Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club
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The BMECC Section of The Appalachian Trail

In 1926, planners of the Appalachian Trail asked hiking club members to locate and build 102 miles of the Appalachian Trail through the wilderness along the mountaintop from the Lehigh River to the Susquehanna River. Monuments, cabins, and rest stops were built along the way. After five years of volunteer labor, dedication of the completed section was held on October 12, 1931.The Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club currently maintains a 64.4 mile section of the trail along the Blue Mountains from Lehigh Furnace Gap Road to Rausch Gap, with the exception of a section between Bake Oven Road and Tri-county Corner.

       

Trail Maps

Trail maps are an important necessity to learning about the Appalachian Trail and traveling safely. Here are links to some helpful resources.

Interactive Map of the full Appalachian Trail made by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Find a Hike on the Appalachian Trail available from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Trail Books for purchase from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Store. These books have very detailed maps, are well worth the cost, and are highly recommended for anything more than a day trip.

• Topographic Maps of Appalachian Trail in PA from South to North

• Section 7 - PA 325 to Yellow Springs
• Section 7 - Yellow Springs to Swatara Gap
• Section 6 - Swatara Gap to PA 645
• Section 6 - PA 645 to PA 183
• Section 5 - PA 183 to Port Clinton
• Section 4 - Port Clinton to Dan's Pulpit
• Section 4 - Dan's Pulpit to PA 309
• Section 3 - PA 309 to PA turnpike tunnel


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Trail Maintenance

Club members and other volunteers perform on-going maintenance, clean-ups and repairs on the Appalachian Trail, and Shelters. Each section of the Appalachian Trail that the BMECC maintains has a caretaker. Caretakers hike their section and identify areas needing maintenance. Monthly work trips are scheduled to improve areas identified. Repairs are also made to the shelters including new roofs, privys and more each year. Are you ready to help improve the beautiful Appalachian Trail? Find all work trips on our schedule.


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Shelters

The Appalachian Trail shelters provide through-hikers refuge from the elements. The BMECC maintains 8 shelters listed below from South to North on the AT in Pennsylvania.

Some shelters require serious maintenance at times. The Rausch Gap Shelter was built in 1973 and was scheduled for a roof replacement in 2011. Upon starting the work, it was discovered that too many of the logs had rotted and needed to be replaced. As a result, a major rebuild project was undertaken. The work was done entirely by volunteers at the BMECC Rentschler Arboretum for ease of accessibility and, when completed, the shelter was disassembled, transported to its current location on state game lands, and reassembled and finished (See a slide show of the project).

Rausch Gap Shelter


<- Rausch Gap Shelter

Built: 2012

Highlights: On-site spring. Very nice privy, built 2005 >>

Location: Within State
Game lands tract #211

William Penn Shelter ->

Built: 1993

Highlights: Compost privy, spring (usually fair),
Large loft, Blue Mt camp site nearby

Location: 2 1/4 miles south of Rt. 645

William Penn Shelter
Rt 501 Shelter
 


<- Route 501 Shelter

Built: 1975 - retained by special arrangement with NPS and ATC

Highlights: Enclosed shelter with sky lights, sleeps 12, well water, solar shower, porta potty (in season), camp site, caretaker present

Location: 0.1 mile north of PA State Route 501

Eagles Nest Shelter ->

Built: 1988

Highlights: Sleeps 8, Yeich Spring is nearby,
compost privy, campsites available

Location: 9.1 miles south of Port Clinton and
6.2 miles north of State Route 183.

Eagles Nest Shelter
Port Clinton Pavilion

<- Port Clinton Pavilion

This structure is not maintained by the hiking club but is available on the AT. It is sponsored by St. John's Church of Port Clinton, PA.

Location: Follow blue blaze along the "main street" to the north end of town; pavillion is on east side of street

Windsor Furnace Shelter ->

Built: 1972 - This is the only legal camping in the Hamburg Watershed area.

Highlights: Sleeps 6, privy, spring, campsite,
near high day-use area

Location: 21.2 miles south of State Route 309
and 5.6 miles north of State Route 61

Windsor Furnace Shelter
Eckville Shelter

<- Eckville Shelter

Built: Early 20th century as a farmhouse outbuilding. Retained by special arrangement with NPS and ATC.

Highlights: Sleeps 6, well water, campsites, toilet, shower, caretaker present

Location: Located in Eckville just south of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Bake Oven Knob Shelter ->

Built: 1937

Highlights: Sleeps 6, campsite for 2 or 3 tents, no privy, 3 springs are located downhill. The first two are at 100 and 200 yards on the right (not very reliable), the last one is over .3 miles downhill (usually reliable except during periods of extreme drought).

Location: 1 mile north of Bake Oven Knob road and large PA Game Commission Parking Lot.  7.5 miles south of Lehigh Gap

Bake Oven Knob Shelter


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Vistas & Monuments

Coming Soon!


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Parking


Safety: There is sporadic vandalism at any parking area, so don't leave valuables visible in your vehicle. 

Abbreviations: Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), National Park Service (NPS),
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)

Parking from South to North: 

  • Clark's Valley Rd. (Rt. 325) - technically, this PGC lot is NOT within our section, but is a popular access point to reach the Rausch Gap shelter for a longer weekend trip. 
  • Gold Mine Rd. (between Rt. 443 and Tower City) and Cold Springs (accessed through Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation) are the 2 closest PGC lots to the Rausch Gap shelter.  NO PARKING FOR HIKE-IN/HIKE-OUT OVERNIGHT TRIPS TO THE SHELTER - Game Commission regulations require different entry and exit points for "legal" primitive one-night camping along the AT on PGC-owned lands. 
  • Parking in Swatara Gap at Rts. 72 and 443 (either DCNR lands or State Parks), limited parking on the east side of Swatara Creek under the I-81 overpass - this is difficult to get to and you will need to take back roads near the Monroe Valley Golf Course. 
  • Parking at Rt. 645 (NPS land) and Rt. 501 (PennDOT).
  • Limited parking at trail crossing at Rt. 183 on west side of road; PGC parking lot on east side of Rt. 183 below the ridgetop - can be muddy in winter/early spring. 
  • PGC parking in Shartlesville area (use Forge Dam Rd. off of Mountain Rd at the Shartlesville exit off of I-78) and PGC parking near the Blue Mountain Academy off of Mountain Rd. (south access to the Auburn Lookout area of the trail). 
  • Port Clinton parking in RR yard area (from Rt. 61, turn at Union House and Post Office, cross bridge and immediately turn left), NPS lot on west side of Rt. 61 (south-bound lane access only), and small lot off of Rt. 61 on Mountain Rd. 
  • Hamburg Reservoir parking lot by advance permission of Hamburg Borough - all others will be ticketed!!! Address: 61 north 3rd Street, Hamburg, Pa. 19526. phone: (610) 562-7821 There's a form that you will have to read and sign.
  • PGC parking in Eckville area - trail crossing on Drehersville-Albany Rd on west side (3-4 cars MAX);
  • PGC parking off of pine Swamp Rd.
  • Parking along Rt. 309 (on Allentown HIking Club's AT section), but there's a PGC lot on the east side of the highway near the top of the ridge.  Also, parking by permission at the restaurant there (current name unknown).
  • PGC parking near Bake Oven Knob (2 large parking lots, but no winter maintenance). 
  • Limited parking along Ashfield Rd at northern end of our section.

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Off-Trail Services

Coming Soon!

 

Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club, P. O. Box 14982, Reading, Pennsylvania 19612-4982, USA, info@bmecc.org


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Photo: Brian Swisher, Barry Baskin