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AT in Pennsylvania

Swatara Gap (PA 72)
to PA 183

Kimmel Lookout, Showers Steps

 

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This 20.7 mile section of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania takes northbound hikers from Swatara Gap and ascends 1000+ feet up to a ridge, where the trail stays except for a slight dip in Shuberts Gap. The main features of this section of the AT include the nice views from Kimmel Lookout and the fascinating Showers Steps.  There are two shelters along this stretch of trail. 

The William Penn Shelter is a two story structure with both levels for sleeping.  The second story is a loft with windows.  The shelter was built in 1996, sleeps 16 and has a privy nearby.  This shelter is frequented by summer camping groups.

The 501 Shelter was built in the 1980's and is fully enclosed with a caretaker.  The shelter has twelve bunks, tables, chairs as well as a skylight.  A solar shower and privy are located nearby.  This shelter is always open and there is no fee.  The shelter is located just off PA 501.

The historic Waterville Bridge over Swatara Creek

This section begins as the AT crosses PA 72 in Swatara Gap (heading northbound).  The trail crosses Swatara Creek on the Waterville Bridge at 0.1 miles.  The Waterville Bridge is a cast iron bridge built in 1890 across the Little Pine Creek in Lycoming County.  This type of bridge is one of three still in Pennsylvania.  The bridge was dismantled and moved to the present location in the 1980s after it was determined that the bridge was too narrow for modern traffic.

At 0.4 miles pass under the I-81 bridges and the trail will soon climb over 1000 feet to reach the ridge of mountain.  At 2.4 miles the trail follows along the state land boundary, which is also marked with white blazes. USE CAUTION! 

A view of Monroe Valley to the right at 4.6 miles.  At 6.0 miles cross an oil pipeline and in another 500 feet pass by the "tri-county" marker for Berks, Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties.  At 7.3 miles reach two blue blazed side trails. The trail on the left leads 600 feet downhill to the Blue Mountain Spring and the trail of the right leads 0.1 miles to the William Penn Shelter.

William Penn Shelter

At 9.6 miles reach and cross PA 645.  At 11.2 miles cross a buried cable clearing.  At 11.3 miles reach the views from Kimmel Lookout.  At 11.4 miles reach and cross PA 501.  Look for signs for the 501 Shelter and the 0.1 mile blue blazed side trail that leads to this popular shelter.

At 11.9 miles reach a blue blazed side trail that travels to Pilger Ruh Spring.  This watering stop dates back to colonial times.  There is camping permitted at the Applebee Campsite, located closeby.  At 14.0 miles the trail turns right toward Round Head.  At 14.4 miles there is a unmarked side trail on the right that leads 100 feet to a lookout with nice views of the kessel and the surrounding area.

At 14.5 miles reach Round Head and the junction of the Showers Steps (blue blazed trail), plus a nice view.  At 17.0 miles reach the Hertlein Campsite.  At 17.1 miles is Shuberts Gap.  At 17.7 miles cross an oil pipeline.  At 20.4 miles reach historic marker for Fort Dietrich Snyder.  The AT turns sharply at the marker, turning right and then a quick left.  At 20.7 miles reach PA 183 and the end of this section of the Appalachian Trail.

 

Appalachian Trail Hiking Guide
Pennsylvania
** ONLY $9.99
Hiking guide with descriptions and maps for the Appalachian Trail as it travels in Pennsylvania. The guide is broken down by 14 sections of the AT. The book comes to you delivered as a pdf file via email. Use the buy now button and we will send you the file via email usually within 24 hours of receiving payment.
Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania
PA 72 to PA 183 ** ONLY $1.50
Hiking guide with descriptions and maps for just this section of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. The guide comes to you delivered as a pdf file via email. Use the buy now button below and we will send you the file via email usually within 24 hours of receiving payment. Happy Hiking!

For more information to assist in planning your Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania adventure, we recommend these hiking books:

Appalachian Trail Guide to Pennsylvania

 Exploring the Appalachian Trail: Hikes in the Mid-Atlantic States - MD PA NJ NY

 Pennsylvania Hiking Trails: Keystone Trails Association

 AMC's Best Day Hikes Near Philadelphia

 50 Hikes in Eastern Pennsylvania: From the Mason-Dixon Line to the Poconos and North Mountain

 Backpacking Pennsylvania: 37 Great Hikes

 50 Hikes in Central Pennsylvania

 Hiking the Poconos: A Guide to the Area's Best Hiking Adventures

 Hiking Pennsylvania

CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Appalachian Trail AT in Pennsylvania Best of the AT in PA

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