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5 Hikes for History Buffs

Looking for a way to squeeze in a workout and a history lesson on your next getaway? Flex your muscle memory while enjoying the timeless beauty of Cumberland Valley with these five historical hiking trails and spots.

Army Heritage Trail // The Army Heritage Trail is a one-mile, self-guided, interactive outdoor trail loop that is made special by the Huey helicopter and M-46 Patton tank stationed alongside Interstate 81. Hike, bike or walk through the trail to explore the history of the U.S. Army with full-scale exhibits from the French & Indian War era through today. Pay a visit indoors to the Visitor and Education Center and its main gallery exhibit, “The Soldier Experience,” showcasing the history of the U.S. Army from the Spanish-American War to current missions.

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail // Hike, bike or walk along the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, an 11-mile National Recreational Trail that follows the abandoned Cumberland Valley railroad corridor from Shippensburg to Newville. Be sure to follow the 13 signs along the trail; designed and built by a Dickinson College professor, each sign offers history on the region’s Civil War connections and agricultural history. After, giddy up for horseback riding on the 50 beautiful acres of nearby Winsome Farm. (Birdwatchers keep an eye out for Downy Woodpeckers, Great Horned Owls, Belted Kingfishers and more spectacular specimen!)

LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail // The LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail is perfect for groups of family or friends with its 6-foot-wide crushed stone path. Winding through deciduous trees and lowland marshes, the trail highlights the history of the South Mountain Railroad, an 1854 railroad that served on the Poughkeepsie Bridge Route and discontinued after the international financial crisis that was the Panic of 1873. Don’t miss one of the most popular limestone trout streams in the nation – directly adjacent, the LeTort Spring Run is the perfect spot for fly-fishing, as featured on the first episode of the TV series Fifty Places to Fish Before You Die!

Nature Trail at King’s Gap Environmental Center // Ideal for casual fitness pursuers, the Nature Trail is a quick and easy 0.2-mile loop on level ground. Walkers navigate through the open forest surrounding the education building at Kings Gap Environmental Center, which focuses on natural and cultural interpretation and education with self-guided interpretive trails and guided hikes of the historic area. The center also boasts a 4-mile road that winds through its 2,531 acres to an Italian villa-style stone mansion atop South Mountain. 

Pine Grove Furnace State Park // Hike, bike and camp on the grounds or fish, swim and boat on Laurel Lake. Pine Grove Furnace State Park is the midway point of the Appalachian Trail (which is considered the flattest and easiest portion of the trail) and home to the Appalachian Trail Museum. Kick off your hiking boots and take refuge in the Ironmaster’s Mansion, located in the park. Built in 1815 by Peter Ege, son of one of the first Pine Grove Furnace operators during the American Revolution and recently renovated by the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, the 28-bed, dormitory-style accommodations make the mansion the perfect spot for an overnight stay. (And check out the original iron furnace, built in 1764!)

Find more information and things to do at VisitCumberlandValley.com.

This content was originally created in partnership with Philadelphia magazine, featured on Phillymag.com in October 2016 here.

PA Inns Nearby

Stay at One of These Great Inns

Carlisle House

Carlisle
Carlisle House
Carlisle Starts Here - Downtown Carlisle Historic District

Located in the Downtown Historic Area, we are just a half-mile from Interstate 81, and three miles from Interstate 76 (the Pennsylvania Turnpike).

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 1.6mi

Pheasant Field Bed & Breakfast

Carlisle
Pheasant Field
Experience Genuine Hospitality

Enjoy the peace and quiet of a country setting - and the convenience of a short 4 mile drive to downtown Carlisle.  Eight beautifully appointed guestrooms range from standard to luxurious.  All

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 2.2mi

Fallen Tree Farm Bed and Breakfast

Carlisle
Fallen Tree Farm
A Luxurious Retreat in a Historical Setting.

A luxurious Retreat in a historical setting, Fallen Tree Farm is both family and pet friendly. Offering the peace and quiet of the country only 5 minutes from Carlisle.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 3mi

Red Cardinal Bed and Breakfast

Carlisle
Red Cardinal
A little corner of heaven in Pennsylvania

We invite you to come and visit us in this quiet setting where life is not so hurried.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 4.2mi

30 Timber Road Bed & Breakfast

Mechanicsburg
30 Timber Road Mechanicsburg PA
Offering gracious hospitality in a serene, secluded setting.

Reserve your room at our bed and breakfast on 14 acres of quiet woodlands. Three suites offer king size beds, ensuite baths, whirlpool tub and towel warmers, full breakfast served at your convenience.

