Horse-Shoe Trail

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Horse-Shoe Trail
Length 140 mi (225 km)
Location Southeastern Pennsylvania, United States
Trailheads Valley Forge National Historical Park
Appalachian Trail
Use Hiking
Horse Riding
Hiking details
Trail difficulty Moderate to Strenuous
Season Year-round

The Horse-Shoe Trail is a 140-mile (230 km) trail that runs from the western edge of Valley Forge National Historical Park westward toward Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It ends about 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Harrisburg at the Appalachian Trail.[1]

The trail was developed for equestrian and pedestrian use, according to the Horse-Shoe Trail Club guide (see below), hence the name (horse + shoe).

Trail junctions[edit]

The west end of the Horse-Shoe Trail terminates at the Appalachian Trail. It goes through Chester, Berks, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Dauphin counties.

The east end of the Horse-Shoe Trail is nearly connected to the Schuylkill River Trail, which runs through the north side of Valley Forge Park. Existing park trails almost connect them, but it is not signed, and busy PA Route 23 has to be crossed thrice. West of Valley Forge Park, the original trail has been broken up by suburban development. Some segments of the original trail have been closed off by new housing and lengthy detours are now required to continue on the trail's route. Detours and rerouted portions are sometimes not marked clearly.

Plans call for the Horse-Shoe Trail eventually to connect with the Brandywine Trail at Yellow Springs Road. The Brandywine Trail is planned to run approximately 35 miles (56 km) south to Wilmington, Delaware roughly along Brandywine Creek.

Minor connecting trails[edit]

Points of interest[edit]

Horse-Shoe Trail Club[edit]

The Horse-Shoe Trail Club was founded in 1935 and coordinates volunteer and funding efforts to maintain the trail.

The club prints a guide to the trail that is updated occasionally, which includes a booklet and a set of 10 detailed maps. The guide is available for sale through the club. It is also sold at the visitor's center to Valley Forge Park and other select locations. The 24th edition of the guide was published in February 2011. There is also a newsletter, Blaze, that is published and includes updated information to the guide.


  1. ^ Backpacking Pennsylvania: 37 Great Hikes, Mitchell, Stackpole Books, 2004, ISBN 0-8117-3180-4

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°15′16″N 76°17′05″W / 40.25444°N 76.28472°W / 40.25444; -76.28472