Birding · Fall Colors · Historical Significance · Views · Wildlife
Need to Know
Open to dogs but sections of rock scrambling can be extremely challenging for visitors with four paws. Can be buggy.
Though many visitors head up to the Sunset Rocks viewpoint and back for a short and steep, ~4-mile journey, the ridge to the west of the viewpoint makes for easygoing hiking with fun boulders to explore and scramble on.
Start from any of the main parking areas at Pine Grove Furnace State Park and follow signage for the AT off 233. Head north into the woods, passing a few cabins that can be booked for overnight stays in the park. As the trail bends to the left (west), the grades increase slightly with a short up-and-over section ending at the junction with the blue-blazed Sunset Rocks Trail
Turn left (southwest) to begin the climb in earnest as the trail heads basically straight up the slope. Luckily, the tread is relatively stable though some sections have embedded rocks to navigate. Just shy of the two-mile mark, the views start to appear and a sign will mark the Sunset Rocks Spur
to the main unobstructed view. For folks short on time or feeling justifiably accomplished, retrace your steps to the starting point.
For this hike, continue west along the ridge to explore numerous boulders and rock outcrops, some with more views, though most aren't as wide open as the first. At the 2.3-mile mark, the trail comes to the western nose of the ridge and begins a few large switchbacks as it descends to Michaux Road. Turn right along the road for a brief stretch, staying left/straight at Bunkerhill Road, to find the continuation of the Sunset Rocks Trail
to the left (west).
Follow signage for Tom's Run Shelter or look for blue blazes. After 3.8 miles, the Sunset Rocks Trail
meets the AT again. Turn right (north) onto the AT to find the shelter, marking a great over-halfway spot for a snack and break. From here on out, the hike follows flat grades of the AT for a couple of miles before a short descent and climb near the first junction with the Sunset Rocks Trail
back to the starting point.
History & Background
Pine Grove Furnace State Park features the Appalachian Trail Museum, which has some very cool artifacts and photos that outline the history of the AT.
Shared By: Zander Göpfert