PA Capital Region Hiking and Activity Schedule | Scheduled Trail Maintenance Events
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Resources for current and future hike leaders of the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club.

Last modified January 2013

Activity Scheduling Form
Microsoft Word 2003 version
Adobe Acrobat 7.0 version
If you want to lead a hike or an activity, fill out this form and hand it in at the Club's quarterly meeting, or within one week following the meeting.

Signup Sheet
All hikers on a Capitol Region hike must sign this sheet before they leave with the group (carpool or hike). After the hike, the leader must send the original form by U.S. mail to the club volunteer who tracks this information. Currently this volunteer is: Tara Shade, 206 Fawn Court, Marysville PA 17053-9209.

SATC Membership Link
Use the form to join SATC and receive the quarterly Bushwack Bulletin and receive other Club membership benefits.
Fort Hunter Parking Pass
Use for scheduled hikes where cars are left at Fort Hunter Park. Each person that is leaving a car behind at the Ft. Hunter parking lot will need to place a copy of the parking pass on their dashboard so that they can be seen easily.

Hike Leadership Guidelines

As you read this, it's not really as hard as it looks! With just a bit of preparation and forethought, you, too, can lead themultitudes through the wilderness.

Before the Hike

  1. Plan the hike using current maps and guidebooks. Remember that it's good to offer hikes with different lengths, pace, difficulty and terrain, including some "entry level" hikes.

  2. Describe your hike clearly and accurately on the Hike Schedule Form---Including hiking distance, pace, terrain and elevation gain. If you need a form please ask the Hike Leadership Chair or obtain it from the web site.

  3. Limit publicity to Bulletin and Capital Region Hiking Program only if you do not want the hike listed on the web site or in the newspaper. Indicate this on the Hike Schedule Form.

  4. Encourage hikers to either meet at the State Library or at the Camp Hill Shopping Center. If this is not convenient, we encourage you to have the meeting place within the "region" (encircled by Dillsburg, Carlisle, Duncannon, and Grantville). If this is not possible make sure the meeting place is in a safe area and is easy to find.

  5. Please consider 8:00 AM or later as a reasonable time to begin a hike unless it is necessary for an earlier start time due to the length of the hike, or driving time. Be sure the hike will end before darkness unless it is to be a night hike.

  6. When you receive calls about your hike, use the opportunity to ask qualifying questions of the people you do not know. Try to find out if they have hiked with the club before, how far have they hiked recently. Try to feel out whether there are any physical or medical problems that might limit their hiking ability. Explain the proper foot wear, gear, food and water that will be needed for the hike. Do not guarantee a return time.

  7. When you scout the trail, make notes on hiking time, lunch spots, parking and car shuttle. If possible, scout the trail within a week or two before the hike, so you will know of any recent changes.

  8. Prepare your gear. Include maps and guide books (if necessary), a first aid kit, compass, whistle, mirror, cell phone, food and extra water.

  9. Plan an alternate hike if weather or other circumstances warrant.

  10. Leaders of fast paced, long hikes should screen participants carefully. You might consider requiring hikers to sign up by a deadline. Publicity should exclude the time and meeting place. If you have someone who is unable to complete the hike you might think of an alternate plan.

  11. If a hike leader cannot do the hike, contact the hiking coordinator.

At the Meeting Place

  1. Arrive 15 minutes prior to the scheduled meeting time.

  2. Check your hikers for proper footwear, adequate water, and proper clothing (rain gear also). Ask about experience.

  3. Wait 5 minutes for latecomers.

  4. You are in charge. You know what the hike is like. You decide who goes or stays.

  5. Gently but firmly deny those who you feel should not hike. Give them a Bulletin and suggest an easier hike that you feel they can do. We want them to enjoy hiking and not to feel it's a death march.

  6. Distribute your extra hike schedules to the new hikers. We want new hikers back.

  7. Make sure each individual understands that he or she is responsible for his or her own safety.

  8. All hikers need to sign the waiver on the sign-up sheet. This is important to protect the club from possible exposure. All participants signing the waiver must be 18 or older. Any participant under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  9. If there is a car spot involved, make sure there are enough empty seats to complete the shuttle. Ask for volunteer drivers to set up a car pool. As a rule of thumb take half as many cars as people. Discourage a new hiker from driving.

  10. The leader should provide clear directions for the drivers.

  11. Have all drivers turn on their headlights. Keep track of the number of cars. Stop after turns, exiting interstates traffic lights, etc. for the purpose of regrouping. Please maintain the posted speed limit.

  12. Ask if anyone needs water or other equipment.

  13. The hike leader has the authority to cancel or change the hike to suit conditions (such as weather). Also, if a hike leaderfinds only one participant and is uncomfortable with the situation, he/she can cancel the hike.

