“Dedicated To The Most Popular Hiking Trail In America”
Appropriately, the Museum is housed in a building that is itself a historical artifact, a structure built more than two hundred years ago as a grist mill. It stands across the road from the Pine Grove general store, a site famed in hiker lore. It is here that thru-hikers traditionally stop to celebrate reaching the midpoint by eating -- or attempting to eat -- a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting. The Museum has had visitors from throughout the United States and 18 other countries since it opened in Pine Grove Furnace State Park in June 2010.
Nearby is the Ironmasters Mansion which is open due to the help of the Central PA Conservancy (CPC) and over 4,800 hours of volunteer help.
The Old Mill is owned by the State Park, but has had limited use in recent years. Following the negotiation of a lease agreement that allowed the building's use for museum purposes, extensive renovations were undertaken -- mostly with the use of volunteer labor. The result is that the main floor is now up to code requirements and is in use as the Appalachian Trail Museum. Plans are in the works for future renovations, as funds become available, that will make space available on another floor.
Current exhibits include a trail shelter that was built by hiker legend Earl Shaffer. The shelter, which has been replaced with a more modern one, was painstakingly disassembled at its former site on Peters Mountain in Pennsylvania and reassembled in the new Museum. In addition, there are artifacts that belonged to other hiking pioneers such as Grandma Gatewood, Gene Espy, and Ed Garvey. In the Museum computers display the more than 12,000 photos that have been taken of thru-hikers as they reached Harpers Ferry on their journeys either north or south. There is also a children's discovery area and hiker welcoming areas both inside and outside.
So amazing, I was able to see the AT pioneers and sign in as a section hiker! I even was able to meet a few thru hikers and see where they do the halfway half gallon ice cream challenge! So much fun and is encouraging me to hike the AT in full, myself!
The Appalachian Trail Museum has been dedicated to protecting the legends and stories of the community of hikers who work to preserve and protect the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail, since its creation in 1923. The museum is located along Pennsylvania’s Pine Grove Furnace State Park. The museum itself was built over two hundred years ago, and at that time was used as a grist mill. Today it’s across from one of the most famous points of the Appalachian Trail, the Pine Grove General Store, which is traditionally the half-way mark, and where hikers stop to attempt the famous ritual of trying to eat half a gallon of ice cream in one sitting. Today the museum currently exhibits over 13,000 images of hikers who have passed though the area over the years, and they also have a trail shelter built by famous hiking legend Earl Shafer. In 1948 Shafer was the first person to hike the entire trail and has gone down in hiker glory.
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Appalachian Trail Museum
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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