Backpack the Horse-Shoe Trail (2C13.1)

Date and Time

Friday, April 26, 2019 3:00PM - Sunday, April 28, 2019 12:00PM


Southeastern PA,
New Jersey, Central,
NJ United States


Registration is required for this activity.


The Horse-Shoe Trail was created to connect Philadelphia with the Appalachian Trail. A conservancy was established in 1935 to preserve, protect, and maintain it. Historically, the trail has been related to the iron industry throughout this part of Pennsylvania. Fittingly, our trip will start at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site where we will learn about industrial development and natural resources in the early United States. Our trip will start at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site visitor's center parking lot and will continue with a brief, self-guided tour of the buildings and grounds. After about an hour or so, we will drive to nearby French Creek State Park where we will set up camp, have dinner, and stay in a group site overnight. Several vehicles will be left behind at Hopewell Furnace to use after Saturday's hike. After breakfast on Saturday, we will break camp and drive to roadside parking along Geigertown Road near the South Birdsboro Archery & Gun Club entrance (40.224937, -75.808987). Several vehicles will be left behind there overnight. We will then day hike 8.2 miles back to Hopewell Furnace along the Horse-Shoe Trail, eating a trail lunch along the way. After the day hike, we will use vehicles left behind at Hopewell Furnace to drive to a second trailhead on Buck Hollow Road (40.221897, -75.868980). From there, we will backpack about 0.9 miles to a "primitive" campsite in the Buck Hollow Preserve, set up camp, have dinner, and stay overnight. After breakfast on Sunday, we will break camp and backpack 4.0 miles eastbound along the Horse-Shoe Trail to the spot along Geigertown Road where we staged vehicles the day before. After connecting the drivers with the vehicles still parked at Buck Hollow Road, participants are welcome to spend more time at Hopewell Furnace, explore other parts of this heavily wooded area, or drive somewhere nearby for lunch. Caution: These stretches of the Horse-Shoe Trail require several crossings of two-lane rural roads. Fortunately, there is little car traffic and they are crossings which do not require walking along the road. Notice to Registrants: While anyone may register, this is a scouting trip that it will be run by leaders-in-training with experienced, qualified leaders providing backup.

AMC Trip Policy


Adult: $0.01 member / $0.01 non-member
*Friday Night Camping: Those of us who will be camping at French Creek on Friday night will split the $62.50 cost of a group campsite.

Related Link(s):

Detailed Route Information
Hopewell Furnace Area Map
Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy
REI Backpacking Checklist

Driving Directions

From Philadelphia: Take PA Turnpike/I-76 W to King of Prussia Exit 328A. Follow signs for US-422 W/Pottstown. Continue onto US-422 W. Exit onto PA-100 S/West Chester south of Pottstown. From New York: Take NJ Turnpike/I-95 S to Newark Toll Plaza Exit 14. Continue onto I-78 W/Phillipsburg. Exit onto PA-145 N south of Allentown. Turn left onto Vera Cruz Road until it becomes Brunner Road. Continue on Brunner Road. Turn right onto Main Road E. Bear left onto Shimerville Road. Turn left onto PA 100 S south of Shimerville. Starting from PA-100 S, directions from Philadelphia and New York are the same: Turn right onto PA-724 W/Birdsboro. Turn left onto Shed Road. At Crusher Road, bear left to stay on Shed Road. At Red Corner Road, bear right to stay on Shed Road. Turn left onto PA-345 S. At French Creek East Entrance (40.214384, -75.774796), bear right onto Park Road. Follow signs for Hopewell Furnace Visitor's Center. From Harrisburg: Take PA Turnpike/I-76 E to Morgantown Exit 298. Follow signs for I-176 N/Morgantown/Reading. Continue onto I-176 N. Take Exit 1A for PA-10 N/Morgantown Road. Turn right onto PA-10 N/Morgantown Road. Turn right onto Johanna Road. Turn right onto Elverson Road. Turn left onto Hopewell Road until it becomes Park Road. Turn right onto Mark Bird Road. Follow signs for Hopewell Furnace Visitor's Center. Public Transportation: Participants who are considering public transportation or carpooling should contact the leaders for assistance.




Offered By

N.Y. - North Jersey



Nearby AMC Destination

AMC Bethlehem PA Office


Okay for beginners but not recommended for novices


Adults (18+)


Dean Witman is a part-time instructor for Princeton University Aquatics. Until recently, he was a college teacher and aquatics instructor in Wisconsin. He has more than twenty years of business experience in supply chain management and quality improvement. Dean received a master's degree in experiential education from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a master's degree in business administration from Columbia University. Dean is a NOLS WMI-certified Wilderness First Responder.


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Ron is a backpack, hike, and ski leader for AMC NY-NoJ Chapter.


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AMC Backpack Committee Leader since 2015. Veteran, sailor, and canoeist. Enjoys helping folks have a wonderful wilderness experience.


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I've been backpacking with the New York/N Jersey chapter for the past seven years, mostly in West Virginia and Central PA. Leading will give me the chance to revisit some of my favorite places and discover some new ones. I am looking forward to leading moderately-paced trips to interesting terrains off the beaten path.