Appalachian Trail Section Hike (PA): Old Forge to Caledonia State Park in Michaux State Forest — Featuring Chimney Rocks and Six Rock Scrambles! An Easy Side of Strenuous 10.5 Miles
Driving Distance from DC is only 76 miles which is much closer than both Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest for hikers coming from or near DC!
This park-to-park ridgetop hike of 10.5 miles rates as 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.
Our hike plan takes us along a delightful trail, Tumbling Run, following a stream of the same name through a small canyon. As the trail levels off, we follow one of the social trails to the top of Shaffer Rock. While there is no view per se’ from here, during the summer and weekends you can often find rock climbers on this large and magnificent cliff face. Next, we begin a steady climb via switchbacks up to the top of 1,950-foot Buzzard Peak. The blue-blazed trail on the other side of the Appalachian Trail leads a short distance to the spectacular view from the white Chimney Rocks. The view to the east is of undisturbed state forest with no sign of human interference other than the Waynesboro Reservoir with its earthen dam. Beyond the unbroken forest and over the next ridge, one can see east toward Gettysburg.
Transition Hike (From Moderate to Strenuous Level Hiking)
While this hike on the tougher side of moderate hikes, there are about a half dozen rock scrambles putting this more in the 'easy side of strenuous' category when you combine the scrambles with the hikes length. This is an excellent transition hike for those looking to move up to strenuous hiking from more moderate hikes.
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Rouzerville
Length: 10.5 total miles
Elevation Gain: 2,000 ft
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: While this hike is often considered on the harder side of Moderate; given there are at least three rock scrambles, it makes for a hike truly falls within the easy side of the strenuous category. This rating is due to combining the scrambles with the hikes length. NOTE: This is an excellent transition hike for those looking to move up to strenuous hiking from more moderate hikes.
Trailhead Elevation: 1,000 feet
Top Elevation: 1,940 feet
Natural History Feature: Chimney Rocks
Social History Features: Remains of old ironworks charcoal staging sites; Waynesboro Reservoir; Snowy Mt. Fire Tower
Other Features: Caledonia State Park pool, bath houses, picnic pavilions.
Local Maps: KTA PA Section 14
Topo Map: Appalachian Trail: Old Forge Picnic Grounds to Caledonia State Park Topographic Map; PATC 4
Notes for Hike 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 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-grin …
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Directions to Where We Meet for this Hike
Meet & Greet and Sign-In — 9:45-9:55
The Hike is at 10:00 a.m.
Carpool Time from Savage Station — 8:30 a.m.
Carpool Time from Centreville Park and Ride — 8:00 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].
Fido is Welcome on this Hike Only with Prior Leader Approval Due to Multiple Rock Scrambles!
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: Refund if you update your RSVP BEFORE 48 hours of this event. Visit midatlantichikinggroup.org for MAHG mission or click 'Pages' tab above. 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.