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new life, where to backpack?
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Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
new life, where to backpack? on 10/08/2013 07:09:14 MDT Print View

i have recently relocated from the Baltimore, MD area to Philadelphia. my favorite backpacking spot has been Dolly Sods, WV, but it is a 5+ hour drive now. too far for an extended overnighter.

i need to find a new place to recharge my soul, and boy does it need recharging. the last year has been very difficult and i NEED some excellent "localish" backpacking. anyone have suggestions for something good 2-3 hours drive from Philly?

as hyperbolic as this sounds, getting out this weekend might save my life. :)

John Hillyer
(TrNameLucky) - MLife
AT Good Part on 10/08/2013 07:48:50 MDT Print View

I have hiked the AT through your area. There isn't any part of the trail in PA that I would ever inflict on myself again. However the AT going north from the Delaware Water Gap into New Jersey is very nice. It's a 1 hour and 50 minute drive from your location.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
AT in PA on 10/08/2013 09:20:03 MDT Print View

there are some nice sections of the AT in PA, but mostly, yeah rocks rocks and more rocks :)

i'm looking into the DWG area now. thanks.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: new life, where to backpack? on 10/08/2013 10:22:59 MDT Print View

If you have someone you can go with so you can stage cars for a point to point, the AT from Delaware Water Gap to High Point State Park is a nice trek - about 40 miles if memory serves.

If not, the Allegheny Front Trail in central PA is a nice loop trek, about 41 miles.

And you can make a loop out of part of the Loyalsock Trail, it's about a 27-mile loop, which is a very nice trek as well.

Edited by idester on 10/08/2013 10:23:59 MDT.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Black Moshannon on 10/08/2013 13:43:50 MDT Print View

There's a loop in Black Moshannon State Park. (Or maybe that's the Allegheny Front Trail that was already mentioned?)

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is probably too far for you, as are the trails in Allegheny National Forest, but they'd both be good for long weekends.

We could probably trim off everything east of Lancaster and give it to New Jersey and no one would notice.

(It should be pretty obvious that I'm originally from the *western* part of the commonwealth...)

Edited by acrosome on 10/08/2013 13:49:40 MDT.

John Rowan
(jrowan) - M
Backpacking Near Philly on 10/08/2013 15:22:48 MDT Print View

Hi Steven:

I'm also Philly-based, and, while it's not the world's greatest place to live if you want to get out, there are a bunch of places nearby, especially if you're willing to expand the radius to about 4 hours. The Black Forest Trail (Slate Run, PA) is a really nice 43-ish mile loop that has a pretty decent amount of elevation gain and loss but some really gorgeous vistas. (It's in/around the Pine Creek Gorge, which also has a bunch of other trails near it, including the West Rim Trail.)Both of those are about 4 hours away from Philly.

Another possibility to look into is the Pinchot Trail- I don't remember where it is in the state, but, from earlier planning, I believe that it's about 2-ish hours away from Philly. I haven't done it myself, but it's not known as a super strenuous trail (~22 miles or so), which might also fit in a bit with some of the goals in your other thread.

Also a possibility is Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks in NY. I haven't hiked them (the time I went up, snow coverage was WAY higher than I had expected or planned for, so I bailed and went to go sleep inside instead), but they're very popular areas and the parks were very nice when I was there.

All that said, I will say that my big stomping ground is Shenandoah NP, which is a bit further away than what you seem to be looking for. The combination of scenery and route intel (their website has a ton of great information on routes, etc.) usually can't be beat for me, and it ends up being a very easy choice to fall back on. Since you said you come from MD, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that you're familiar with the area, but it's really not all that much of a haul from Philly. I usually do about 4.5 hours (renting a car at the airport) in the mornings heading down, with things being a bit worse on the way back. My usual trip has me leaving the city at 6:30-7am, getting to the park by 11-11:30, and on trail by noon before knocking out 25-30 miles over 2 days and being back in the car by mid-afternoon the next day. It ends up being a pretty robust weekend, but it's pretty doable if you don't mind combining a decent amount of hiking with ~10 hours of driving over a weekend.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
driving on 10/08/2013 21:11:08 MDT Print View

the issue is always the drive home ;)

i don't mind driving 4 hours and honestly, i did get burned out on Dolly Sods, i know that place way to well. i need to expand northwards in PA and into NY. the same 5 hours to Dolly Sods gets me into the Adirondacks (an area i know nothing about).

Pinchot is about 2 hours away and it looks like a good mix of things. it's on my radar for sure.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: driving on 10/09/2013 04:08:42 MDT Print View

I would love to be 5 hours from the ADK but alas its a 10-12 hour drive for me as it in the middle of flat Michigan.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Southern AT and Philly tips on 10/09/2013 07:29:46 MDT Print View

In a bit over 2 hours you can get to a nice place to hike. I used to live in Philly and would regularly go back and hike the southern portion of the AT to the Mason-Dixon line and back. Here's a google maps link, and I put the end point right at a parking lot that is near the AT:,+PA,+United+States&daddr=Race+St&hl=en&ll=40.146749,-77.122242&spn=0.009907,0.021136&sll=40.146388,-77.121856&sspn=0.009907,0.021136&geocode=Fc-fYQIdcxeF-ynrS7XU2LfGiTHBWD6M2BT1iQ%3BFcCWZAIdfyln-w&oq=boiling&t=h&mra=dme&mrsp=1&sz=16&z=16

Be careful of certain people that umm... what's the PC term for redneck? Anyhow, beautiful hiking, but I ran into trouble with rednecks in that area on and off trail. On trail I actually had to call the cops on some drunk rednecks that had a few pit bulls with them without any leash or muzzle. I grew up around dogs, so I was able to handle the situation, but the two dogs charged my wife and I, growling and aggressive.

In case you are looking for cool bars in Philly, ask around for Sugar Moms. It's in old city (or use to be, at least). Then there is The Dolphin on south Broad, but this place requires a certain level of street smarts and ability to deal with... interesting situations.

Be safe in Philly. Then again, if you're coming from Baltimore, you're probably used to living in a generally horrible and dangerous city.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
PA Hiking on 10/10/2013 08:24:06 MDT Print View


Welcome to PA! I live near Lancaster and would be happy to help with car shuttling if you want to do sections of the AT or Tuscarora Trail in PA.

Here are some other good PA trails:

  • West Rim Trail (not a loop but Pine Creek Outfitters will shuttle your car)
  • Old Loggers Path (30 mile loop)
  • Mid State Trail (linear, so car shuttling is needed)