Holiday Weekend AT Section Hike: Pen Mar County Park to Caledonia State Park— Featuring 6 Rock Scrambles Mt. Dunlop Summit, Chimney Rocks, Waynesboro Reservoir, Snowy Mt. Fire Tower! A Very Strenuous 17.9 Mile Hike
Driving Distance from D.C. is only 76 miles which is much closer than both Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest for hikers coming from or near D.C.!
Starting from Pen Mar, you start by walking in the past - where the Western Maryland Railroad built and maintained an amusement park for sixty years. Continuing north on the AT, you make your way over Mt. Dunlop to reach the Old Forge Picnic Grounds of Michaux State Forest. There are several rock scrambles along the way! The section from Old Forge Picnic Grounds to Caledonia is considered one of the most delightful day hikes in Pennsylvania.
Out of the Antietam Cove area, once the extended Blue Ridge, is gained on what is known locally as South Mountain, where there are several excellent views, an unexpected boggy area, and a good half dozen rock outcroppings to scramble through before a gradual descent into the valley that holds Conococheague Creek and Caledonia State Park.
Pre-Approval Required for this Very Strenuous Hike
(Requirement Waived for Members Who Have Earned Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group’s “Pre-Approved for Very Strenuous” Hikes Badge) You must contact the hike leader BEFORE signing up for this VERY Strenuous hike. The reason for this requirement is so that you and the hike leader can make an informed decision together as to whether this is a hike for you at this particular time. Hiking beyond your current physical limitations is dangerous and puts everyone, including yourself, at risk. At 48 hours before the hike, if anyone is signed up for this hike without first contacting the hike leader and gaining approval to attend will have their RSVP updated to “not attending” and no refund issued. (this is to encourage people not to fill up the hike without first getting approved). We appreciate your understanding and let's all have a great adventure!
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Rouzerville
Length: 17.7 total miles
Elevation Gain: 3380 feet
Elevation Loss: 3052 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 1,200 feet
Max. Elevation: 2073 feet
Min. Elevation: 918 feet
Trail Type: Point-to-point using car shuttles so we don’t have to backtrack at all as we try to avoid out and back hiking.
Recommended Direction: South - North
Skill Level: Very Strenuous (One of Our Least Strenuous within our Very Strenuous Hikes)— This rating is due to combining the six scrambles with the hikes length.
Natural History Features: Mt. Dunlop; Chimney Rocks, diverse silviculture of Michaux State Forest
Social History Features: Remains of old ironworks charcoal staging sites; Waynesboro Reservoir; Snowy Mt. Fire Tower; Near Civil War battlefields at Antietam and Gettysburg
Topo Map: PATC 4
Trail Notes for Leaders
Park Entry Fee
There is no park entrance fee.
Click Here for suggestions regarding what to wear and what not to wear for hiking the trails.
We hike rain, snow, or shine. Click Here to view the forecast for the area where we will be hiking.
The goal for this hike is to maintain an average moving pace of ~ 2.5 mph. This speed is frequently used in popular hiking publications to represent the pace of an average hiker. We welcome you to please sign up for another hike if you know that this is not a comfortable pace for you. We strive to offer a variety of hikes and pace options so we can always have something for everyone no matter their interest and ability.
Our RSVP and Group Etiquette
Click Here to review our RSVP policies and group etiquette.
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 places 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 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 complete with directions and other details including other carpool information. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment — by just offering a ride!
Optional Post Hike Meal
We will have an optional post hike meal to be decided by group consensus, preferably decided prior to the hike so we can head straight there instead of spending time trying to decide when we are all tired and hungry…
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Directions to Where We Meet for this Hike
Meet & Greet and Sign-In — 7:45-7:55 a.m.
The Hike is at 8:00 a.m.
Carpool at Savage is 6:15 a.m.
Security Park and Ride Carpool is 6:30 a.m.
Carpool Time at Centerville is 5:45 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
• Click Here to Learn more about Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group’s Mission.
• 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.