What to do in Pine Grove Furnace State Park

Pine Grove Furnace State Park, is located in the heart of Michaux State Forest in southern Cumberland County. The forest was named for Andre Michaux, a famous French botanist who explored this region in the latter part of the 18th century.

The historic significance of Pine Grove Furnace was recognized in 1977 when the charcoal iron community was entered in the National Register of Historical Places.

The park is used during every season of the year. Visitors have a selection of varied recreational opportunities ranging from camping, swimming, picnicking, boating, group tenting and educational and historical activities. Several hiking trails offer a diverse look at the area. A bicycle rental concession is located at the boat rental area on Laurel Lake. Winter sports are thoroughly enjoyed year after year.

The Appalachian Trail, a famous 2,000-mile trail, is marked by white blazes and travels from Mt. Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia. The trail is popular with day hikers as well as backpackers. Access to the Appalachian Trail may be found along Quarry Road by the furnace. A parking area near the furnace pavilion and a comfort station are available for trail users. Another well-known trail travels in Pine Grove Furnace State Park. It is the Pole Steeple Trail that is a state forest trail, marked with blue blazes. The entire park can be viewed from the Pole Steeple Overlook that is a quartzite rock outcropping. The trail begins at the Pole Steeple parking lot, located along the Railroad Road by Laurel Lake and proceeds up Piney Mountain to the rocky overlook.

The park historic / interpretive center provides people with the opportunity to view exhibits which interpret the historic charcoal iron furnace community which flourished here for over one hundred years. A park interpreter provides a full range of programs and activities for visitors during the summer season. School programs are provided upon request.

Seventy-five acres of the park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park, is located in the heart of Michaux State Forest in southern Cumberland County. The forest was named for Andre Michaux, a famous French botanist who explored this region in the latter part of the 18th century.

The park took its name from the Pine Grove Iron Furnace, the remains of which still stand. The furnace dates back to 1764 and for over 100 years manufactured cast iron products including: 10 plate stoves, fireplace backs, iron kettles and military supplies. Slate and brick works were also located in the area in the late 1800's. Other buildings dating back to the charcoal iron community still stand and include the ironmaster's mansion, clerks office, stable, grist mill (now the Visitor Center), the inn (now the park office) and several residences. Remnants of raceways, charcoal hearths and related man-made features are still discernible.

Fuller Lake was the major ore quarry from which iron ore was mined for Pine Grove Furnace. The quarry filled with groundwater when mining ceased. Laurel Lake once supplied water power to Laurel Forge. Laurel Forge reheated and hammered the cast iron ingots from Pine Grove Furnace to produce wrought iron, a product that could be bent in many shapes.

The historic significance of Pine Grove Furnace was recognized in 1977 when the charcoal iron community was entered in the National Register of Historical Places.

The first recreational facilities were built in the area by the iron furnace company. Iron company lands were purchased by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1913.

Recreation
The park is used during every season of the year. Visitors have a selection of varied recreational opportunities ranging from camping, swimming, picnicking, boating, group tenting and educational and historical activities. Several hiking trails offer a diverse look at the area. A bicycle rental concession is located at the boat rental area on Laurel Lake. Winter sports are thoroughly enjoyed year after year.

The Appalachian Trail, a famous 2,000-mile trail, is marked by white blazes and travels from Mt. Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia. The trail is popular with day hikers as well as backpackers. Access to the Appalachian Trail may be found along Quarry Road by the furnace. A parking area near the furnace pavilion and a comfort station are available for trail users. Please visit the park office to register your car and intended destination and / or time of return.

Another well-known trail travels in Pine Grove Furnace State Park. It is the Pole Steeple Trail that is a state forest trail, marked with blue blazes. The entire park can be viewed from the Pole Steeple Overlook that is a quartzite rock outcropping. The trail begins at the Pole Steeple parking lot, located along the Railroad Road by Laurel Lake and proceeds up Piney Mountain to the rocky overlook. NOTE: The steep grade and sheer drop may stress some individuals. Parents are advised to closely supervise children, especially when they are on the rocks.

This historic brick structure has been renovated and is now operated by the American Youth Hostel, Inc. Overnight dormitory style lodging, cooking and dining facilities are available. For more information contact the hostel manager, telephone (717) 486-7575.

The park historic / interpretive center provides people with the opportunity to view exhibits which interpret the historic charcoal iron furnace community which flourished here for over one hundred years. A park interpreter provides a full range of programs and activities for visitors during the summer season. School programs may be provided, upon request.

Seventy-five acres of the park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs.

Location
Pine Grove Furnace State Park is located in the southern central area of Pennsylvania. It is located off of I-81 South - Exit 11, eight miles south on Route 233 in southern Cumberland County.

Climate
Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Pine Grove Furnace State Park area generally has fairly cold winter months. This lower central area has temperatures averaging above 28 degrees Fahrenheit (above -2 degrees Celsius). The region's average summer temperatures range 72 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 23 Celsius).

Address
1100 Pine Grove Road
Gardners, PA 17324-9078

Phone: 717-486-7174

Email: pinegrove@dcnr.state.pa.us
  • Pine Grove Furnace State Park Travel Q&A

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