Holiday Hike on the Appalachian Trail: Caledonia State Park to Big Pine Flat Ridge — Featuring Big Pine Flat Ridge, an Optional Climb Up the Fire Tower to Take In the Magnificent Views, Michaux State Forest, and Chinquapin Hill! A Strenuous 11 Miles
"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 Stevens, 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. Stevens 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.”
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. Two lone hills are what sways me to post this as an easy-side-of-strenuous, rather than a moderate hike.
Near the end this hike, we take a side-trail that leads us to Big Flat Fire Tower. There are fine views of valley farms and the treed rises of the Michaux State Forest from the top. If you dare to climb the tower’s 72 steps, you will be rewarded with a viewing platform, 85 feet above the ground, that offers nothing short of spectacular views.
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; Conococheague Creek; Michaux State Forest.
Social history features: Thaddeus Stevens Iron Furnace and Blacksmith's Shop.
Other features: Caledonia State Park pool; a view from Big Flat Fire Tower that provides great view from the top!
Hike Difficulty: Strenuous only due to two hills combined with the hike's total distance— otherwise this is a moderate trek
Trailhead Elev: 900 feet
Top Elev: 2000 feet
There is no park fee for this hike.
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We hike rain or shine! Click Here to see the minute forecast for where we will be hiking.
This hike will be led at an average hikers pace, which is about 2.5 mph.
Our RSVP Policies and Group Etiquette
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Carpool Suggestions and Information
Note that you are responsible for knowing how to get from carpool locations to the venue. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is not responsible for transportation to and from events or carpools. Suggested carpool times and locations are provided as a courtesy because many members are either new to the area or unfamiliar with a particular hike or venues location. Please use the Comments section below, or reach out via e-mail to make arrangements for carpooling needs and/or offerings.
Baltimore Area Carpool Suggestion - Savage Station
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore area, people can arrange to meet at Savage Station. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Savage Station location.
DC Area Carpool Suggestion - Centreville
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, people can arrange to meet at the Centreville Park and Ride. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Centreville Park and Ride location.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location and needs in the comment section below. Click Here for a list of suggested carpool locations, each complete with a physical address, GPS coordinates, driving directions and additional carpool information.
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
Meet & Greet and Sign-In — 9:45-9:55 a.m.
The Hike is at 10:00 a.m.
Carpool Time from Savage Station — 7:45 a.m.
Carpool Time from Centreville Park and Ride — 7:45 a.m.
Please remember we are a volunteer supported organization that values fellowship and camaraderie while practicing good hike etiquette and Leave No Trace principles. Our hikes are led by generous, dedicated, and qualified MAHG members who volunteer as leaders for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups volunteer leadership team. Hikes also have a volunteer “sweeper” to help ensure that no hiker is left behind. MAHG volunteers and members are very supportive, encouraging, with a focus on safety while enjoying the excellent camaraderie and benefiting from the many health benefits of hiking and unplugging from the stress of day-to-day life. Sharing what we know and learning from each other is an important part of MAHGs core values, as is our dedication to the conservation of our natural resources and our commitment to the organization's mission. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a volunteer supported tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, and donations ARE tax deductible. Tax ID: [masked].
A Well-Mannered, Leashed Fido is Welcome on this Hike!
Let’s have fun out on the trails and see you there
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• 100% of Every Dollar Goes Directly to the Expenses of Serving our Mission.
Refunds offered if:
Additional notes: Holiday & holiday weekend events are non-refundable & non-transferable. Visit midatlantichikinggroup.org for MAHG info or the 'Pages' tab. MAHG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization & donations (not fees) ARE Tax Deductible-Tax ID: 47-5141831
Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.