View Full Version : East Pennsylvania Weekend Excursion

08-19-2007, 16:21
Looking for some help with a weekend hike preferably within 2-3 hours of the Philadelphia area. Distance no greater than 30-35 miles. Incorporating the AT for part of it would be a plus but not necessary (help me with my extremely slow section hike). Thanks.

08-19-2007, 16:38
I just thought you should know it's been dry here lately although it's been raining most of today. I'll find the thread on Berks County (Reading area) water sources I helped with recently and post the link for you.

There are other threads that may also be helpful to you in planning your hike. Anyone else who reads this thread, please help with links to other threads if you can. coyle, sb and et. al. let's see what we can do for nightcrawler.

08-19-2007, 16:48
Swatara Gap to the Susquehanna River might be one such hike. The distance from The Waterville Bridge to Clark's Ferry Bridge is 33.5 miles according to ALDHA's Online Companion.

You might be able to find a safe place to park your car at Duncannon, hire a shuttle to Swatara Gap and hike back to Duncannon. Since I presume you will have a car, there are many interesting places you might visit in this area before or after your hike.

Before posting more, I'll let others post some of their ideas and wait for you to indicate your preferences.

08-19-2007, 17:19
The thread I mentioned in my 1st post is called "Water from Shelter 501 to Port Clinton? (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=26549)". Actually the thread title should read in part 501 Shelter. The A.T. shelter's name is shorthand for SR (State Route) 501. That portion of the A.T. would be east of Swatara Gap. It might be useful depending upon where you decide to hike.

08-19-2007, 17:52
There are all kinds of ideas for short hikes in the thread entitled Best places to see/hike in PA?? (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=375169#post375169). You will find many suggestions for places to visit near the A.T. in this thread. I always recommend section-hikers and weekenders consider exploring some the many places near the A.T. in Pennsylvania worth visiting.

08-19-2007, 21:38
Thanks for all the info! I will definitely check on water availability when I figure out the place. From glancing through these other threads you seem to be full of info for the area.

08-19-2007, 21:52
You'd be surprised how many people from Pennsylvania are full of it!:D

08-19-2007, 22:00
HAHAHA! You mentioned finding a safe place to park a car in Duncannon. Is this a real problem there?

08-19-2007, 22:46
I don't consider myself an authority on parking in Duncannon, but there are those who post here regularly who are. I would think there are some places better than others as with most towns.

Do you think you might like to hike the 1st 30-35 miles east of the Susquehanna River? It would be the portion of the A.T. in which you expressed interest nearest Ohio.

If you decide upon that section, you could go here (http://www.nedsmithcenter.org/), maybe after cleaning up and enjoying a Purist Pale Ale at the Doyle. Be sure to click on Ned Smith under ABOUT US to learn more about one of Pennsylvania's great naturalists.

08-20-2007, 07:49
One time a group of friends and I did South Mountain to Pine Grove Furnace. I really enjoy that area and you get to walk through the rhododendron tunnels along the ways, really pretty scenery. It's about 25 miles with some nice climbs. Franklin County has some really nice places to hike, but you also have a lot of strange mountain folk.

08-20-2007, 07:54
nightcrawler requested assistance in planning a hike in East Pennsylvania. I take that to mean east of the Susquehanna River.

sly dog
08-20-2007, 12:33
I will be doing from palmerton to DWG in about 4 weeks or so. I think it will be around 30 something miles.This week i am going to VT and in 3 weeks to the smokies so i cant fit it in till like mid sept but i will be doing it as a overniter mabye 2 nites if you are interested.

Moon Monster
08-20-2007, 13:09
Consider a non-AT loop (easy logistics):

Old Logger's path (27 mi): http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/hiking/logger.aspx
http://www.pahikes.com/trails/oldloggerspath01.asp (whole trail not described here)

Probably a bit over 3 hours from Philly, though.

08-20-2007, 15:06
Thanks for all the input. In response to the Eastern PA debate, I am actually in Philadelphia right now so proximity to Ohio is not a concern. I am just not familiar with trails in the area.

I had initially started looking online for a loop trail like the one Moon Monster suggested, but was having difficulty with that. So I decided to turn to everyone on wb to help out. The loop trail would be easier logisticly, but there is always the lure of the AT.

And to sly dog, thanks for the offer but I will be gone by then

08-21-2007, 18:55
nightcrawler, when do you want to hike? How much time is available to us to work on this thread and suggest hikes for you?

If you want a circuit hike, consider a day-hike or day-hikes on Hamburg's watershed and/or Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. There's all kinds of lodgings available in northern Berks. See Hawk Mountain's website linked above for more information.

We've had rain several days in a row. I would think water should no longer be hard to come by high on Blue Mountain.

This thread doesn't seem to be attracting many posts. I'm giving it a much-needed boost.

08-22-2007, 11:02
The hike would take place this weekend. Unfortunately some things have come up for my hiking partner that may not allow it. Right now we are looking at some of the loop trails on the dcnr site linked above. I think we will land on one soon to be ready to go to if circumstances permit.

The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary area is one that has been added to my list though. From what I have seen about it, I now want to go. I will hopefully be able to get there when the weather will be nicer than it is supposed to be this weekend.

Thanks for all the advice. I'll be back to this area and next time I will have a better idea of where to go.

Moon Monster
08-22-2007, 14:11
Loops abound in Pennsylvania.

Of the Pennsylvania State Forest Trails that are loops, I have done the Old Logger's Path (27 mi), the Pinchot Trail (23 mi), the Black Forest Trail (42 mi), the John Saylor Trail (18 mi), the East and West loops of the Chuck Keiper Trail (22 and 33 mi), and the main loop of the Thunder Swamp Trail (27 mi).

All are somewhat described on the DCNR's website (just Google their names).

Of these, my top recommendation for a slow hike <35 miles is the OLP I mentioned earlier in the thread. Next would be the East loop of the Chuck Keiper. I recommend totally avoiding the Thunder Swamp Trail, unless its proximity to Philly is too enticing.

Everyone living in Pennsylvania should eventually hike the Black Forest Trail, but it is a tough walk. Further afield of Philly (but closer to Ohio), and highly recommended by others are the three loops of the Quehanna Trail with their Elk herds. One notable linear trail--the West Rim Trail (30 mi)--is logistically doable by using the professional shuttle run by Pine Creek Outfitters.

08-22-2007, 16:10
The area bounded by Hawk Mountain, the Pinnacle/Pulpit Rocks, and Port Clinton is laced with trails that make interesting circle hikes. Water is generally plentiful, but some of these trails are shown better on DCNR and/or Pa. Game Commission "sportsman" maps (available through the DCNR District Forester's Office and/or the Game Commission). Note that the Game Commission does not allow camping on its land, except along the AT. Wildlife (from snakes to turkey to deer to bear) is also plentiful, so walk quitely and keep your camera handy....