The Tuscarora Trail: Section 2 - Flat Rock: PA 74 to Colonel Denning State Park
A Moderate 13.2 Mile Section Hike
This section is named for the large rock outcrop located near the southern end of the section in the Tuscarora State Forest. The trail passes through the Florence Jones Reineman wildlife Sanctuary, private property who has graciously allowed hikers on the trail to pass through, and the Tuscarora State Forest.
The 6.0 miles from Waggoners Gap to Berrys Gap is one of the rockiest sections of the Tuscarora and has no access to water. From Berrys Gap the trail descends into Wildcat Hollow and enters the Tuscarora State Forest. The trail re-ascends Blue Mountain (elevation 198 ft) to reach the Float Rock Vista with spectacular views of the Cumberland Valley. Following the Flat Rock Trail, the Tuscarora Trail reaches what is called the "Wagonwheel" junction and the Wagon wheel Shelter at the top of the ridge above Doubling Gap. This gap is so named because Blue Mountain doubles on itself forming a deep revers "S" shape before continuing southwest. The trail then descends into Doubling Gap and enters Colonel Denning State Park ending at PA 233.
Unique Sites We Will See on This Section
Florence Jones Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary: A registered natural landmark established in 1966 as a private sanctuary for all forms of wildlife.
Flat Rock Vista: Elevation: 1987 ft. Prominent view of Cumberland Valley.
Tuscarora State Forest: The trail is within or near this state forest from mile 19.8 to 48.5.
Wildcat Hollow: Natural area with hemlocks along Wildcat Run.
What Is the Tuscarora Trail?
The Tuscarora Trail is a long-distance hiking trail that splits off from the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, passes through West Virginia and Maryland, then rejoins the Appalachian Trail near Marysville, Pennsylvania. It is 252 miles (406 km) long, and includes both the 110-mile (180 km) trail section formerly known as the Tuscarora Trail in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and the 142-mile (229 km) trail section formerly known as the Big Blue Trail in Virginia and West Virginia.
The Tuscarora Trail (including the Big Blue section) was built as a speculative alternative route for the Appalachian Trail. It was built further west, in a more wild corridor, because it was feared that development would force closure of the AT, before the Federal effort to conserve that trail.
Much of the trail in Pennsylvania was closed in the 1980s because a gypsy moth onslaught had killed much of the surrounding oak forest. The trail became overgrown with brambles, briar's and other vegetation to become impassable. The trail has since been re-opened and is now maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.
The Tuscarora Trail is today an official side-trail of the Appalachian Trail and is blazed in blue.
This trail eventually will become a component of the Great Eastern Trail, which will extend from Alabama to the Finger Lakes in New York state.
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Newville, PA
Length: 13.2 miles
Exposure: Mostly shady; less so in winter
Elevation Gain: feet
Trail Type: Point to Point
Skill Level: Strenuous
Local Maps: PATC Map J
We hike rain or shine. Click here to see an up to the minute forecast for the area where we will be hiking.
There are 2 carpools for this hike!
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station. Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location in the comment section below. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Directions to Where We Meet for This Hike
Hike Meetup Time is at 10:00am
Carpool meetup time at Savage is 8:00 a.m.
Gear Information Click here for suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes.
Please remember we are a social hiking group that values fellowship and camaraderie and practice good hike etiquette. We take breaks as necessary and have at least one guide in the front in addition to a "sweeper" in the back which means that no hiker is left behind. If you get upset because someone has to rest at the top of a hill etc. then please find another group! We are very supportive, encouraging, and focus on safety while getting or staying fit on the trail and practicing Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.
Fido is welcome on this hike!
Be sure to take the hike leaders numbers with you just in case!