Pennsylvania Rocks

As Northbound hikers trek through Maryland, they will start to hear stories about the notorious rocky parts of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania.

Hikers hear things like:

  • “The trail in Pennsylvania is just miles of rocks.”
  • “The rocks aren’t all loose. They are embedded in the trail.”
  • “For hours, you just hear the clanking of your hiking poles hitting the rocks.”

Even when you hear all of this, it’s hard to imagine what people are talking about. It’s something that you must experience for yourself to understand.

Hikers begin to notice some changes in the terrain starting in Maryland as the trail starts to contain small jagged rocks. Is this the beginning of the Pennsylvania rocks? Not yet. The trail clears again and you soon forget about it.

Upon crossing over into Pennsylvania, you begin to wonder what all the fuss is about. The trail seems decent, and at times, silky smooth. You glide across beautiful farmlands and forests and feel that this is what life’s all about.

The Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania

But the AT has other plans for you. After several days, you begin noticing the trail is filled with embedded rocks. This is beginning of the notorious rocky part of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania.

Miles of the Appalachian Trail are filled with small embedded rocks

The rocks are small enough that your feet get caught in between them. New blisters might even appear as your feet slip around in your shoes.

Larger rocks in Pennsylvania

There are different grades of rocks too – small, medium, large, and extra large. Remarkably, the locals don’t even seem to notice them. They endure it, so you become determined to keep a stiff upper lip.

The Appalachian Trail with a layer of large boulders in Pennsylvania

Day in and day out, your feet take a beating and you’re wondering when it will end. Then suddenly the ridge line changes and you slowly start to see the dirt trail again.

While you are tripping over the rocks, you forget about one thing – the trail is flat, extremely flat. Just take a look at the topo maps. It’s a mixed bag from Mother Nature. You are spared the harsh ascents and descents but you lose a little bit of your hiking legs. All is well, though.

Enjoy the challenges of the Pennsylvania rocks. And hold tight, the trail will change once again.

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