Average Rate: 
$200 - $299
Distance: 4.3mi

The Manor on Front

Harrisburg
The Manor on Front
Capital city charm and spectacular river views!

Surrounded by a wide array of 20th century mansions, The Manor on Front campus consists of two newly renovated mansions that showcase period details and a tailored, elegant interior.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 14.6mi

Olde McMillen Homestead B&B

Loysville
Olde McMillen Homestead
A Romantic Getaway in the Country

Looking for a getaway for just the two of you? Relax, unwind and enjoy the coziness of our B&B cottage. Snuggle up to the electric fireplace or sit on the porch overlooking the farm pond.

Average Rate: 
Under $100
Distance: 17.7mi

Fulling Mill Inn

Middletown
Fulling Mill Inn
Victorian farmhouse with a touch of modern near Hershey

Enjoy the peaceful serenity and picturesque country surroundings, the perfect place to rest and unwind.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 19.4mi

Sweet Arrow Inn

Hummelstown
Sweet Arrow Inn
Quaint Victorian Inn near Hershey

Beautiful Victorian Inn decorated with antique furniture and heirlooms that define its historical charm. Offers four rooms with private baths named after our favorite flowers.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 23.8mi

The Inn at Herr Ridge

Gettysburg
Where Gettysburg History meets Hospitality

Enjoy the romance and modern comfort in this 1815 country inn.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 25.7mi

James Gettys Hotel

Gettysburg
James Gettys
An Elegant, Award-winning Historic Downtown Gettysburg Inn

The innkeepers of the James Gettys Hotel, in Gettysburg, PA, invite you to stay in their historic hotel. At this unique bed and breakfast, guests enjoy a lodging experience unlike any other.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 26.2mi

The Inn at Westwynd Farm

Hummelstown
Westwynd Farm
Luxurious Bed and Breakfast Near the Sweetest Place on Earth

The Inn at Westwynd Farm invites you to step into a world of casual elegance and relaxation in Hershey, PA.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 27.4mi

Juniata Valley Winery Wilson House Bed & Breakfast

Mifflin
Wilson House Bed & Breakfast
Indulge: Charming Historic Country Manor House

Juniata Valley Winery Wilson House Bed & Breakfast, a 19th century country manor home, speaks both elegance and comfort, a place to be pampered and to relax.  Sleep in one of our five comfo

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 27.9mi

Amanda Gish House Bed & Breakfast

Elizabethtown
Amanda Gish House
Antique filled Victorian B&B

Located near quaint Elizabethtown PA where antique shops, good restaurants, arts and entertainment are all within walking distance or a short drive. After a long day of antiquing or sightseeing, enjoy a nightcap at bedtime before you climb under the luxury linens, on feather beds in an air-conditioned guest room.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 29.4mi

1825 Inn Bed and Breakfast

Palmyra
1825 Inn
Enjoy "down home" Hospitality near Hershey!

1825 Inn Bed and Breakfast is located just three miles from Hershey PA, the Sweetest Place on Earth!

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 30mi

Battlefield Bed & Breakfast

Gettysburg
Historic 1809 Civil War Farmhouse
Gettysburg's Destination Inn Welcomes History Enthusiast!

Stay in an original 1809 Civil War home on the Gettysburg Battlefield. Located behind Big Round Top, enjoy walking or hiking our beautiful 30-acre nature preserve.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 30.3mi

The Historic Fairfield Inn

Fairfield
The Historic Fairfield Inn
One of America's Oldest Inns

Built in 1757, the Inn has hosted many luminaries from Patrick Henry to Thaddeus Stevens to Mamie Eisenhower and actress Jean Stapleton.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 31mi

The Londonderry Inn

Palmyra
The Londonderry Inn
Come In and Stay a while at this luxurious and elegant B&B!

A beautifully restored, prestigious rated, pre-Civil War 1840’s home located near Hershey, Pennsylvania, The Sweetest Place On Earth®.

Average Rate: 
$200 - $299
Distance: 31.1mi

Susquehanna Manor Inn Bed & Breakfast

Marietta
Susquehanna Manor
A romantic oasis awaits in Lancaster County!

Experience a magical romantic stay at our spectacular Victorian Mansion. Each of our four suites are romantically decorated offering full private baths with claw foot tubs and showers.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 32.8mi

B.F. Hiestand House

Marietta
B.F. Hiestand House
Relaxed Elegance in Lancaster County

Understated charm combines with relaxed elegance at the B.F. Hiestand House, beckoning guests to the historic river town of Marietta for the ultimate Victorian Bed & Breakfast experience.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 34.4mi