Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
103.00 ft (31.39 m)
Trail type
1.30 mi (2.09 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Adventurers arriving at Caledonia State Park, in south central Pennsylvania, via Route 30, will find a parking lot alongside the historic road. Route 30, also known as The Lincoln Highway, was America’s first coast-to-coast highway. When a new paved section of the highway was completed in Pennsylvania, from Gettysburg to Chambersburg, one of the largest celebrations for the opening of a paved section was held here at Caledonia Forest Reserve Park on October 4, 1921.

Referred to as, The Good Roads Jubilee Pageant, an estimated 30,000 people joined the celebration. Two local colleges, Gettysburg and Wilson, even cancelled classes to allow students to be part of the historic event. Over 6,000 automobiles joined what was called the world’s longest parade showing the evolution of transportation. One noteworthy vehicle in the parade was George Washington’s coach from Valley Forge.

Today, Caledonia State Park is a 1,125-acre scenic, woodland park in Adams and Franklin counties. The park is named for the Vermont home county of Thaddeus Stevens.

Stevens was one of the most powerful legislators of the Civil War era. Championing abolition of slavery, citizenship, due process and the right to vote, he was called, “the Great Commoner.”

From the parking lot, the trail that bears his name branches in two directions. Hikers can cross the park road, walk over a small bridge, past a blacksmith shop museum and venture across a grassy field to a small log shelter called, “Dock Memorial.” This is part of the National Scenic Appalachian Trail and the starting point for the Thaddeus Stevens Historic Trail.

Returning to the parking lot, the other section of the trail passes a monument for the Caledonia Iron Furnace and passes along a hand-dug race that once supplied water for the furnace operation. The trail then leads into the forest, crosses the park road, goes around a hand-dug furnace dam, through more woodland and ends at the header dam. Here, locks regulated the water flow into the race.

Once part of a busy iron community, the trail offers a pleasant, rural hike with an interesting historic element.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Interesting historical sights. Pleasant park and woodlands hike.


Parking area is mid-trail.

Trailhead Elevation

938.00 ft (285.90 m)

Highest point

1,002.00 ft (305.41 m)


Near lake or river
Historically significant
Family friendly

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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