Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Nestled in Michaux State Forest, Pine Grove Furnace State Park's 696 acres offer wildlife and nature enthusiasts a variety of activities. Explore the self-guided historical trail, which investigates the old structures of the Pine Grove Iron Furnace, or hike to the quartzite outcrop at the Pole Steeple Overlook. Take a stroll along the notable midway point of the Appalachian Trail, and visit the Appalachian Trail Museum - the first museum in the country to be dedicated to hiking. Cool off at the lakeside beaches at Laurel Lake (25 acres) and Fuller Lake (1.7) and wander along the easy trail, Mountain Creek Trail, that connects them. There is so much to do you'll want to make it a weekend or a week and stay overnight. The park day-use areas are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk all year.
Things to Do in Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Pine Grove Furnace State Park has four miles of trails and connections to longer trails, like the Appalachian Trail. View the entire park from the quartzite rock outcropping at the top of Pole Steeple. Begin at the Pole Steeple parking lot along Railroad Road by Laurel Lake. View more about each trail by clicking on its trail name below.
Pole Steeple: .75 miles View Details
Creek Trail: .5 miles View Details
Mountain Creek Trail: 1.4 miles View Details
Koppenhaver Trail: 1 mile View Details
Swamp Trail: .25 miles View Details
Buck Ridge Trail: 6 miles to Kings Gap Environmental Education Center View Details
A bridge connects the mid-section of the Koppenhaver Trail to the western trailhead of the Mountain Creek Trail. and the relatively new Campground Trail is a short .33-mile connector trail that connects the the campground to the Furnace Stack Day Use area.
All park roads and service roads are open to bicycles unless posted otherwise. The three-mile Hiker-Biker-A.T. Trail, an ADA-accessible, family-friendly trail, travels from the Furnace Stack, past Fuller Lake, to the Laurel Lake area. The trail overlaps the Appalachian Trail and Old Railroad Bed Road and provides access to multiple other trails in the park. Part of the trail is paved, and part is gravel.
Other than the connector from the Mountain Creek road bridge to the Campground entrance and the Hiker-Biker-A.T., please note bikes are not allowed on the park's hiking trails.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park marks the midway point along the Appalachian Trail. Obeying tradition, hikers eat a half-gallon of ice cream here. Although no camping on the trail is permitted within the park boundaries, visitors can stay overnight at the Ironmaster's Mansion located on the trail in the park for public use. Pine Grove Furnace does allow overnight parking with proper registration. Learn more about the history of the Appalachian Trail at the Appalachian Trail Museum located in the park.
Enjoy lakeside beaches at Laurel and Fuller Lake from May 1 to September 30, 8 a.m. to sunset. Laurel Lake is "swim at your own risk," and Fuller Lake has lifeguards on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day unless otherwise posted. Seasonal snack bar.
Boating is permitted on the 25-acre Laurel Lake (electric motors only). There is a boat launch and a place to rent boats. Boats must display proper registration.
Laurel and Fuller Lakes have pickerel, perch, bass, and stocked trout. Mountain Creek, which flows through the park, has cool-water species like brown, brook, and rainbow trout.
The park also participates in the PA Fish & Boat Commission Fishing Tackle Loaner Program. The public can borrow rods, reels, and a tackle box on a first-come, first-serve basis.
A variety of habitats, including mixed forest, shrub/scrub, and swampland, draws nearly 160 bird species during migration and nesting seasons, including warblers, buteos, accipiters, flycatchers, woodpeckers, owls, and vireos. During migration, grebes, puddle ducks, and mergansers splash down in the lakes, streams, and wetlands. Good place for irruptive species such as Red Crossbill and Pine Siskin.
Several hands-on experiences, guided walks, and programs are offered.
Over 75 acres are open to hunting, trapping, and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, rabbit, pheasant, and squirrel. Dog training is permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. Contact the park office for ADA-accessible hunting information. Use extreme caution with firearms at all times and use them only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons.
Pets are allowed at designated campsites for a fee and throughout the park. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. Pets are NOT allowed on the beach. Pets may be taken on trails. Please ensure you clean up after your pet while visiting the park.
Famous as the location where A.T. thru-hikers celebrate the halfway point of their hike with the "Half-Gallon Challenge," the general store is also a great place to stop for lunch or a snack or to pick up something you may have forgotten for your picnic. The store is open seasonally. Summer hours are Monday through Friday from 11 am to 4 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. Fall hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. Please check their Facebook page to confirm the hours of operation.
- Cross-Country Skiing: There are no specific trails designated for cross-country skiing, but Nordic skiers can enjoy the Biker-Hiker Trail when snow conditions allow.
- Ice Fishing on Laurel Lake
- Ice Skating on Laurel Lake: A small area by the boat launch is maintained for ice skating. Ice thickness is monitored in this area only.
- Snowmobiling: Just south of the park, a land trailhead at Michaux State Forest provides access to many miles of trails. Parking for vehicles and trailers also is available. Maps of the trails are available at the park office.
- Hiking: find winter hiking suggestions and tips from Friends of Pine Grove.
Electric Vehicle Charging Station
A two-plug electric vehicle charging station is available for public use in the parking area off Bendersville Road near the Furnace Stack Day Use Area. Please move to another parking space once your vehicle has been charged.
Cell Phone Usage
Cell phone coverage is spotty at best and non-existent in most areas of the park and surrounding state forest. Please plan accordingly and do not rely on cell phone usage.
Stay the Night
Camping: 69 sites are available from late March through mid-December. New shower house and restrooms on-site. A seasonal camp store is 0.25-mile from the campground. Organized group tenting is available year-round.
Paymasters Cabin: Available for rent year-round, this historic house renovated into a modern cabin sleeps six people.
Reservations can be made by calling 1-888-PA-PARKS (1-888-727-2757) or online at www.visitpaparks.com.
Ironmaster's Mansion: Thanks to countless volunteer hours, the Ironmaster's Mansion re-opened on April 5, 2011. It serves as a hostel, providing dormitory-style lodging to the general public and is the perfect venue for wedding receptions, family reunions and special events. The mansion was built in 1829 and is registered with the National Register of Historical Places.
Pine Grove Recreational Guides and Maps
In addition to the maps listed below, the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park have prepared unofficial simplified maps of the park's hiking trails, plus other brochures, including information about the history of the park and the surrounding region.