Adventures in the Area

See below for DCOC favorites or check this out a complete guide to Perry and Cumberland Counties!

Click here for another great list of hikes around Carlisle on


Check out the Biking @ Dickinson blog for bike routes.


Pole Steeple, Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA (30 minutes from campus): One of the most popular Outing Club hikes, this trail is a 1.2 miles out and back hike that leads up to a spectacular lookout of the valley. The trail is meandering and can be steep in some areas. It takes about 40 minutes to hike to the top. The trailhead is located off of the main road through Pine Grove. Take the left at the sign for Pine Grove and follow it until you reach a gravel parking lot on your right.

Sunset Rocks, near Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA (30 minutes from campus): Another favorite Outing Club hike, this trail is a 7.8-mile loop that includes a beautiful lookout over the valley. There is an option to do a shorter section of the trail that takes you straight to the lookout in about 1 mile. The trailhead for the shorter section is located off of Pine Grove Road. Once you’ve turned right onto Pine Grove Road, take a right onto Old Shippensburg Road and drive until you reach the end of the road (it will turn into a gravel road). There is a small parking lot at the end. From there, you can choose to hike straight to the lookout or do the full loop.

Whiskey Springs, in between Boiling Springs and Mount Holly Springs, PA (25 minutes from campus): This is a beautiful section of the Appalachian Trail. There is a pull-off on the road for parking. You can hike north or south on the trail. North is on the left side of the road and South is on the right side of the road. The southern route is more scenic especially during the late fall when the leaves have fallen. It is a meandering up and down hike through boulder fields and forests. The hike can be as long or as short as you want.

King’s Gap (30 minutes from campus): King’s Gap in Carlisle, PA offers 16 miles of hiking trails. Hikes can range from 30 minutes to all day. The Buck Ridge Trail goes to Pine Grove Furnace- this hike is 12 miles round trip and the longest trail offered in the park. This is also a great place to watch the sunset!

White Rocks Trail, Boiling Springs, PA (25 minutes from campus): This is a 2.5-mile out and back trail that features lots of fun rock scrambles at the top of the ridge. Head here on a sunny day for some beautiful views and a great place to hammock. The trailhead is located off of Kuhn Road.

Michaux State Park (45 minutes from campus): Lots of different trails.

Old Rag, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: The Old Rag Mountain hike in the Shenandoah National Park is one of the most popular hikes in the mid-Atlantic region. With many spectacular panoramic views and one of the most challenging rock scrambles in the park, this circuit hike is a favorite of many hikers. There can often be crowds, so the best way to enjoy this trail to be at the trailhead at 7am. 5.5-hour hike, 2,510 ft elevation gain.

Tumbling Run, Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA (45 minutes from campus): This trail is a pull off of the main road through Pine Grove Furnace; it is about 10 minutes after you pass the lake. It is a two-hour hike next to (or in if you so choose) a stream running down the mountain. There is one stream crossing at the beginning. There are a lot of trails that all lead to the rock outcropping at the top, so do not be alarmed if you think you keep changing trails. There are a few rock scrambles at the top which can be difficult when wet or icy. There is a beautiful view of the valley from the top as well as a little cave to climb in (try to find it!)

Ricketts Glen State Park (2.5 hours from campus): Ricketts Glen harbors Glens Natural Area, a National Natural Landmark. Take the Falls Trail and explore the Glens which boast a series of wild, free-flowing waterfalls, each cascading through rock-strewn clefts in this ancient hillside. The 94-foot Ganoga Falls is the highest of the 22 named waterfalls. Car camping is available.

Delaware Water Gap (2.5 hours from campus): Awesome backpacking. Shelters along the way.


Conodoguinet Creek (5 minutes from campus): Drive to North Middleton Park where you can put in your boats. If you paddle upstream for an hour at a slow pace, you will reach a dam and a rope swing.

Susquehanna River (range of distances): This is the large river that flows down to the Chesapeake. There are outfitters along the river that will rent equipment. One outfitter we have used is Paddle Happy. There are islands in the middle of the river with camping.

Fuller and Laurel lake: These two lakes are next to each other in Pine Grove Furnace State Park. You can paddle on both.


Purgatory (45 minutes from campus): Bouldering for all levels. The approach is about 15 minutes.

Whiskey Springs (25 minutes from campus): Bouldering for all levels. The approach is about seven minutes on the Appalachian Trail heading south.

Shafer’s Rock (50 minutes from campus): This is the best top-roping in the area. All level climbers will find something to work on. There are bolts at the top of some routes. There is some bouldering and hiking as well. The approach is 5-10 minutes.

Walnut Bottom Road: Bouldering

Cave along the Conodoguinet: There is some bouldering here and a fun cave to investigate.

Cooper’s Rock, West Virginia:

Climbnasium: This is the local rock gym. Fun top-roping and bouldering at a decent price. Half price on Fridays.


King’s Gap: King’s Gap offers group car camping areas with platforms, picnic tables, and a fire ring. A site is $39/night for PA residents and $51/night for out of state residents.

Purgatory: Free camping near hiking trails and bouldering!

Pine Grove Furnace State Park Group Camp Sites (25 minutes from campus): In a grassy field with some trees. Bathroom facilities are available. Group campsites are about $25.

Caledonia State Park (45 minutes from campus): Swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking.

Gifford Pinchot State Park (35 minutes from campus): Swimming, boating, and hiking.

World’s End State Park (2.5 hours from campus)

Rickets Glen State Park (3 hours from campus): Gorgeous waterfalls and cooler weather.

XC Skiing

Laurel Heights

Mountain Biking:

Raystown Lake (2 hours from campus): Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake contains 36 miles of single-track mountain biking trails for all skill levels and a mountain bike skills park. The 24 trails in the system were designed and built to provide sustainable trails for a variety of human uses including mountain biking, hiking, trail running, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The trails are arranged as stacked loops, giving the user the opportunity to plan a route as short or as long as they would like.