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).

A 17-mile segment of the trail in Chester and Berks counties has been designated a National Recreation Trail.[2]

Trail junctions[edit]

The east end of the Horse-Shoe Trail is at the boundary of Montgomery County and Chester County in Valley Forge National Historical Park. The trail connects with other trails in the park, which can be followed to connect with the long-distance Schuylkill River Trail at the northeast corner of the park, although the unsigned route includes three crossings of busy PA Route 23.

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. Further west in Chester County, the trail meets the northern terminus of the Brandywine Trail, a limited-access trail that runs south 35 miles (56 km) roughly along Brandywine Creek to Brandywine Creek State Park near Wilmington, Delaware.

In Berks County the trail crosses several short trails within the French Creek State Park trail system.

In Lancaster County, the trail meets the northern terminus of the Conestoga Trail, which goes south through the county to eventually meet the Mason-Dixon Trail.

In Lebanon County, the trail crosses the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail.

In Dauphin County, after crossing fields and following roads in the Hershey area, the trail crosses Appalachian ridges and valleys in one of its most remote and strenuous sections, before ending at the Appalachian Trail atop Stony Mountain.

Nearby 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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Backpacking Pennsylvania: 37 Great Hikes, Mitchell, Stackpole Books, 2004, ISBN 0-8117-3180-4
  2. ^ "Horse-Shoe Trail - Warwick to French Creek State Park, Pennsylvania". American Trails. Retrieved 24 September 2015. 

External links[edit]

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