from Swatara Gap - talk about a tedious drag!;)

Gambit McCrae
07-16-2014, 09:47
Thanks Rainman That would be great! Do you have a notable Shuttle I could use to get to penmar from swatara? I will be driving with my Lab, he does most the driving

07-16-2014, 11:29
There may be easier shuttle options from Duncannon, check the ATC website. As others mentioned wear Blaze Orange, something is better than nothing. Don't forget something orange for the dog. I like the inexpensive hunting vests found at stores like Walmart. They fit over a backpack pretty well.
That section is the easiest in Pa. you will should be able to crank out some miles... Boiling Springs might be a nice town stop but it is only a day's hike to Duncannon. You will go through two campgrounds that have showers... Pine grove Furnace state park and Caledonia State Park. Pine Grove Furnace has the Iron Masters Hostel.
I think the guide says you are not supposed to camp around the cabins, plus there will certainly be someone in it at that time of year. I have a lot of notes on my maps at home with camp spots along that route. PM me if interested. I live in PA and walk these areas often.
The leaves should be beautiful at that time of year, depending on the weather between now and then.

Gambit McCrae
07-16-2014, 11:37
gwb THANK YOU! This is the kind of info I am looking for. I believe I will be doing this with just me and the pup unless I see interest on here to join me. I want to get in as many miles as I can. And to cut weight will prolly do a couple mail drops just for the practice of doing so, I know its only a week, just wanting the experience

07-16-2014, 22:14
Can one stay at the michiner cabin(locked)? As in tent there?

No is probably the correct answer. You'd have to rent the cabin via the PATC. (Though, if someone is renting it when you are there, you could always ask them). However, if, from the cabin, you take the Dead Woman Hollow Trail after passing by the Tumbling Run headwaters, you'll reach a nice charcoal flat that has been used as a campsite, and most likely is far enough away from the cabin that camping is allowed.