Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Steeped in natural and historical features, the 696-acre Pine Grove Furnace State Park is at the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in an area known as South Mountain. Visitors enjoy many recreational opportunities, including two mountain lakes, Laurel Lake and Fuller Lake, hiking the Appalachian Trail, biking the rail trail, visiting the Appalachian Trail Museum and imagining when the park was a charcoal-fired iron furnace community. The park is surrounded by Michaux State Forest, which provides opportunities for exploring extensive public lands around South Mountain.
Hiking - Biking - Picnicking - Swimming - Boating - Fishing - Hunting - Education - Cross-country Skiing - Snowmobiling - Ice Skating - Ice Fishing - Organized Group Tenting - Cabin - Camping - Ironmaster's Mansion - Appalachian Trail Museum
Picnicking: Many picnic tables are available throughout the park. Charcoal grills, drinking water and restrooms are by the lakes and historic district. Three picnic pavilions (seating 80 to 140) may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Swimming: The beaches at Fuller and Laurel lakes are open from May 1 to September 30, 8 a.m. to sunset. In the summer season, a snack bar is available at each beach.
Laurel Beach is swim at your own risk. Fuller Beach has lifeguards on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, unless otherwise posted. Please follow posted rules for swimming when lifeguards are off duty.
Swimmers at Laurel Lake and especially at Fuller Lake are advised to exercise caution because of the extreme depths and cold subsurface waters.
Smoking is prohibited on Fuller Beach and in the swimming area. For visitors who smoke and still want to use this beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes or other handheld, lighted smoking devices.
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Boating: electric motors only
Boating is permitted only on the 25-acre Laurel Lake, which has a boat launch, 85 mooring spaces and a boat rental.
Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Fishing: The common fish in the 25-acre Laurel Lake and the 1.7-acre Fuller Lake are pickerel, perch, bass and stocked trout. Mountain Creek, which flows through the park, has cold-water species like brown, brook and rainbow trout.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: 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.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner's car, trailer or leased campsite. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Biking: 2 miles of trails
ATVs: Just south of the park is a trailhead on nearby state forest land that provides parking for vehicles and trailers, and access to many miles of trails on state forest lands. Maps of the trails are available at the park office.
Hiking: 4 miles of trails
Buck Ridge Trail: 6 miles, yellow blazes
Creek Trail: 0.5-mile, yellow blazes
Mountain Creek: 1.4-miles, yellow blazes
Koppenhaver Trail: 1-mile, yellow blazes
Pole Steeple Trail: 0.75-mile, blue blazes
The steep grade and sheer drop may stress some individuals. Parents are advised to closely supervise children, especially when they are on the rocks and ledges.
Swamp Trail: 0.25-mile, yellow blazes
For a Safe Hike
Running through the heart of the park is probably the most famous footpath in the world, the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). The 2,186-mile long trail traverses the Appalachian Mountains, stretching as a continuous footpath from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in central Maine. The trail is marked with white blazes, which can be seen near the Pine Grove General Store, Appalachian Trail Museum, Fuller Day Use Area and on the rail trail. www.nps.gov/appa
Half-gallon Challenge: About 2,000 people attempt to hike the entire A.T. in one year. These long distance hikers are called thru-hikers and most pass through the park from late spring through the summer months.
About one out of four thru-hikers will complete the whole trail. Reaching Pine Grove Furnace State Park is a milestone. The halfway point of the A.T. is several miles south of the park, in Michaux State Forest.
To commemorate the completion of half of the journey, it is a thru-hiker tradition to attempt the “half-gallon challenge” of eating one half of a gallon of ice cream in one sitting. On a summer day, it is common to see hikers working on the challenge at the Pine Grove General Store.
Hiking the A.T.: The Appalachian Trail is a popular destination for short-term backpackers and day hikers. About 2 to 3 million people walk a portion of the A.T. each year. Pine Grove Furnace State Park is a popular staging point for short term backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. Boiling Springs to the north and Caledonia to the south are each about a 20-mile hike from Pine Grove Furnace.
Overnight parking is available for backpackers in a special section of the Furnace Stack parking lot. Hikers should register their car and supply contact information and an itinerary at the park office.
Information, maps, guides, shuttles and more are available. www.appalachiantrail.org
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
GPS: Lat. 40.02565 Long. -77.31086
Explore camping for more information.
Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 1 host positions
Paymasters Cabin: This two-story historic house, which served as the paymaster’s office when the ion furnace was in use, has been converted into a modern cabin. It is available for rent year-round and has modern conveniences like electric heat, air conditioning, a full kitchen and warm showers. An outdoor area has a picnic table and fire ring. The cabin sleeps six people and is near the camp store. Guests should bring all essentials like sheets, linens and dishes.
During the summer season, the Paymasters Cabin must be rented for a one week period, beginning on a Friday. For the rest of the year, the cabin must be rented for a minimum of two days, up to a maximum of 14 consecutive days.
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Organized Group Tenting: Organized adult or youth groups may reserve the rustic area year-round. The area is divided into six separate sites with a total capacity of 180 people. The sites are in a wooded area surrounding an open playfield.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Cross-country Skiing: Nordic skiers enjoy the rail trail when snow conditions allow. Although no trails are specifically designated for cross-country skiing, numerous opportunities exist, especially during winters with heavy snowfalls, both within the park and on the surrounding state forest lands.
Snowmobiling: Just south of the park is a trailhead on nearby state forest land that provides parking for vehicles and trailers, and access to many miles of trails on state forest lands. Maps of the trails are available at the park office.
Ice Fishing: Ice fishing is permitted on Laurel Lake except in the maintained ice skating area. Ice thickness is not monitored except in the designated skating area. Ice sports are prohibited on Fuller Lake.
Ice Skating: At Laurel Lake, a small area by the boat launch is maintained for ice-skating. Ice sports are prohibited on Fuller Lake.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
The ADA accessible park visitor center in the park office has exhibits on the historic charcoal iron furnace community, which flourished for over 130 years. The center is open year-round. April through October, the visitor center is open daily. The center is open Monday through Friday during the rest of the year.
Spring through fall, Pine Grove Furnace State Park offers a wide variety of environmental education, recreational and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding, and develop a sense of stewardship toward the natural and cultural resources.
Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to school, youth organizations and homeschool associations. Group programs must be scheduled in advance by calling the park office.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of events from today forward.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Fall Furnace Fest: This weekend-long event is held in October. Historical demonstrations, park programming, entertainment, hayrides, and food and craft vendors provide a great family-oriented event. The highlight of the weekend is the telling of the Legend of the Hairy Hand, which includes a float of hundreds of lit jack-o-lanterns on Fuller Lake.
Appalachian Trail Museum Festival: Held every June, this weekend-long event features a banquet, hikes, guest speakers, music and children’s programs.
Appalachian Trail Museum
The Appalachian Trail Museum is in the Old Mill Building at 1120 Pine Grove Road (along PA 233) between the Pine Grove Furnace State Park office and the Pine Grove General Store. Museum exhibits and programs pay tribute to the pioneer trail-builders and hikers, including Earl Shaffer, Grandma Gatewood, Gene Espy, Ed Garvey, and their commitment to fitness and conservation. The Children’s Discovery Area provides fun, hands-on learning experiences. The museum is near the midpoint of the 2,186-mile Appalachian Trail, a National Scenic Trail that goes through 14 states from Georgia to Maine. The museum welcomes newcomers to the A.T. as well as veteran hikers and frequently offers an opportunity to meet current thru-hikers.
The museum is open seasonally. Check the website for hours of operation. Admission is free of charge, although donations are welcomed. Parking for the museum is adjacent to the Furnace Stack Picnic Pavilion. 717-486-8126. www.atmuseum.org
Located at 1212 Pine Grove Road, (along PA 233), this renovated, historic, brick mansion is operated by the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy. In addition to serving as a hostel and providing dormitory-style lodging, the mansion is an educational facility with meeting rooms, and is a venue for wedding receptions, family reunions and special events.
The mansion was built in 1829 by the ironmaster Peter Ege and has an impressive history of guests and owners, including senators, federal department leaders, a millionaire and a university founder. The mansion is open on Sunday's between Memorial Day and Labor Day at 3 p.m. for tours.
The Ironmaster’s Mansion is open April to December. To book an overnight stay, wedding, meeting or special event, please email: IronmastersPineGrove@gmail.com or call 717-486-4108. www.ironmastersmansion.com
The Ironmaster's Mansion is being managed by the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy. www.CentralPaConservancy.org
Take a 360 degree tour. http://tours.360businesstechnology.com/public/vtour/display/35217?a=1
Access for People with Disabilities
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.