Day Hike Sampler

Colonel Denning

Easy Hike

Begin your leisurely hiking journey in Cumberland Valley along the Army Heritage Trail at the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center. This mile-long loop trail is the perfect warm up or wind down for any day outdoors. While on the trail, experience an interpretive timeline of U.S. history. Large, military exhibits include a Huey helicopter, tank, Civil War cabins and WWI trenches. 

Easy hiking and biking can be found on the western side of the county at the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail. This 11-mile trail follows the abandoned railroad tracks from Shippensburg to Newville. The majority of the trail is a two-tread trail with grassy, hard-packed earth perfect for equestrians and packed stone dust for hikers and bikers. The trail also features interpretive signage detailing the agricultural and historic significance of the trail and surrounding lands. 

Find more relaxing hiking opportunities at the Cumberland County Hiker-Biker Trail located in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Entrances to the trail can be found at the beautiful Laurel and Fuller lakes and the 4-mile out and back trail is ideal for easy hiking and biking. 

Discover the scenic and laid-back hiking that LeTort Spring Run and Nature Trail has to offer in Carlisle. This 2 mile, grass covered ballast trail follows one of the finest limestone trout streams in the country, LeTort Spring Run.

Moderate/Difficult Hike

To get your adrenaline pumping and for a real challenge, take on one of the more difficult hiking trails in Cumberland Valley. 

Sunset Rocks Trail’s rewarding 8.3 miles includes short climbs but leads to beautiful views and ruins of a top-secret World War II POW camp. This trail takes you through the Michaux State Forest for opportunities to see an assortment of plant, tree and wildlife species. Download the Camp Michaux Walking Tour for more information. NOTE: There is a short section of two-handed climbing over boulders. 

Flat Rock Trail, located in Colonel Denning State Park, is a difficult hike with a very worthwhile ending. This 5-mile, strenuous hike, ends with a half-mile of climbing over rocks to a stunning vista of Cumberland Valley. Make sure you wear good, sturdy shoes, bring a trail snack and lots of water.

The short, but steep, hike up to Pole Steeple results in an excellent viewpoint for the central part of the South Mountain Massif. From the top you can see the Sunset Rocks on Little Rocky Ridge and, nearly 500 feet below, Laurel Lake with its beaches and dams.

Appalachian Trail

Cumberland Valley is the perfect destination to experience the famous Appalachian Trail. Our portion of the trail has been described as a “thru-hiker’s dream” due to our easy, flat surfaces. View detailed journeys along the Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail Access Points:
Boiling Springs – The official Appalachian Trail Community of Boiling Springs contains a parking lot and portable toilets for hikers along Bucher Hill Road. Follow the AT blazes across Bucher Hill Road, along the famous fly-fishing stream Yellow Breeches Creek, then along Children’s Lake. Continue past the gazebo to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. You can also head south on the AT, crossing a beautiful historic stone bridge, zig zagging through farm fields and taking a steady climb up South Mountain to Center Point Knob, the original halfway point of the trail. 

Ironmaster’s Mansion – The newly renovated Ironmaster’s Mansion serves as a hostel for AT hikers. Continue south to see the prominent marker showing the current midway point of the trail. 

Pine Grove Furnace State Park – Various parking lots are located in the park. Visit the Appalachian Trail Museum  then follow the white blazes south, past the General Store. This is where thru-hikers stop to celebrate reaching the midway point of the trail by eating a half-gallon of ice cream. 

Scott Farm Appalachian Trail Work Center – Parking, water spigot and portable toilets are available at this site. Cross the bridge on the pedestrian walkway and head south on the AT. White blazes lead the way; double blazes indicate a turn or prominent landmark. Continue left into the woods along a wooden boardwalk. For an alternative hike, turn right and follow the trail along the Conodoguinet Creek. 

View all of our hiking opportunities.

Dining Suggestions

While in Boiling Springs, grab a sandwich or ice cream cone at Caffe 101. Enjoy your treat on their back patio with a scenic view of Children’s Lake or take it to go and enjoy a picnic around the lake. 

While visiting Pine Grove Furnace State Park, stop by Twirly Top Drive-In for a delicious cheeseburger or sundae. This retro drive-in has been serving up the classics to locals for years.