View Full Version : PA Section Hike

Dan Molino
05-08-2013, 09:50
Looking for a 1 or 2 night section hike on the AT in PA. Anyone have any suggestions? Outfitters to contact?

05-08-2013, 09:54
Well, first off. Welcome to Whiteblaze! :welcome

Second, there are lots of good sections on the AT in PA. Could you tell us how many miles per day you anticipate, what your hiking level is and perhaps some of your preferences? Then we can give you some more targeted responses.

Dan Molino
05-08-2013, 10:19
Thanks FarmerChef. I would say 5-10 miles, something not too intense. It will be my wife and I. Preferences would simply be a good representation if the trail and ending near/close to a shuttle back to the beginning. We could always do an out and back.

05-08-2013, 10:41
Ah ok. That helps out quite a bit. I take an annual hike with my aunt and uncle and that's about their speed. From Philly you have a wide stretch of trail available to you.

Much of the trail in PA is rocky and the feet can take some serious abuse. The tradeoff is that the trail is mostly flat by comparison to the northerly and southerly sections of trail. A big climb in PA might be 1,000 feet when you can find one. But these and more are much more abundant elsewhere on the trail.

Looking at 5 to 10 mile sections (unless you meant per day in which case it's 10 - 20) I would recommend the southern end of PA around Pen Mar Park and hiking south or north. One spot that comes to mind that is nice is the section beginning at Reservoir Rd., north of Port Clinton/Hamburg. Hike north from there to either Hawk Mountain Road (total distance = 8.5 miles) or continue on to Fort Franklin Road (total distance = 18.7 miles). In between you will pass Windsor Furnace Shelter, Blue Rocks Campground, Pulpit Rock overlook and the Pinnacle overlook. If you did the longer of the two hikes you'd also pass Hawk Mountain, Eckville Shelter, Dans Pulpit overlook and Allentown Hiking Club Shelter. The key is that the shorter mileage trip has very small climbs (<600 feet) and is mostly ridge walking. The longer section gets your blood pumping with a 600 foot climb onto the next ridge and then continues flat. Another alternative but with a bigger climb is to start/end the section in Port Clinton.

Check out the interactive map on the ATC's website to help put this in perspective: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/find-a-hike/interactive-map

05-08-2013, 10:48
I agree with the Hawk Mtn suggestion. Also recommend starting around the 501 shelter since it will be easy to drive to from Philly and you can park easily and sleep at the shelter.

05-08-2013, 11:26
Caledonia State Park to Pen Mar State Park is a pretty easy walk with a few shlters in the middle to make it a 5-10 miles day both days. I would also imagine its pretty easy to get too and from either end via shuttle although I have never done so.

05-08-2013, 12:56
Blue Rocks camp ground is a nice family spot. You have 2 routes up to the ridge line there, and that is one of the best views at the Pinnacle, with a natural cave to explore. Be advised, it is crowded on weekends- there could be over 100 people up there on a nice weekend. But it does offer looping possibilities while leaving your car in one spot- at Blue Rocks. Do not take the yellow trail up, it is hard, take the blue up and the yellow down. Yellow is very steep, maybe too steep for you to come down on? I have take scores of middle schoolers on this loop. For the tenderfoot crowd this is a great loop.

Rain Man
05-08-2013, 16:05
I just completed PA last month. If you'd like to see photos of the AT in PA, let me know and I'll post links to the photo albums I put online.

You have some fine suggestions already. I'll throw in another. Hike north out of Palmerton/Lehigh Gap. It's an amazing climb up Blue Mountain (the Palmerton SuperFund site) and you also get some fantastic views of the Lehigh River and then all over Palmerton for the next several miles Pennsylvania has numerous gaps and road crossings, so you have a choice of where to stop and get shuttled or position your car.

Another possibility is to start south of the Delaware Water Gap and hike into the town of Delaware Water Gap. Again, some fantastic views. Edge of the Woods Outfitters in DWG will do a shuttle for you up there.

Of course, you could reverse direction of either of these suggestions, though I'd caution against descending the rocks into Lehigh Gap. Safer to climb them, I think. Lots of views in PA to go with the lots of rocks.



05-08-2013, 17:52
I would start at Port Clinton and head north. This way you get to check out the Pinnacle. Depending on your daily miles you would also hit Dan's Pulpit. You can end at PA 309 for a good burger at the Blue Mountain B&B.

Rain Man
05-08-2013, 20:51
You can end at PA 309 for a good burger at the Blue Mountain B&B.

I can give the Blue Mountain Summit Restaurant B&B a big thumbs-up. Spent the night and ate dinner and breakfast there.



05-08-2013, 22:18
I did a hike from hamburg to lehigh gap. I covered about 16 a day and slept st the allentown shelter. I suggest you park at hawk mountain and hike to thr allentown shelter, that place was really nice. if you want to do a 2 night you could cut your millage and do the same hike I did, it was great. the knifes edge is really cool and there are good views thought the whole thing. it is possible to take 2 cars, park one at lehigh and the other at hawk mountain.

05-09-2013, 15:34
Caledonia SP to Pine Grove Furnace is almost exactly 20 miles. Using Caledonia as the starting point, it's 2.6 miles to the Quarry Gap Shelter (one of the AT's best); from there to Birch Run is 7.4 miles; 6.2 miles from Birch Run to Tom's Run and then 3.7 to Pine Grove Furnace. This stretch isn't very rocky and is all pretty easy hiking. You could even do a late afternoon start from either end and reach a shelter after a few miles, then do a full second day and comparatively short third day.

05-09-2013, 15:40
Quarry Gap Shelter (one of the AT's best)

+1 Quarry Gap is VERY nice!!

05-09-2013, 15:42
+1 Quarry Gap is VERY nice!!

Is that the one with the snoring and non snoring sides, hanging baskets and cupola over the covered cooking area?

05-09-2013, 22:16
Tumbling Run has the snore/npn-snore shelters. That's another great shelter.

05-10-2013, 06:43
Is that the one with the snoring and non snoring sides, hanging baskets and cupola over the covered cooking area?

It does have two separate sleeping areas, though not labeled for snoring/non-snoring. Yes there are hanging baskets of flowers, daffodils planted by the stream, and cute little wooden ducks on the walls at key places. Very homey and very clean. There's a sign up from the "Innkeeper", Jim Stauch - if I remember right. Rock sides of the little stream, which you cross to get to the spring, have been very nicely mortared. The second picture is looking from the shelter toward the trail. There's a bench to the left, a tent platform to the right, a gate(!), and a roofed box (bear box, I guess. Didn't investigate). Privy is up the hill to the right, clean with a nice book about privies to study while you sit. Outside there's a trash can! But it's labeled a "slob can" and you're still asked to pack your own trash out. :)

Spirit Walker
05-10-2013, 11:10
You can also make a loop hike out of Caledonia SP, using the Waterline Tr. to Quarry Gap Rd., up Quarry Gap about a mile, then Locust Gap Trail out to Milesburn Rd. to Birch Run Rd., up the Rocky Knob Trail to the AT, follow the AT out to Birch Run Shelter for the night (or camp along Rocky Knob), then head back on the AT to Caledonia. Or vice versa.