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  1. #1
    Registered User caufieldk's Avatar
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    Default PA Section Hike Near Lancaster

    Hello,

    I'm going to be visiting a friend in Lancaster, PA this summer (mid-late June 2016) and am hoping to do a section of backpacking on the trail. I'd like to spend about five days to a week. I've never been on the AT, and am not sure how fast or slow I am as a hiker, but I'd consider myself to be in pretty decent shape. I'm basically wondering where a good place to start would be near the Lancaster area and where I could park my car? Or, would it be better to get dropped off? Maybe hike one way three days and then backtrack three days back to the car? Any help would be appreciated!!

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Registered User caufieldk's Avatar
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    I'm new to whiteblaze...I think this is supposed to be in a different thread? Oops..

  3. #3
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    The trail does not pass all that close to Lancaster. Your best bet might be the 83 mile section between Pen Mar park and Duncannon (both about 1 1/2 hours from Lancaster). You can park in the gravel lot across Pen Mar road at the south end, then take a shuttle either before or after the hike. Enjoy.

  4. #4

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    Yea, trail concerns and history isn't the best forum for this question, but everything comes up in the daily feed and we usually don't check to see what forum was used to post the message.

    Anyway, Lancaster is closer to the AT then Milwaukee, but your still a good hour or two drive from it. If you could arrange a friend there to drop you off and pick you up that would make things a lot easier.

    As where to go, the southern end is pretty nice. I would start at Caledonia(US30) and end at Hot Springs. That's only 40 miles and fairly easy so 3 days would be a comfortable pace.

    The section between Hot Springs and Duncannon, which is also reasonably close to Lancaster, isn't too exciting and north of Duncannon the trail starts to get into the infamous PA rocks which is best avoided if you can.
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  5. #5
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    Hot Springs? I assume you mean Boiling Springs?

  6. #6

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    I was going to suggest starting at Caledonia but Slo-go'en beat me to it. You'll find it a more pleasant experience than the PA stretches east of the Susquehanna where the rocky terrain is a downer.

    Yes, he meant to say Boiling Springs.

    One thing to keep in mind that in mid-June, it can already be very hot & muggy.

  7. #7
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    I would hike north from Duncannon. Lancaster is close enough to both your start and likely finish, Swatara Gap. If you decide to do this then I may be able to shuttle you. I live in Hershey which is close to Lancaster, Duncannon and Swartara Gap.

  8. #8
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    Camp Hill, PA
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    Lancaster is about 45 min from Duncannon. Caledonia about an hour +45. Or an hour to Boiling springs.

    All easy drives.

  9. #9
    Registered User caufieldk's Avatar
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    Thank you all very much, this helps me out a lot!! I knew it was a good hour or so away, just trying to figure out a starting point and a good part of the trail to see.

  10. #10
    Registered User caufieldk's Avatar
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    Thank you for the offer! I'll be going with two other people (most likely) if it pans out. Nothing set in stone but I've been very antsy to try some of the trail. Sounds like a good chunk of it to hike.

    I got to experience good ole Hershey last summer when I was out visiting Lanc...my hometown, Burlington, WI has a Nestle factory so it smells like chocolate often, although Hershey seems much more deserving of the "Chocolate City USA" title! Ha.

  11. #11
    Registered User caufieldk's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for the offer! I'll be going with two other people (most likely) if it pans out. Nothing set in stone but I've been very antsy to try some of the trail. Sounds like a good chunk of it to hike.

    I got to experience good ole Hershey last summer when I was out visiting Lanc...my hometown, Burlington, WI has a Nestle factory so it smells like chocolate often, although Hershey seems much more deserving of the "Chocolate City USA" title! Ha.

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