60 Hikes Within 60 Miles Harrisburg  by Matt Willen

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Harrisburg Guide Book

by Matt Willen (Menasha Ridge Press)
60 Hikes Within 60 Miles Harrisburg  by Matt Willen
Although known predominantly for its Pennsylvania Dutch culture, the Gettysburg battlefield, and the cities of Harrisburg, Lancaster, and York, south-central Pennsylvania is home to many tracts of public lands that offer a diverse array of hiking experiences. From the gentle farm country of Lancaster and York Counties, to the steep-sided ravines along the Susquehanna River, to the rugged ridges north of Harrisburg, and the rolling hills of South Mountain, you'll find hikes to suit about any taste and interest. 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Harrisburg, by local outdoorsman Matt Willen, provides the first and most comprehensive hiking guide to the region.

© 2016 Matt Willen/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Harrisburg" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 60.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 60.

This hike follows a game-lands road uphill out of the North Creek Valley until it meets the Appalachian Trail (AT). It heads west on the AT for almost 2 miles to the Eagles Nest Shelter Trail. A short side trip of about 0.25 mile each way takes you out to the shelter and back. From the shelter trail, the hike follows the AT to the junction with the Sand Spring Trail. It then takes the Sand Spring Trail for 2 miles back down into the North Creek Valley and to the parking area.
Harrisburg, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
Located only 8 miles or so from downtown Harrisburg, the Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area is a gem of a recreation area. From the parking area, this hike follows the Pond Loop Trail to the Creek Trail and the Coach Trail along the western edge of the conservation area. After a short climb, this hike joins the Janie Trail and follows it along the ridge to the eastern edge of the conservation area. A short stretch on the Upper Spring Trail takes you to the East Loop Trail and then back to the parking lot.
Harrisburg, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.1
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Beginning at Kings Gap Environmental Education and Training Center, follow the Buck Ridge Trail south, along Buck Ridge. The trail descends for most of its length to Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
Carlisle, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6
This hike follows the paved Jonathan Eshenour Memorial Trail beneath a canopy of tall tulip poplars into Shank Park. Upon entering the park, the nature trail departs from the Eshenour Trail and makes a loop around the perimeter of the park. The Bullfrog Valley Pond–Shank Park Nature Trail begins at the Bullfrog Valley Pond parking area and then follows a 0.85-mile section of the Jonathan Eshenour Memorial Trail south to Shank Park. At that point, the nature trail departs from the Eshenour Trail, enters the woods, and makes a 1.5-mile loop through the environs of the 90-acre Shank Park before rejoining the paved Eshenour Trail and returning to the car. To begin this hike, walk from your car in the Bullfrog Valley Pond parking lot across the footbridge over the feeder stream to Bullfrog Valley Pond, and turn left (south) on the Eshenour Trail.
Hershey, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.1
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This hike follows the main trail from Clarence Schock Memorial Park’s Environmental Center on Pinch Road to the observation tower atop Governor Dick Hill. From there it follows several of the secondary trails into the hollow at the headwaters of Chickies Creek. From the hollow, it traverses below the ridge of Governor Dick Hill and then loops back to the Environmental Center.
Elizabethtown, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.3
This hike follows the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) for a short distance uphill from the Susquehanna River before picking up a side trail that takes you to the top of Peters Mountain near the Clarks Ferry Shelter. Upon reaching the ridge, pick up the A.T. and walk out to the shelter and to the ridgecrest just above. To return, this hike follows the A.T. back to the parking lot. The AT from Clarks Ferry on the Susquehanna River north of Harrisburg is a very popular place for area hikers. Understandably so: The route up to the crest of Peters Mountain provides several excellent views of the river and side valleys. Plus, the hiking is very pleasant. This hike offers a little variation on the typical out-and-back excursion, allowing you to make a loop hike over Peters Mountain.
Harrisburg, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
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This wonderful hike follows the Cold Spring Trail north out of the old town site of Cold Springs to the ridge of Sharp Mountain, where it joins with the Appalachian Trail. From there, you follow the A.T. east into Rausch Gap and down to the Stony Creek Trail (aka the Dauphin and Susquehanna Railroad Grade). Then follow the railroad grade west back to the parking area. This hike is one of my favorites in the area. It is neither long nor difficult, and it takes you through some wild and remote country. As you descend Cold Spring Road from the top of Second Mountain, either by car or by foot, look up the valley to the east and you’ll be able to see a gap in Sharp Mountain, the ridge north of the Stony Creek Valley. That gap is Rausch Gap, the eastern extent of the hike.
Fort Indiantown, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.4
This easy hike traverses an old railroad grade that extends into Lebanon County, following the path of the Conewago Creek and passing by some beautiful corn and farm fields. It is especially pretty late in the day when the sun is low.
Elizabethtown, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
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This hike ascends Cove Mountain to the Hawk Rock Overlook via the Appalachian Trail (AT). From the overlook, it traverses Cove Mountain, makes a brief side trip to the Cove Mountain Shelter, and picks up a side trail that descends to the north. At the bottom of the trail, this hike heads east on a dirt road along a tributary of Sherman Creek and joins Sherman Creek proper about a mile from the end.
