The Appalachian Trail is the most famous hiking trail in the U.S., extending 2,189 miles from Georgia to Maine. 46 miles of the A.T. meander through Cumberland Valley, including a 13-mile section that is the longest, lowest and flattest section on the entire trail and one of the most accessible portions to park and take a short day trip.
Here are some suggestions for planning a half-day or full-day journey along the A.T. in Cumberland Valley.
Begin your journey at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy office situated on beautiful Children's Lake in Boiling Springs. There you can pick up trail maps and learn more about A.T. hot spots in Cumberland Valley. (NOTE: The office has been temporarily closed.) Boiling Springs is a designated Appalachian Trail Community and the A.T. passes right by the office along the edge of the lake. Just follow the white blazes.
Before you begin your journey, head across the parking lot to TCO Outdoors for your hiking and trail supply needs. After you pick up the essentials, walk around the lake and enjoy the scenery before heading out on the trail. If you have some extra time, stop by the Village Artisans Gallery to browse PA artisan crafts and hand-made items. This boutique shop -- located inside a renovated circa-1875 church -- is about a 10-minute walk from Children's Lake.
Before or after your hiking excursion, treat yourself to delicious Mexican food from Caffe 101 or take a quick 3-minute drive to enjoy fine casual dining at The Barn, Allenberry Resort's flagship restaurant.
After a morning in Boiling Springs head to Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardners for more A.T. fun. This state park is home to the Appalachian Trail Museum (open seasonally), the midway point of the A.T., and the famous Half Gallon Ice Cream Challenge at the Pine Grove General Store. It’s common to see A.T. thru-hikers visiting the museum (the only hiking museum in the country) and sitting outside the store celebrating reaching the halfway point of the A.T. by eating a half-gallon of ice cream.
Enjoy the other amenities of Pine Grove Furnace State Park including camping, fishing, boating on Laurel Lake, relaxing lake beaches, and swimming.
Follow the white blazes throughout the park to hike along the A.T. or you can challenge yourself with a hike along Pole Steeple Trail, which links to the A.T.
No visit to the park would be complete with a stop for ice cream at Twirly Top, which is a short 5-minute drive away. (Open seasonally.)
Make it a Weekend
Extend your trip and stay like an A.T. thru-hiker at the Ironmaster’s Mansion. This historic mansion is near the Appalachian Trail Museum and serves as a hostel for hikers and other guests. You can also enjoy a rustic weekend with camping at the Valley’s state parks, campgrounds, and RV parks or head back to Boiling Springs for a luxurious and pampering stay at Allenberry Resort.