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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for some easier hiking/BP trails in the eastern part of the state. By easier, I mean fairly level, moderate elevation changes, and NO rocks (like the AT). I turn 69 this year and not interested in hiking 15 miles a day. I could comfortably BP 6 - 7 miles a day. I've done the Pinchot trail twice and want something different.
 

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There are some nice hikes in Michaux State Forest in the south central part of the state. Most of these are day hikes. I use the book 60 Hikes within 60 miles of Harrisburg. Lots of good hikes in it. Not sure how far you are willing to travel to hike. There were a few in the Shartlesville/Hamburg area. I can't remember the names of them. If you are interested I can look them up for you. I think most of the hikes in that book have some AT miles on them.
 

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If you get into the mountains, you get into rocks, pretty much. At least, that's been my experience.

I'm not sure of much up your way, but here in Berks, there are a few spots that have trails along rivers/canals with gravel bedded trails that are super easy on the joints/feet.

Also, look for things like state forest with service roads that are open to vehicles. Not the most "back country" experience, but if they're vehicle-traveled roads, the rocks can't be as horrid as they are on the AT and similar. There's a chunk of Weiser state forest near me that has a dirt/gravel road that goes about 3 miles and climbs 1000'-ish feet that I plan to use as a training hike for my elk hunt, since it's more about the climb and less about the rocks. There are rocky trails I plan to hit, too, just to acclimate to rocks, too.
 

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How about the Weiser State Forrest? Just go to the Hawk Mtn Sanctuary - head out the back way past the toilet facilities and trough the outdoor class rooms and that will take you all the way to The Pinnacle if you wan to. Or take the fork on the trail that goes to the old Fire Tower just north of Cabelas on Rt 61.
You can Google Earth this and get a feel for the terrain prior to hiking it.
Actually, I am just getting over a medical issue and plan to start hiking again. The hike I just described was always one of my favorites and as soon as I get my hiking legs back, I will be hitting it again. I just turned 67 BTW and empathize with you.

Lovely hike, lost of wild turkey, some hills, not many stones. If you take the wrong turn the hills can be very steep.

I wish I could go right now!!
 

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I have no idea what BP means.

But gated forest roads make nice hikes. And since they are gated there won't be vehicles on them.

Also, many gas lines and major power lines have access roads that make for nice hiking.

Trails that are on the tops of ridges are often very rocky.

But trails at lower elevations are usually much less rocky. The reason is that there is just more soil there.
 

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Stony Valley RR Grade on Gl 211 in Lebanon and Dauphin County. Access from Goldmine Road 5 or 6 miles to Cold Springs access then 15 miles or so to Dauphin.
Nice flat walking and nice country with side trips to interesting places along the rr.
 

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How about the Weiser State Forrest? Just go to the Hawk Mtn Sanctuary - head out the back way past the toilet facilities and trough the outdoor class rooms and that will take you all the way to The Pinnacle if you wan to. Or take the fork on the trail that goes to the old Fire Tower just north of Cabelas on Rt 61.
You can Google Earth this and get a feel for the terrain prior to hiking it.
Actually, I am just getting over a medical issue and plan to start hiking again. The hike I just described was always one of my favorites and as soon as I get my hiking legs back, I will be hitting it again. I just turned 67 BTW and empathize with you.

Lovely hike, lost of wild turkey, some hills, not many stones. If you take the wrong turn the hills can be very steep.

I wish I could go right now!!
That's all visible from my backyard practically.

I'll be up there a lot his spring and summer. My daughter and I have been to the pinnacle once already this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys, I was actually looking for places you can hike in and camp (that's what BP means). I've been to the World's End SP area a couple of times and that's a reasonable drive. I dislike the AT due to the rocks (and the "rock heads" it attracts).
 

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I can actually see the cell tower/antenna/whatever it is at the Pulpit Rock Observatory from my kitchen window. Hawk Mt, the Port Clinton AT access, Weiser SF, and whatever the gamelands are across the river on the west side of Port Clinton are all within a 15 min drive. The Hamburg Reservoir is only a few minutes.

For elk training, I'd planned to go hike the road up to the fire tower at Weiser. I looked on Google Earth, and it looks like it's 1000'+ in elevation and like 3 miles in distance. Figure if I can start doing that in a reasonable amount of time and start hanging more and more weight on a pack when I do it, that'll be a good thing. The steep route to the pinnacle (south end of the trail, not the north side that goes up to the AT first) is another one I want to use as a training trail.
 

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I can actually see the cell tower/antenna/whatever it is at the Pulpit Rock Observatory from my kitchen window. Hawk Mt, the Port Clinton AT access, Weiser SF, and whatever the gamelands are across the river on the west side of Port Clinton are all within a 15 min drive. The Hamburg Reservoir is only a few minutes.

For elk training, I'd planned to go hike the road up to the fire tower at Weiser. I looked on Google Earth, and it looks like it's 1000'+ in elevation and like 3 miles in distance. Figure if I can start doing that in a reasonable amount of time and start hanging more and more weight on a pack when I do it, that'll be a good thing. The steep route to the pinnacle (south end of the trail, not the north side that goes up to the AT first) is another one I want to use as a training trail.
Have you ever done the hike over to Dan's Pulpit? I did that one several years ago and that climb from the valley where it starts to go up, just beyond Hawk Mt. Road, is quite a pull. Also, if you head to the fire tower from the Pinnacle, that hill that starts the uphill climb should be named Cardiac-Arrest Hill. It's swear that in some places it's like a 30% grade. The last hike I did was in this area right before my feet decided to betray me.
 

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If you want a serious hill, there's a good one where the AT crosses Hawk Mt Road. You go downhill for maybe a 1/2 mile, cross the creekbottom, then a slow incline for another half mile to a mile, then there's a 1/4 mile that I think was laid out by Satan himself. It does a diagonal up a nearly vertical slope with rocks in plentiful supply. Some of it is steps made from the rocks. Once on the ridge, though, the AT gets fairly civilized and follows the spine for a while and is pretty rock-free. That climb up to the ridge top is a workout, though. The stretch from the creek up to the base of the "cliff" is all rock, too. There are stretches where I've gone 100 yards without putting my boots on dirt.

I haven't done much of the connections between Hawk Mt and the Pinnacle, although I've gone from the AT over to where the Hawk Mt line is on the spur trail that connects to the Hawk Mt trail system. Hartman's Hollow down below the fire tower on Weiser is a butt-kicker, too. That comes out eventually along Little Schuylkill where it crosses under 61. A hike from 61 up that way to the fire tower would not be for the faint of heart.

I had my 5 yr old up to the North Lookout and Sunset Overlook at Hawk Mountain today. She handled it like a champ. Was pretty cool to see the 20-something men who acted like they'd climbed Everest then see the 5 yr old girl conquer the same terrain. ;)
 
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