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Windsor Furnace to the Pinnacles, Pennsylvania
The hike: The trail between Windsor Furnace and the Pinnacles in southeastern Pennsylvania is one of the most interesting stretches of the Appalachian Trail, which says a lot. Travelers begin the 10.2-mile round-trip hike at an old pig-iron works—an iron Last Supper was manufactured here in the nineteenth century, along with stoves, and the factory shrapnel is still underfoot. At the other end, the jumbled Pinnacles lead hikers 1,635 feet above the Pennsylvania countryside for views that just may inspire you to undertake the whole 2,178-mile AT.
Peak experience: The 40,000-year-old Blue Rocks boulder field (pictured), where the rocks seem to glow cobalt from the unusual amounts of quartzite and other minerals.
Base camp: Tent site 119, 120, or 160 at the Blue Rocks Campground; all three are right next to the boulder field and a few steps from the trail (tent sites from $28).
When to go: Early summer, when you'll have the friendly company and interesting stories of AT thru-hikers passing by here on their way to Georgia.
Photo: Courtesy Matt Jones