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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

AT: Pen Mar to Old Forge, MD

no permit
14 1 0
Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List MD > Western
3 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 7.17 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,307 feet
Elevation Gain 360 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,206 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.19
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
14  2018-04-02 kingsnake
Author kingsnake
author avatar Guides 83
Routes 182
Photos 7,946
Trips 637 map ( 5,893 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Sunnyslope, PHX
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Oct, Sep, Apr
Sun  5:52am - 6:17pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Walking in a Winter Wonderland
by kingsnake

Likely In-Season!
"Walking in a Winter Wonderland"? It was when I hiked this section of the Appalachian Trail in April, 2018. Particularly on Mount Dunlop.

In any case, describing the hike itself...

The hike starts at Pen Mar Park, which in the 1880's was a resort and amusement park hosting as many as 20,000 people per day. Pen Mar is much smaller now, but it is still a wonderful park.

The Mason-Dixon line, just across the railroad tracks, is signed and has a trail log. Immediately afterwards, the AT crosses PA-550 and descends to Falls Creek (0.8 mi). Like all the creeks on this hike, at least in April it had plenty of water.

The AT climbs 650 in the next mile, almost to the top of Mount Dunlop, the only climb of this hike. (The rest are rolling up & downs of 100-200 ft., at least heading north.) Halfway up, the AT crosses Buena Vista Rd. There are blind curves either side, so keep an eye out for traffic, despite it being a minor road. Also keep an eye out for where the AT continues on the north side of the road: It's easy to miss. "Summiting" Mount Dunlop, and continuing on to the Blue Ridge Lookout Tower will add about 0.75 miles and 200 AEG to your hike.

From Mount Dunlop to entering the Michaux State Forest (3.40 mi.), the Appalachian Trail crosses four roads and one creek, Red Run. Three of the roads are paved, including heaviy trafficked PA-16. The dirt road, Rattlesnake Run Rd., is the back road into Old Forge. Just north of Rattlesnake Run Rd., there is an unnamed spring.

Deer Lick Run Shelter (4.8 mi.), is two small three-sided, single-story, shelters. There is a small metal stove, two camp fire rings, two levelled tent stands, a spring, a privy, and no bear box.

A half mile past the shelter, the AT descends 650 ft. in about two miles to Old Forge. The trailhead is in the town park, just north across several more creeks, including the East Branch of Antietam Creek. There is another trail shelter on the south bank, opposite the park, but I did not check it out.

Doing an out & back, would double the distance -- duh -- and be about 2,800 AEG.

Unlike the Maryland AT segments, between Pen Mar and Old Forge, the trail is very rarely rocky, and even then only mildly so. Even in very wet & snowy conditions, the surface holds up well, never getting too muddy.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2018-04-09 kingsnake

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    AT: Pen Mar to Old Forge
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Last Easter, I completed the Maryland segments of the Appalchian Trail. That won’t seem like much to an AT thru-hiker who knocks out Maryland in two or three days, but it’s not bad for someone who lives 2000 miles away in Arizona. Particularly, when the temperatures on South Mountain are frequently lower than anything Phoenix experiences in even its worst nightmare.

    Monday dawned cold & rainy in Hagerstown. It was miserable enough that when I walked outside the hotel at 7:30 a.m. I turned right around and went back inside instead of driving off to Pen Mar.

    Two hours later, the temps were a little more tolerable, and the rain had stopped, so off we went. As we headed east, towards South Mountain, it was obvious that the slight elevation difference was enough to put snow along the ridgeline.

    At Pen Mar Park, there was an inch of snow on the ground. But it wasn’t windy, and the temp was probably just above freezing.

    As I descended Falls Creek, the snow on the ground gradually disappeared until there was none at all at the bridge.

    The further up Mount Dunlop I hiked from Falls Creek, the more snow there was. At it’s deepest — about 3″ — the Appalachian Trail would have disappeared if two or three hikers had not passed by earlier. Just enough traffic to indicate the path, but not enough to muddy the trail surface. It was beautiful & peaceful, and not at all cold.

    “Summiting” Mount Dunlop, I was surprised how easy the cross country travel was, despite the deeper snow. The threat of buried ankle breakers appeared hollow. I used an icy branch as a tripod for the summit segment of my hike video (below). I totally spaced Blue Ridge Lookout.

    By the time I got to PA-16, the ground was again clear of snow, other than random spots of thin, icy crust on moss or dead leaves.

    When I met my wife at Old Forge, our rental SUV was covered in dirt, as she decided to have some fun driving the muddy back way, Rattlesnake Run Rd., into town.

    Hike Video: [ youtube video ]

    Permit $$
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    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    If you are in the Gettysburg area -- the battlefield is only 10 miles northeast -- this is a good place to get in some exercise. The roads are twisting, and it is otherwise the middle of nowhere, so I won't attempt to describe how to get there. Use your GPS.
    page created by kingsnake on Apr 09 2018 7:45 am
    3 pack - loud whistle
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