Holiday AT Hike!
Appalachian Trail and Fire Tower
Caledonia State Park and Big Pine Flat Ridge and Optional Fire Tower Climb to See Magnificent Views
An 11 Moderate-Strenuous Miles
This is a fantastic "transition" hike for those wanting to make the move from moderate to strenuous hiking and is great for anyone who can hike on the more strenuous side of moderate and up from there. Only two lone hills are what sways me to post this as between moderate and strenuous, otherwise a moderate hike. This is one of my favorite 3 hikes of the hundreds I have trekked! Also, in addition to the AT portion of the hike, there is a real cool fire tower to climb and enjoy fantastic views if you care, or rather dare to join us up there. Big Flat fire tower in the Michaux State Forest, invites you to climb 72 steps up to a tiny room 85 feet high in the air (Optional).
"Caledonia was the name given to ancient Scotland by invading Romans, but hikers don't need to be Bravehearts to enjoy the first leg of the AT's ridge top route between Caledonia and Pine Grove Furnace state parks. The hike up to and along Big Pine Flat Ridge is through as pretty a section of Penn's woods as you'll find. It starts in Caledonia SP, named not for Scotland but for Caledonia County, Vermont, hometown of Thaddeus Steven's, an attorney who moved to the area in the 1820s and made his mark as an abolitionist, statesman, and father of the Pennsylvania public school system. Steven's financed the iron industry in the area and got to name the settlement. That's also why his name appears on the reconstructed iron furnace and blacksmith's shop in the park, even through he never shod a horse." © Copyright Glen Scherer and Don Hopey Published by Stackpole Books. All Rights Reserved.
Nearby City: Chambersburg, PA
Length: 11.2 total miles
Trail Type: Point-to-Point
Natural History Features: Caledonia State Park; Chinquapin Hill; Big Pine Flat Ridge; Onococheague Creek; Michaux State Forest.
Social history features: Thaddeus Steven's Iron Furnace and Blacksmith's Shop.
Other features: Caledonia State Park pool; a view from Big Flat Fire Tower which is pictured at the right (great view from up there if you join us at the top)
Hike Difficulty: Easy side of Strenuous only due to two hills--otherwise this is a moderate trek
Duration: About 6.25 hours
Trailhead Elev: 900 feet
Top Elev: 2000 feet
Trail Notes for Leaders
We hike rain or shine! Click here to see the minute forecast for where we will be hiking.
Here are some suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes.
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.
DC Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, meet at the Centerville Park and Ride. Click here for information and directions to the Centerville location. 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
I strongly advise carpooling as parking is limited to about 20 cars, give or take.
Hike is at 9:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time from Savage Station is 6:45 a.m.
Carpool meetup time at Centerville Park and Ride is 6:45a.m.
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 helps ensure 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.
Please note that our holiday and holiday weekend hikes are not refundable for any reason (including switching hikes, not finding the trailhead, or carpools not working out) due to too many people backing out or changing hikes at the last minute. Sorry, but this is the only way to help make sure that there is a good turnout and our leaders not offer to lead a hike on their holiday in vein...or we will be all become burned enough that we will no longer offer them. Since we have made holiday hikes non-refundable it has boosted attendance rate significantly and often have perfect attendance. Thanks so much for your understanding and I look forward to seeing you out on the trail soon.
Fido is Welcome on this Hike with PRIOR Hike Leader Approval
Let's have good times and see you on the trail!