Pine Grove Furnace State Park is a stunning 696-acre state park at the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Part of South Mountain, the park touts two beautiful lakes (Laurel Lake and Fuller Lake) that offer many recreational options. Pine Grove Furnace State Park, located at the halfway point of the 2186-mile National Scenic Appalachian Trail, is a nature enthusiasts dream.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park is an outstanding spot of natural beauty surrounded by the Michaux State Forest. The park, originally the site of an iron furnace dating back to 1964, offers a wide variety of outdoor opportunities year-round. Nature enthusiasts are guaranteed to find activities to suit their every need. And guests looking for indoor options will be pleased by the opportunities available for education and historic exploration in the area.
Guests can enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, fishing and boating in the summer months. There are numerous opportunities for winter recreation in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park area as well. Historic and cultural opportunities are available for those that prefer indoor activities and for days when the weather turns bad.
The Ironmaster’s Mansion, a historic brick mansion dating back to the American Revolution, serves as an educational facility. It offers meeting rooms as well as a lovely venue for social events. The park also offers educational and social opportunities at the Appalachian Trail Museum.
It should be noted that due to the mountainous terrain, cell phone coverage is spotty within the park. Guests will however find telephones at several spots within the park including in the campground area.
RV Rentals in Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Transportation in Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Pine Grove Furnace State Park is easily reached from the I-81. Visitors should take exit 37 to PA-233 S then travel for 8 miles.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park is just over two and a half hours south west of Scranton, PA via I-81S. It's under an hour south west of Harrisburg, PA via I-81S, and under two and a half hours west of Philadelphia, PA vial I-76W.
The mountainous terrain you'll find as you approach the park means there's be some winding roads and steep hills, but the roads are generally well-maintained and fairly easy to traverse in an RV. Just take your time and let faster traffic pass. After all, there's no rush.
Parking is available at the Appalachian Trail Museum, Brickyard Trail Head, and Fuller Lake area. There is also parking just south of the park in Michaux State Forest with a trail head providing parking for vehicles and trailers.
There is no public transportation available within the park.
Campgrounds and parking in Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Campsites in Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Pine Grove Furnace State Park camp site is an ideal space for those interested in outdoor recreation. The site is approximately half-way along the Appalachian Trail. The park, steeped in history and natural beauty, is located in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains,
This mountainous park offers 46 modern sites with electricity, 20 modern sites without electricity, and two modern tent only sites. The park also offers six rustic organized group tenting sites. The facility offers three pavilions, a bath house, restrooms, picnic tables, and a playground.
Reservations should be made at least three days in advance of arrival. Guests can make reservations up to 11 months prior to their camping dates.
Seasonal activities in Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Pine Grove Furnace State Park offers a variety of biking trails for guests. The area in stunning surrounding Michaux State Forest touts some of the the most strenuous bike races around. Trails include 12, 20, and 25+ mile options. These trails are rocky and are also used by ATV enthusiast.
Easier trail rides in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park area include the Cumberland County Biker Trial which offers guests a two mile ride along a asphalt, cinder, and crush rock trail. Another option is the Old Forge Road which allows for hiking, biking, and horse trail rides.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park provides a lovely natural option for guests fond of swimming. There are two lovely lakes (Laurel Lake and Fuller Lake) within the park. Both lakes offer a sandy beach for swimmers. The two lakes are separated by a short bike ride. Both lakes provide a picnic area for guests and have a snack bar open in the summer months.
Laurel Beach is open 8 am to sunset daily from May 1 to Sept 30. This beach is swim at your own risk
Fuller Beach has lifeguards on duty 11 am to 7 pm daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends.
Guests are advised to exercise caution when swimming due to the extreme depths of the lakes and the cold sub surface water temperatures.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park is an ideal destination for hikers. The park is in the approximate center of the 2186-mile national Scenic Appalachian Trail. Pine Grove Furnace State Park offers hiking options for all skill levels.
Brickyard Trail: This easy .3-mile short trail connects the Brickyard Day Use Area to the Organized Group Tenting Area.
Buck Ridge Trail: This easy six-mile hiking trail winds its way through Michaux State Forest to connect Kings Gap Environmental Education Center and Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
Creek Trail: This easy half-mile trail begins at the amphitheater and meanders past vernal ponds and a stand of white pine along Mountain Creek.
Mountain Creek: This easy one and a half-mile trail meanders through forests and wetlands following Mountain Creek to Laurel Lake. Guests may expect to see native deer, heron, waterfowl, and beaver as they make their way along this trail.
Koppenhaver Trail: This easy one-mile hike takes guests through mature pine and hemlock trees over a footpath that crosses Tom Creek.
Pole Steeple Trail: This difficult .75-mile hike contains steep climbs and runs from the Pole Steeple Parking lot along the Railroad Bed Road by Laurel Lake up Piney Mountain to a quartzite rock outcropping from which the entire park can be viewed. Due to steep grading and steep drops, guests are advised to supervise children closely.
Swamp Trail: This easy .25-mile trail circles a small forested swamp filled with interesting flora, fauna, and native wildlife. This trail begins and ends on the Rail Trial.
Appalachian Trail (National Scenic Trail): This world famous 2,186-mile foot path runs through the heart of the park. The Trail runs from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Central Maine.
Much is made of the summer activities available at Pine Grove Furnace State Park. However, guest may be interested to know that ice skating is a popular winter activity here as well. Laurel Lake has a small space by the boat launch that is maintained for ice skating in the winter months and is a stunning space to partake in this winter activity.
Guests should be aware of safety issues related to ice skating and maintain distance from groups of skaters. Although ice thickness is not monitored at the lake itself, guests can find this information in the Winter Report information available regarding park conditions. It should also be noted that ice skating is not allowed on Fuller Lake.
Iron Master's Mansion
History buffs will be amazed by the Iron Master's Manson. This renovated historic brick mansion was built during the American Revolution and is operated by the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy with the help of numerous volunteers. The mansion is an educational facility with meeting rooms and a venue for social events. The mansion also serves as a hostel with dormitory style lodgings.
The Iron Master's Manson is a stunning brick edifice built in 1829 by the iron master Peter Edge. The mansion has served as a guest spot for many senators. Today the Manson is often a venue for weddings and social gatherings for those enamored with the area. This is a popular venue for scouting retreats and family reunions. The Mansion is open from April to December of each year.
Appalachian Trail Museum
The Appalachian Trail Museum. located near the halfway point of The Appalachian Trail, resides in a historic grist mill in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park. This museum offers guests an opportunity for hands-on learning in the Children's Discovery Area. Among other things, guests will currently find a trail shelter build by hiker legend Earl Shaffer within the Museum displays.
During summer months, guests should not be surprised to find hikers taking a break and attempting the midpoint tradition. Here guests will often see hikers celebrating reaching the half-way point of the Appalachian Trail by attempting to eat a half-gallon of ice cream in a single sitting.