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Hiking at Pine Grove Furnace State Park

4 miles of trails

Pine Grove Furnace 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

1.4 miles in the park, 2,190 miles total  |   Easiest hiking in the park  |   Point-to-point trail   |   White blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking, backpacking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, potable water, picnic tables

A portion of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) runs through the park giving thru hikers a chance to stop at the Ironmaster's Mansion, A.T. Museum, and general store. The approximately 2,190-mile-long trail traverses the Appalachian Mountains through 14 states, stretching as a continuous footpath from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in central Maine. 

Hiking the A.T. 

About 2 to 3 million people walk a portion of the A.T. each year. Pine Grove Furnace State Park is a popular access point for short-term backpacking and day hikes. Boiling Springs to the north and Caledonia State Park 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. Section hikers should register their car at the overnight parking area.

Brickyard Trail

0.3 mile  |   Easiest hiking   |   Out-and-back trail   |   Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, potable water, picnic tables

This short trail connects the Brickyard Day Use Are to the Organized Group Tenting Area. It also leads to the intersection of Creek Trail and Campground Trail.

Buck Ridge Trail

6 miles outside the park  |  Most difficult hiking  |  Point-to-point trail   |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This 6-mile trail through Michaux State Forest connects Kings Gap Environmental Education Center and Pine Grove Furnace State Park over challenging rocky terrain. The trailhead and a small parking area are across from the park office.

Campground Trail

0.33 mile  |  Easiest hiking  |  Connector trail   |  No/Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This trail meanders through the trees and connects the Charcoal Hearth campground to the Furnace Stack Day Use Area providing campers easy access to historic sites and the general store.

Creek Trail

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

Trail begins at the amphitheater and wraps around the campground. Hikers can see vernal ponds, mountain creek, and the historic furnace raceway.

Hiker Biker Trail

3.0 miles  |  Easiest hiking  |  Out-and-back trail   |  No blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking, biking, cross-country skiing recommended
Trailhead amenities: modern restrooms, potable water, picnic tables

This ADA accessible, family-friendly trail travels from the Furnace Stack, past Fuller Lake, to the Laurel Lake area. The trail overlaps the Appalachian Trail and Old Railroad Bed Road. It provides access to multiple other trails in the park. Part of the trail and paved and part is gravel.

Koppenhaver Trail

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

This scenic trail winds through many tall pines and hemlocks and passes by Tom's Run and Mountain Creeks. Remnants of the old girl scout camp can be seen on part of the trail.

Mountain Creek

1.4 miles  |  Easiest hiking  |  Out-and-back trail   |  No blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

This trail is a link between the Hiker Biker Trail, Koppenhaver Trail, and Icehouse Road near 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 and provides easy access for trout fishing opportunities. 

Pole Steeple Trail

0.75 mile outside the park |  Most difficult hiking  |  Out-and-back trail   |  Blue blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Accessed from the Pole Steeple parking lot in the park, this trail entirely in Michaux State Forest is a short, but steep climb to the top. The entire park can be viewed from the Pole Steeple Overlook, which is a quartzite rock outcropping. The trail begins on the opposite side of Railroad Bed Road from 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  |  Easiest hiking  |  Loop trail   |  Yellow blazes
Recreations permitted: hiking
Trailhead amenities: none

Accessed from the Hiker Biker Trail, this short trail circles a small, forested swamp filled with interesting plants and animals. 

For a Safe Hike

  • Wear sturdy shoes to protect your feet.
  • Carry the proper safety equipment, such as 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.