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Hike 41: Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest


This route (7.7 miles, 2200' ascent) follows a sometimes steep, rocky ascent to the Tuscarora/Massanutten Trails ridge-top hike. From 1836 to 1888, the Elizabeth Furnace harnessed water power from Passage Creek to create pig iron. Iron ore was mined nearby, purified in the furnace, and then pig iron was transported over the Massanutten Mountain to South Fork of the Shenandoah River for forging in Harpers Ferry, WV. Today, the Massanutten Trail (road) once used to transport this iron is used by hikers to ascend to the top of Massanutten Mountain. Much of the original stone structure of the furnace still exists, as well as a restored cabin, and an outdoor recreation area. Also check out short Interpretive Trails. Parking is available at the Elizabeth Furnace day-use picnic grounds. Find more information about the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest at: Established in the 1960s as an alternate route for the Appalachian Trail, the Tuscarora Trail is a 250-mile trail that passes through the Ridge and Valley Appalachians of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Learn more at: The yellow highlight is used to illustrate the recommended route. Leaving right “exit” road from parking lot, look for blue/orange tree blazes toward the right. Follow the Tuscarora (blue blaze)/Massanutten (orange blaze) Trails. Pass a pavilion on the left across the meadow to the post. Turn left at the “T” when the interpretive trail goes right, passing several unblazed trails. Cross the bridge and go right at the junction when Shawl Gap the Trail (yellow) goes straight and Buzzard Rocks Trail (white) goes left. Turn right at the junction onto pink-blazed Sherman Gap Trail when Tuscarora/Massanutten Trails continue straight. Turn right at the junction onto white-blazed Botts Trail when Sherman Gap Trail goes left. Follow Passage Creek and go right at junction (following sign) when unblazed trail continues. Pass an unblazed trail on the left to return to parking. Optionally, take the 0.25-mile self-guided, interpretive Pig Iron Trail loop. Signs describe the furnace community and the 19th century pig iron industry, while the trail passes the remains of Elizabeth Furnace. Optionally, take the half-mile self-guided Charcoal Interpretive Trail. Signs describe charcoaling, the lives of the workers and the impact to the forestry industry, as a companion to the pig iron industry. Through volunteer efforts, education and advocacy, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) maintains and protects a section of the Appalachian Trail, in addition to the Tuscarora and other nearby trails and trail lands, in the Mid-Atlantic region for the enjoyment of present and future hikers. Visit to learn more about our mission and find volunteer opportunities. PATC expressly disclaims responsibility for the condition or location of trails, features, or facilities shown on this map, or for occurrences on them, at any time whatsoever. Reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this map, but users are requested to report map corrections and trail information to This map was originally published as part of a printed guidebook, comprised of 70 numbered hikes, crafted for the 2015 ATC Biennial Conference.

Price: $ 0.99 USD

Vendor: Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Inc.

Category: Trails

Activities: Hiking

Published: 2015-July

Language: English

Size: 14.3 MB

See all maps by Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Inc.

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