Pine Grove Furnace State Park

This a-corny 10 means this is a top 10 list.

Top 10 Things to do

There are dozens of fun activities at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, but here's a list to get you started.


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.

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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

Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. Beaches, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.

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.

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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.

Grandfather teaches grandson how to fish at Fuller Lake at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania.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.

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.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
All park roads and service roads are open to bicycles unless posted otherwise. A two-mile bike trail connects the Furnace Stack Day Use Area with the Laurel Lake Day Use Area. Once the railroad bed of the South Mountain Railroad, the trail surface is crushed limestone or paved. Over half of this route is on Railroad Bed Road and shares the road with vehicles. Bicyclists are advised to use caution because all trails are shared with pedestrian traffic and some are open to motor vehicles. Pennsylvania state law requires all bicyclists under the age of 12 to wear an approved helmet.

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.

HBracketted by overarching trees, a woman walks her dog on a broad trail at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania.iking: 4 miles of trails

Buck Ridge Trail: 6 miles, yellow blazes
This trail through Michaux State Forest connects Kings Gap Environmental Education Center and Pine Grove Furnace State Park. The trailhead and a small parking area are across from the park office.

Creek Trail: 0.5-mile, yellow blazes
Creek Trail begins at the amphitheater and winds past vernal ponds and a stand of white pine along Mountain Creek near the campground.

Mountain Creek: 1.4-miles, yellow blazes
This trail is a link between the rail trail to Fuller Lake and Icehouse Road to Laurel Lake. The trail affords the hiker an alternate path to Laurel Lake Day Use area other than the paved roadway. The trail meanders through forests and wetlands as it follows Mountain Creek downstream to Laurel Lake. Deer, heron, waterfowl and beaver can be seen along this trail.

Koppenhaver Trail: 1-mile, yellow blazes
Begin this scenic loop trail at the far end of the Fuller Ball Field. The footpath crosses Toms Run and passes through stands of mature pines and hemlocks.

Pole Steeple Trail: 0.75-mile, blue blazes
This Michaux State Forest trail contains some steep climbs. The entire park can be viewed from Forested mountains stretch to the horizon from the Pole Steeple Overlook at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania. 350the Pole Steeple Overlook, which is a quartzite rock outcropping. The trail begins at the Pole Steeple parking lot, along the Railroad Bed Road by Laurel Lake, and proceeds up Piney Mountain to the rocky overlook.

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
This short trail circles a small, forested swamp filled with interesting plants and animals. The trail begins and ends on the rail trail.

For a Safe Hike

  • Wear sturdy shoes to protect your feet.
  • Carry the proper safety equipment, like a first aid kit and a poncho.
  • Stay on the trail. If you hike off the trail, you might get lost or damage fragile habitats.
  • Carry drinking water. DO NOT drink from streams, springs or lakes without properly treating the water first!
  • Observe wildlife from a safe distance. Do not try to get close to wild animals.
  • Check the weather before you hike. It is not safe to hike in thunderstorms or when heavy snow is expected.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
  • A cell phone can be useful for calling for help, but many sections of the park do not have cell phone coverage.

Appalachian Trail

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.

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.

Stay the Night

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups
70 tent and trailer sites are available from late March to mid-December. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring. A sanitary dump station is near the campground entrance. A seasonal camp store is one quarter-mile from the campground. Pets are permitted on designated campsites for a fee.

GPS: Lat. 40.02565 Long. -77.31086

Explore the campground map.

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Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 1 host positions
The campground host site has amenities that include 50-amp electric service and water hookup. The host is required to assist park personnel for 40 hours per week with a two-week minimum stay. Contact the park office for additional information and availability.

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.This stone house was the Paymasters House and now is a rentable cabin at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania.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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The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.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.

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Winter Activities

Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths. Please be safe on the ice.

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 symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.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.

A child approaches an impressive stone building which is the Appalachian Trail Museum at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania.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.

Ironmaster's Mansion

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: or call 717-486-4108.

The Ironmaster's Mansion is being managed by the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Take a 360 degree tour.

Access for People with Disabilities

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.