Parking on the PA Appalachian Trail

Section 6 - PA Rt. 183 to Swatara Gap Displayed from North to South

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Hiker Rated
Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles Map   &  
Strausstown & Summit Station (PA 183 Trailhead)
  Poor            Great

Rt. 183     1
Take Exit 19 off I-78 and follow PA 183 north 3.2 miles to the trail crossing. There is an area to park on the left side of the road. Rotate the street view on the attached map to the west to see the parking. The southbound trail to section 6 starts up the gated road at the back of the parking area. The northbound trail to Section 5 starts from the other side of the highway. 02/13/10 1
dlcul @
There is additional nearby parking at a Gamelands parking lot. The road to that is 0.3 miles south on PA 183. See Mile 13.9 of Section 5 for details about this area. 02/13/10
dlcul @
Parking at Gamelands lot seems prudent (on right near top of drive from I78). Gate at sobo trail entrance is marked No Parking and access to 2 pulloffs (3 cars each, maybe) on 183 south is dicey at best. Take care crossing this highway. 09/22/11 5 or 6 1
rebuilts1 @
Route 501
  Poor            Great

Rt. 501 GPS N 40.51240 W 76.34433 Very scenic area. (10/20/2001) 25 1
at @
6/30/06 - 3 unattended cars vandalized at PA 501 trailhead parking lot.
jluthy @
7/7/06 or 7/8/06 - car window broken and items stolen from rear seat and trunk at PA 501 trailhead parking lot.
jluthy @
The link to the following article at was posted at The article was dated 7/10/06.
lpotteiger @
From Lancaster area: Follow all signs for PA Route 501 North. After crossing I-78, the woodlands begin. Look for the Appalachian Trail sign -Appalachian Trail Georgia to Maine N/S-. To travel northward, take the trail DIRECTLY next to the sign, not the one a few yards away. It is marked by white blazes. Our group parked a van from 11AM on Saturday to 1PM on Sunday. Everything was fine. We traveled north.
BEWARE: This trail is incredibly rocky. It is not for wusses. At times, the trail only consists of 4ft wide boulders. Expect low mileage because of the terrain.
There are a couple of campsites along the trail. One of the best ones is about 1.5 hours in on the left hand side. It has a seating area and a great campfire setup. Across from the camp site lies a rocky lookout point with a great view of the mountains and the sky. On a clear night, star constellations can be seen in their majestic beauty. 07/26/09
politickingfiend @
From I 78. Take Exit 13 off I 78. At the end of the ramp turn right on PA 501 (Lancaster Avenue). Continue 4.3 miles to the trail crossing. There is a parking area on the left (north) side of the road.
From I 81 Take Exit 104 off I-81. Turn right on Molleystown Road and follow to a T intersection. Go right on PA 125 for 3.5 miles to Pine Grove. Just north of the town PA 433 joins. Go left on PA 895( East Wood St.) for about half a mile, the go right on PA 501. Go 3.3 miles to the trail crossing. The parking area is on the left.
Rotate the street view on the attached map from north to west to see the parking. The trail south from here to PA 645 is relatively rock-free except for a quarter mile or so trail south of Kimmel Lookout. 07/02/10 1
dlcul @
It is being reported 2 cars vandalized Saturday night (9/16/2017) at the AT 501 trailhead in Pennsylvania. Windows smashed. 09/18/17 1
johnwx1 @
Frystown & Pine Grove (PA 645)
  Poor            Great

Rt. 645 GPS N40.506592 W76.376712 very scenic area 10 1
at @
From I-78: Take Exit 10 towards Frystown. At the end of the ramp go right on Camp Swatara Road (PA 645). in 4 miles go right, staying on PA 645. Continue another 0.8 miles to the trail crossing. There is parking on the west side of the road just south of the crossing.
From I-81: Take Exit 100 towards Pine Grove. Turn left on PA 443 and go east for 2.2 miles to Geary Wolfe Road (PA 645). Follow this for 2.5 miles to the trail crossing. The name of the road changes from Geary Wolfe Road to Camp Swatara Road somewhere in the vicinity of the crossing.
Rotate the street view to the southwest to see the parking. Rotate to the west to see the southbound trail. Rotate to the northeast to see the northbound trail. 02/12/10 1
dlcul @
Swatara Gap
  Poor            Great

From I81 old exit number 30, go east on Lickdale Road to Route 72 North. We believe that our AT guide book refers to this as SR1001. The AT crosses route 72. GPS: N 40.28.790 W 076.31.915 This parking is just off the shoulder of the road along route 72. Be careful crossing this road as traffic passes by rapidly. (10/17/2004) 5-6 1
at @
Hikers may want to know that the Interstate 81 bridge span that runs through the gap is under deck reconstruction.
Exit 90 from I-81. Go north on PA Hiway 72. After you pass under I-81 you enter Swatara Gap State Park. Turn left (west) on PA Hiway 443. A small parking lot is immediately on your left (south side) of road. See Mile 1.4 of Section 7 for information about this parking area. The AT goes right through the parking lot. The lot is shaded, which can be useful on hot, sunny, dry days. 10/23/07 Four to six
MalteseCross @ comcast.Net
Between 1:30 pm 10/10/2008 and morning of 10/11/2008 - car window broken & car stereo stolen at parking area on east side of Rt 72 at Swatara Creek recreational area. PA State Police were notified. 10/17/08
jluthy @
Here is an updated and more detailed version of the above directions. Take Exit 90 off I-81. Go east on Fisher Aveneue for about 0.3 miles to PA 72. Go left on that for 2.4 miles to the trail crossing. An obvious landmark is the old iron bridge which the trail crosses. This will be to the right (east) side of the highway. The green arrow on the attached marks the approximate position of the trail crossing. Roadside parking is available on the east side of PA 72. The best seems to be north of the trail crossing. Rotate the street view on the map to the north to see the parking situation along the highway. Rotate the street view to the southwest to see the southbound trail to Section 7. It climbs side hill up the bank on the west side of the highway. Rotate the street view to the southeast to see the northbound trail to Section 6. It leaves the highway between the two guardrails on the east side of the road and descends towards the Iron Bridge, which is partially visible. The bridge can clearly be seen on the satellite view of the map. 02/12/10 Several roadside 1
dlcul @
To reach the parking lot for this trailhead, use the following coordinates in Google Maps: 40.480835, -76.531552, or 148 Old State Road, Jonestown, PA 17038. DO NOT park on Route 72!!

Take exit 90 of I-81 toward Fisher Ave
Turn left onto Fisher Ave
Go 0.1 mi
Turn left onto PA-72 N
Go 0.9 mi
Turn right onto Monroe Valley Rd
1.0 mi
Turn left onto Old State Rd
Go 1.7 mi
Parking lot at end of road (148 Old State Rd
Jonestown, PA 17038)
Ignore all advice to park on the shoulders of Route 72. There are numerous signs now that say parking is prohibited within a mile on either side of the trailhead. Instead follow the directions above to reach a new parking lot on the east side of the river. 04/25/17 8 1
dneily333 @

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