Harrisburg, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.1
From the parking area on Tower Road, follow the Darlington Trail west into a hollow. In the hollow, pick up an old logging road and follow that south to another logging road that you’ll follow west to junction with the Darlington Trail. Continue along the Darlington Trail to a junction of five trails where you pick up another logging road heading west to Lambs Gap Road. Follow a path parallel to Lambs Gap Road up to the Darlington Trail at Lambs Gap. Follow the Darlington Trail back to the parking area at Tower Road.
Marysville, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.9
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From the parking area, follow Idle Road to the Darlington Trail at Lambs Gap. Walk the ridge west along the Darlington Trail to Millers Gap Road. The hike follows Millers Gap Road downhill to the north, where it picks up a game-lands road and footpath that leads back to the car. The hike makes a loop between Lambs Gap and Millers Gap on Blue Mountain west of Harrisburg. It uses the Darlington Trail across the ridgetop and a game-land trail below. Two sections of dirt road connect the two. You can park at any one of four parking areas that the route passes by, but my experience suggests that the hike walks best in a clockwise direction beginning from the parking area on Idle Road below Lambs Gap.
Wertzville, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.3
This long, flat hike shares the parking area with the trailhead for the Turkey Hill Trail. This hike follows the shore of Lake Clarke on the Susquehanna River south from the trailhead to the Safe Harbor Dam, crossing several creeks along the way. The hike can be shortened to fit one’s abilities and desires as necessary.
Columbia, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.5
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Departing from the environmental education center at Colonel Denning State Park, follow the Flat Rock Trail uphill for 1 mile to the Wagon Wheel, a junction of five trails. From here, the Flat Rock Trail follows the path of the Tuscarora Trail for another mile out to the Flat Rock Overlook. Retrace the route back to the state park or continue following the Flat Rock and Warner Loop through Wildcat Hollow.
Landisburg, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
Beginning at the Flat Rock Overlook (see previous hike profile), this hike follows the Tuscarora Trail east through Wildcat Hollow. After several miles, it joins the Warner Trail and follows Trout Run to the Wagon Wheel trail junction a mile above the parking area at Colonel Denning State Park. For the first 2 miles of this hike, follow the directions to the Flat Rock Overlook, provided in the previous profile. After enjoying the view, it’s time to grab your pack and take to the Tuscarora Trail. From the overlook, head back uphill a short distance and keep your eyes open for the not-so-obvious blue-blazed trail heading off to the east.
Landisburg, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.5
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This hike begins with a pretty walk along the North Branch Trail through the Laurel Run hollow, then climbs a hollow to the south of the creek on the Deer Hollow Trail out to Laurel Road. After a short walk along the road, it descends back to Laurel Run via the Turbett Trail, goes west, and retraces the first mile to the parking area. Located in the Tuscarora State Forest in western Perry County, the Frank E. Masland Jr. Natural Area is a 1,270-acre tract of land that encompasses a hemlock-filled section of the north branch of the Laurel Run Valley and a ridge covered with oak and mountain laurel rising to its south.
Landisburg, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
This hike route mostly follows the path of the horse trail through the southern part of the military park. As a result, it tends to see rather little traffic, although it doesn’t pass by as many of the heritage sites as the Billy Yank or Johnny Reb trails.
Gettysburg, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
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This wonderful hike follows the path of an old railroad grade through the woods and then heads uphill to the observation tower via a dirt road. After stopping to take in the great views from the tower, you descend along a gentle path that traverses the hill until a short steep section drops down to the original trail.
Elizabethtown, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
From the north trailhead for the Hemlocks Natural Area, this hike follows the Patterson Run and Rim trails along the east side of the Patterson Run. About halfway through the natural area, the hike crosses the creek and follows the Hemlock Trail along the west side of the ravine to the south end of the natural area. From there, the hike returns via the Rim and Patterson Run trails along the east of the ravine. Located in western Perry County, the Hemlocks Natural Area is a 120-acre tract of land that is home to a stand of virgin eastern hemlock trees. The extent of the natural area is located in the steep-sided ravine through which Patterson Run flows, and in all likelihood this stand of trees was saved from the bite of the saw by the topography. According to the information brochure provided by the Tuscarora State Forest, the oldest trees date back 280 years. Many of them measure more than 2 feet in diameter and more than 100 feet tall. Some of the trees are absolutely huge, and few places exist in the east where you can see trees with the stature of these hemlocks.
New Bloomfield, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.1
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This hike follows the Greenwood Trail for several miles before joining with the Appalachian Trail (AT). It pick ups the AT and follows that into Quarry Gap, past the Quarry Gap Shelter, and onto the ridge above. From the ridge, the hike follows the Hosack Run Trail down into a beautiful and remote rhododendron-filled ravine and then rejoins the Greenwood Trail a mile or so from the trailhead.
Carlisle, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.2
This pleasant hike follows the Jonathan Eshenour Memorial Trail from the Bullfrog Valley through farmland and meadows to its end west of Waltonville Road.
Hershey, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
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