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Hiking at Caledonia State Park

10 miles of trails

The trails pass through forests and historic areas. A brochure on the hiking trails is available at the park office.

Caledonia State Park Trail Map (PDF)

Trail Definitions

Difficulty Ratings

Easiest -- For beginner trail users. Grade is gentle with few obstacles.
More Difficult -- For the majority of trail users. Grade is steeper and trails narrower with embedded rocks or roots on the trail surface.
Most Difficult -- For trail users with advanced skills. Grade is steep and provides a definite physical challenge. Routes may not be well marked. Elevation gain or loss is severe.

Trail Route Type

Loop -- Start and end at the same location and follow a single trail to form a loop.
Out-and-back -- Start and end at a trailhead and follow a single trail to an endpoint or specific point of interest, then return along the same route.
Point-to-point -- Trails are generally longer in distance and parks may often contain only a portion of the trail within their boundary. Hiker starts and ends in different locations, often requiring a shuttle.
Connector -- Begin and end in connection with another trail or trails but do not terminate at a trailhead.

Appalachian Trail

1.8 miles in the park, 2,186 miles total  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Point-to-point trail  |  White blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, picnic tables, benches

The famous, 2,186-mile Appalachian Trail passes through the park on its way north to Mt. Katahdin in Maine and south to Springer Mountain in Georgia.

Hiking this section of the Appalachian Trail gives hikers a taste of the terrain of the entire trail. Many scouting groups use this part of the Appalachian Trail as a “shake down” trip before setting out on longer excursions.

Hikers can do an overnight hike on the Appalachian Trail from Caledonia to Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, an all-volunteer club, maintains this section of the trail.

Chambersburg Water Line

1.9 miles  |  Easiest hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking, biking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, picnic tables

This park “right-of-way” is perfect for the entire family. Level and grassy, the waterline cuts across the entire park and offers glimpses into the dark and beautiful forest of the park.

Charcoal Hearth Trail

2.7 miles  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Loop trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, picnic tables

This is the longest and most rugged trail in the park. With its trailhead at the falls on Thaddeus Stevens Historic Trail, Charcoal Hearth Trail climbs steeply for 10-15 minutes to Graeffenburg Mountain before leveling off, then descends gradually, ending by a quiet stream near the Furnace Dam and pond. On the descent, watch for four historic charcoal hearths (noted on the map) and an old wagon road.

Fire Road Trail

1.0 mile  |  More difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This is a dirt road that serves as a fire break for the campground and access road for park vehicles.

Midland Trail

0.7 mile  |  Easiest hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Starting at the trailhead kiosk, this trail passes through the park near the swimming pool, past the park office, and ends at the old forestry museum building in the organized group tenting area. This uniquely beautiful walk is pleasant and level under a heavy canopy of white pine.

Ramble Trail

2.2 miles  |  Easiest hiking  |  Loop trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, picnic tables, benches

This wide walking trail begins at the trailhead kiosk and passes through the scenic lowlands of the park then returns to the pool area. In its circular route, the trail follows the millrace of an old rolling mill and passes the rolling mill falls. The trail also passes through one of the oldest white pine plantations in Pennsylvania, and it is a great place to see woodland birds.

Thaddeus Stevens Historic Trail

0.8 mile  |  Easiest hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Step back in time to imagine the bustling community of the Caledonia Iron Works. Investigate the blacksmith shop, millrace, falls, furnace dam, and header dam. Start at the trailhead kiosk or at the blacksmith shop. Return to the park by way of the Midland Trail which passes by the park office.

Three Valley Trail

0.7 mile  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Connector trail  |  Blue blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Beginning along Ramble Trail, Three Valley Trail crosses over the Chambersburg Water Line and ascends 400 feet up Ore Bank Hill to the Appalachian Trail. 

This trail is maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club as a side trail to the Appalachian Trail. This trail is blazed in blue, but white blazes appear when the trail merges with the Appalachian Trail at the top of the incline. Retrace your steps or make a right onto the Appalachian Trail.

Trolley Trail

0.7 mile  |  Easiest hiking  |  Out-and-back trail  |  Red blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking, biking
Trailhead amenities: none

Although short, this path is suitable for bicycles. CAUTION -- for your safety, do not bicycle on US 30.

This trail was once an old trolley grade that brought visitors from Chambersburg to the Caledonia Amusement Park. The old blacksmith shop once served as the trolley station.

Whispering Pine Nature Trail

0.4 mile  |  Easiest hiking  |  Loop trail  |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: benches

Discover the lowland forests of Caledonia State Park on this short loop trail that begins along the park road between the two bridges after passing the park office.