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  1. #1
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    Default 30-40 mile loop Duncannon area

    My older son took a position in Harrisburg PA recently, looking to plan a 3-4 day hike on the AT near him. Any loops near Carlisle / Duncannon?
    My name is Tabasco and I approve this message.

  2. #2
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    i could be wrong, but i dont think theres much through there besides the AT. the other big trail through the area is the Tuscarora, which has its northern intersection with the AT just south of duncannon. its southern intersection with the AT though is hundreds of miles south.

    there might be some way to go 10 or 15 miles down the tuscarora and cut back to the AT.... maybe with some roadwalking, but a local would have to weigh in on that.

    for sure the cumberland valley really is an impediment to what youre looking for in the area.

  3. #3

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    Hike in 20 miles, turn around and hike back out. The AT is a linear trail and loops are few and far between.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tabasco View Post
    My older son took a position in Harrisburg PA recently, looking to plan a 3-4 day hike on the AT near him. Any loops near Carlisle / Duncannon?
    I know the trail on the south/west side of the river. You pretty much have to do an out and back. I like loops better and add little side trails to make day hikes/runs a little more like a loop, but I'm talking very short side trails. If he can make it to Pine Grove Furnace area, he could do a loop on some other trails in the park or Michaux state park so he wouldn't have to literally pivot and turn around. Or use the grocery store at Pine Grove or the halfway sign as a turnaround point and that'd be kinda cool.

    On the north/east side of the river, maps show some other trails out there that appear to be more loopable. I'd be interested in hearing what those are like.

  5. #5

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    If you go North a bit on the AT, there is lot of loops trails within State Games 211. (Which the AT passes through.) I spent years exploring the many marked (And unmarked.) side trails in this area.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ts99 View Post
    I know the trail on the south/west side of the river. You pretty much have to do an out and back. I like loops better and add little side trails to make day hikes/runs a little more like a loop, but I'm talking very short side trails. If he can make it to Pine Grove Furnace area, he could do a loop on some other trails in the park or Michaux state park so he wouldn't have to literally pivot and turn around. Or use the grocery store at Pine Grove or the halfway sign as a turnaround point and that'd be kinda cool.

    On the north/east side of the river, maps show some other trails out there that appear to be more loopable. I'd be interested in hearing what those are like.
    The OP wants to do a 3-4 day hike, so campsites are required. Maybe the son can make friends with someone at work who could be talked into dropping them off and picking them back up a few days later. Caledonia to Boiling Springs is a nice section and reasonably convenient to Harrisburg. North of Harrisburg your forced into doing some long days between shelters. Not hard, unless it's hot.
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  7. #7
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    I have some of the State Game Lands 211 hiking trails in my online guide and iOS app. Here's a map: http://www.bighike.net/m?lat=40.438417&lon=-76.762153 There's definitely potential for a loop in there. Interesting historical sites around there, and rausch gap shelter is super cool.

  8. #8

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    You can probably loop around SGL, but make sure you know the rules. You can only camp near the AT or at the shelters. Even camping around that shelter is illegal. Can only camp in that shelter itself.

  9. #9
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    A bit of a drive but the Pine Creek/West Rim Trail at Pine Creek Gorge is much better loop than anything you will see on the AT. It is about 50 miles. Another option is looping the Mid States Trail east of State College with any number of trails and forest roads. Here is a shot of Pine Creek Gorge.
    F35A64A3-2A3B-4C34-BC7D-597E0C2A12EC.jpeg
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  10. #10

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    Tuscarora State Forest would offer some loop ideas. Using the Tuscarora Trail, and some trails in the Masland Natural Area, Bill Miller, Cold Spring, and so forth can make a nice remote loop.

    Michaux State Forest is also an option, though some of the best hiking is on unmarked trails, and even those of us with much experience in that area can still get lost. But I think a Caledonia/Pine Grove Furnace loop using the AT one way, and assorted trails, mostly blazed, for the way back.
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  11. #11
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    Here is a relatively little known loop, which this writeup doesn't mention passes near two classic outdoorsmens' bars (Waterville Tavern, and Happy Acres), paradoxically much easier to reach than some other trails like the Black Forest or Old Loggers Path, in the northcentral PA Wilds:

    https://www.purplelizard.com/blogs/n...creek-valley-1
    https://www.purplelizard.com/blogs/n...ine-state-park

    If you go on the Tuscarora Trail along the Cumberland/Perry county line and loop around in Tuscarora State Forest you will really discover Rocksylvania. At least one recipient of the PA State Forest Hiking Trails award (for hiking all 798 miles of designated hiking trails in PA's State Forests) terms the Tuscarora Trail between PA 233 and PA 74 the rockiest trail in the entire state.

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