  14. The Clubs' policy is to have groups no larger than 25. If more than 25 persons show up for the hike, consider forming two groups.

During the Hike

  1. At the beginning of the hike form a circle for introductions and other news and information.

  2. In a group activity, everyone is dependent on every one else. Leaders are responsible for keeping the group together; therefore stop every 20 minutes or so, for everyone to catch up. This is also your chance to make sure everyone is doing all right. Remember to be accommodating to your new and slower paced hikers.

  3. The hike leader should generally stay in front. Designate a "sweep" to stay in the rear and watch for stragglers, health concerns, etc. On longer hikes, consider designating two sweeps, one to serve for the first part of the hike and the other for the last. Both the leader and the sweep should be familiar with the route.

  4. Take a head count before the hike and during breaks.

  5. Wait at all turns or any place where there is a possibility of mistaking even an animal trail for the hiking trail. Always wait at roads and at stream crossings to make sure everyone crosses safely. It is especially important to stop where a trail enters or leaves a woods road.

  6. Arrange for periodic nature breaks. If the drive to the trailhead is a long drive, have a break early into the hike. If a hiker has an unscheduled break, have them leave their pack on the trail so the sweep will see it.

  7. Make sure everyone is drinking enough water, even in cold weather.

  8. The Clubs adhere to the leave no trace principles. Take a trash bag with you in case you see something that needs to be taken out.

Paper Work

Send in the completed hike sign-up form to the designated person listed on the form.

SATC Pet Policy

  1. No animals or pets are allowed at SATC-sponsored events in accordance with the pet policy adopted by the SATC Board in April 2009.

  2. Exception - A person who is blind or has less than 20/200 vision may be accompanied by a licensed or certified guide dog, i.e. seeing eye dog. An individual with a disability may also be accompanied by a service animal, which is defined under the federal American with Disabilities Act as:

  3. The care or supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of his or her owner and/or person being accompanied by a service animal at the SATC event.

First Aid Kit

The following is a list of suggested items in a first aid kit for hike leaders and long-distance hikers.

Shippensburg Hikes

Are you wondering where you can lead a hike? This could get you started.

SATC organized the hiking program for the 2001 Biennial Meeting of the Appalachian Trail Conference, held at Shippensburg University. Katie Barker had the monumental task of leading the hike committee and organizing the hike information into the spreadsheet you see here. Several SATC and PATC-North members on the committee compiled the data. One former SATC President was even injured in the line of duty.

The data cover 75 different hikes: on the A.T. from Weverton, MD to Swatara Gap, Lebanon County; the Tuscarora Trail from the Carlisle area to the MD line; and highlights of many other trails between the Susquehanna and Potomac Rivers, including the Link and even one on the Mid State.

Click here for an Excel spreadsheet showing each of the hikes, an abbreviated ("E" was easy, "M" moderate, and "S" strenuous) and brief description, and directions from Shippensburg to the hikes.

"Miles" is the hike length, "Drive" is the drive length from Ship., and "Run_rnd" is a driving distance 'running around' from one trailhead to the other on a point-to-point hike. "Book" is a cryptic code referring to a published guide, e.g. "50HE" refers to 50 Hikes in Eastern Pennsylvania. "Map" is another cryptic code referring to a published map.

Bear in mind the directions were current as of summer 2001 and the roads and trails may have changed since then. Exit numbers have changed. Get the book and map and scout the area before you lead a hike, E-mail the webmaster if you have questions.

Hike Codes

P-T-L Codes (Pace, Terrain and Length/Mileage)

Pace Codes

Terrain Codes


Estimated by hike/event leader

Ratings are approximate. There can be variations within each terrain category. Contact hike leader for more information.

"Our Favorite Hikes"

Some twenty years ago, one of the most eagerly awaited features of the Bushwack Bulletin was a detailed map (usually drawn by Ralph Kinter) of a favored hiking destination in the Harrisburg area.

We are pleased to provide the descriptions of the 36 "Our Favorite Hikes," but PLEASE be aware that in many cases the trails described there have been relocated or even closed.

Hence, we provide these twenty year old maps and hike descriptions for entertainment and historical purposes only.

Now that you've read all that, click here.

PA Capital Region Hiking and Activity Schedule | Scheduled Trail Maintenance Events
Home | About SATC | Nearby Trails: Map/Guide Sources | PA Camping & Fire Rules | Trail Alerts | PA Hunting Seasons
SATC Archives and History | Landscape Preservation and Conservation Issues | Links to Other Web Sites | Join SATC | Contact SATC