Appalachian Trail Community: Greater Waynesboro Area, PA

Waynesboro and Washington Township, Pennsylvania became an official Appalachian Trail Community as the Greater Waynesboro Area during a grand ceremony at Renfrew Institute's Earth Day in April 2014. Since then, the A.T. Community Steering Committee has been hard at work - organizing new events, garnering support from the community, and planning an inaugural Appalachian Trail Festival, the first of which is set for June 20, 2015 at Red Run Park.  

Hiking north on the A.T. from Maryland across the Mason-Dixon line, you step into Washington Township, Franklin County, where the Greater Waynesboro Area's folks wait to welcome you!  With six AT access points in the Township alone, this area offers easy on/off for hikers of all sorts.

Washington Township offers eateries, banking, shopping centers, a new motel, a walk-in medical clinic, and laundromats right along the main highway PA 16. 

Thru-hikers can look forward to their choice of three post offices, the closest of which, Blue Ridge Summit, offers a "Hiker's Supply Box" with a variety of snacks, toiletries, and even duct tape!  The Girl Scout troop that sponsors this surprise service enjoys reading the hikers' entries of thankful comments.

Downtown Waynesboro (6 miles west of the A.T) holds some unique surprises with two Asian-cuisine restaurants, a variety of other dining, banking, two candy stores (Zoe's handcrafted chocolates have appeared at the 2013 Oscars and White House Correspondents' Dinner, and the 2011 Emmy Awards!), and DestinationARTS galleries.  Art for display and sale fill various storefronts, and from June through early October, al fresco music fills the air Fridays and Saturdays.  A hospital, shopping center, drug stores, motel, and a newly renovated library also line Main Street.  The Burgundy Lane B&B's proprietors cater to hikers, offering shuttle service as well as warm and personalized hospitality.  

Located in the lower Cumberland/"Great Valley" and bordered by South Mountain, the region saw its first settlers arrive in the 1700’s and is vested in rich history.   Renfrew Park and Museum displays a limestone manor house, with its barn housing the Visitor's Center.  Inside is the largest collection of Shenandoah John Bell pottery, and house tours are available in season.  The 107-acre public property offers picnicking, hiking, catch-and-release fly fishing in the East Branch of Antietam Creek, and a home for the Renfrew Institute of Cultural and Environmental Studies. Washington Township's parks include Red Run and Pine Hill Recreation Area which offer a variety of activities and events.

Gettysburg is about 30 minutes away by car.   Retreating Confederates found themselves once again fighting with the Yankees July 4-5, 1863, during a miserable midnight miasma amidst thunder, lightning, rain, and mud.  The Monterey Pass Battle interpretive center, less than a mile to the east from the Trail, marks the crossing of these troops.   Across the road lies Happel's Meadow, an unusual wetland preserve atop the mountain, with a short loop nature trail.  Both of these attractions you'll pass on the way to Blue Ridge Summit, where the library is housed in an old train station.

Waynesboro bustled in the 1800's with a variety of industries and nearby iron ore furnaces. Remains of charcoal hearths in the mountainside can be delineated along the Trail within miles of Old Forge Rd.  Architectural details on older buildings reflect the robust economy of those times.  An Industrial Museum on Philadelphia Avenue showcases the movers and shakers of that rich history.

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) is the regional stewardship club and the local segment is the North Chapter of PATC.  Not only do these folks do regular trail, shelter, and cabin maintenance, they provide support for our Community activities. 

 

Appalachian Trail Conservancy - Greater Waynesboro A.T. Community