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Hiking options between Gettysburg and Donegal PA

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Mar 21st, 2013, 09:43 AM
  #1
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Hiking options between Gettysburg and Donegal PA

We will be taking a mini-vacation to PA over Memorial Day weekend. We would like to find a 4-6 hour day hike to do somewhere between Gettysburg and Donegal. The idea of hiking part of the Appalachian Trail is intriguing - it appears we could get on somewhere around Caledonia SP? That being said - if there are better hiking options in the area - we would love to hear about them. We are experienced hikers and in good shape - so a challenge is OK too. We do prefer being on trails that are hiking only (no mountain biking). Thanks in advance for your help.
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Mar 21st, 2013, 11:02 AM
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My first choice would be to hike the AT. It does run right by Caledonia SP. But, people who live in the area will probably have other options.
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Mar 21st, 2013, 12:03 PM
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I am an enthusiast for the A.T. (I've done 500 miles and plan to double that in 2013) who lives in Pennsylvania.

> We do prefer being on trails that are hiking only (no mountain biking)
By federal legislation, the A.T. is hikers only. Not even horses are permitted on (pretty much) any part of the trail.

The PDFs you want are:
http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/group...t/D_000828.pdf
http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/group...cnr_004834.pdf

There are innumerable places to park your car and start a hike on the A.T. in the area, although Caledonia SP is a good one to choose:
http://rohland.homedns.org:8008/at/s...0&sectionID=13

Big question though: do you intend to hike one way on the trail, and then turn around and do a complete re-hike; or park a car at the end point, drive to the starting point, and then hike between the two parked cars; or some other method?
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Mar 21st, 2013, 01:30 PM
  #4
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Thanks for all the great information! We will only have one car so it will have to be an out and back hike. What are your thoughts knowing that?
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Mar 21st, 2013, 03:45 PM
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> We will only have one car so it will have to be an out and back hike.
> What are your thoughts knowing that?

When I know that a hike *I* plan for MYSELF will start and end at the same place, I try to make that place at the lowest possible elevation. That way, when I'm tired on the way back, I'm going downhill. Also, I see if I can walk back on a gravel road, so that it's even easier.

With that in mind, I suggest you look at the Michaux State Forest map and try to see if there's a point that starts low, climbs to a place where there's a scenic overlook, and then permits a return via a dirt road.
From experience, I can tell you NOT to attempt to walk on paved roads in this area. Many are winding, and have little or no shoulder; so you'll be dodging cars coming out of nowhere the entire walk.

Something to be aware of, if you're not already: the Pennsylvania part of the AT is not that interesting. There are some nice overlooks but, for the most part, it's just a rocky trail with trees all around you.
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Mar 21st, 2013, 03:57 PM
  #6
 
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Here's a link to a site that has hikes in PA with distance and elevation changes. Michaux State Forest (which the AT runs through) has lots of nice hikes - depending upon the spring weather, the Rhododendrons or Mt. Laurel might be out. However if you want to hike the AT, I would go to VA or even MD instead.

http://www.midatlantichikes.com/pa.htm
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Mar 21st, 2013, 04:16 PM
  #7
 
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An alternative to the AT is the Mid State Trail which also runs through the Bald Eagle State Forest where I worked for 35 years. http://www.pahikes.com/trails/bald-eagle-state-forest
One of the nicest sections of the trail is east of Poe Valley State Park through Poe Paddy in the eastern part of Centre County through the old RR tunnel into western Union County.
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 09:59 AM
  #8
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Thanks to everyone - we have quite a few good options to choose from!
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