Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Appalachian Trail Access: Harrisburg, PA

Harrisburg, PA is near two access points to the Appalachian Trail. Harrisburg is also served by both Amtrack and Greyhound; both use the same facility downtown. Capitol Area Transit (CAT) runs two routes of interest to Appalachian Trail section hikers. The CAT Market Square Transfer Center is across the street from the Amtrack station/Greyhound depot, about 1 block west.

Route 23 serves the Duncannon area, actually the park-and-ride parking lot across the river about 1 mile away. The problem for Appalachian Trail section hikers is this bus runs only twice each work day (Monday - Friday). The first runs is at 6:45 a.m. inbound to Harrisburg and the second is at 4:05 p.m.outbound to Duncannon and arriving at 6:20 p.m.. Compared to expensive private shuttles, the price is right at about $2.85.

Route C to the Carlisle area crosses the Appalachian Trail to the West of Harrisburg. The Route C bus is the more frequent with about 10 inbound buses daily to Harrisburg. The first at 6:01 a.m. and the last at 6:08 p.m..  Outbound buses from Harrisburg start at 5:30 a.m. and the last is at 5:30 p.m.. Fare is currently $2.85. There are two later express buses that stop at the I-81 interchange and require some backtracking to access the Appalachian Trail. The local Route C bus also passes a WalMart Supercenter and a K-Mart inbound to Harrisburg.

The ATC's Boiling Springs Appalachian Trail Information Center is located south of the Route C trail access point. White gas and denatured alcohol stove fuels are also available for a small donation. Hours are  8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays. Contact: (717) 258-5771; 


  1. Actually, the Market Square Square Transfer Center is NOT across the street from Amtrak/Greyhound. It is approx. 2 1/2 blocks down Market Street and on the same side of the street.

  2. >"Actually, the Market Square Square Transfer Center is NOT across the street from Amtrak/Greyhound."

    I'm not one to quible regarding exact locations, so we'll let the readership decide.

    The transit bus dropped me off at a grassy park which was right across a brick street/driveway from the Amtrack/Greyhound station. There were dozens of buses interchanging passengers. I made a turn east and walked to the brick street/driveway and then up the hill to the main entrance of the station. That distance might equate to 2-1/2 blocks. Regardless, it is a very short distance, even with blistered feet as I had that day.

  3. i'm confused about the rte.23 outbound leaving 4:05 and arriving 6:20-does it take that long and the fare is $2.85?

  4. I'd don't live in the area and recommend contacting CAT. Their current PDF shows Clarks Landing (stop 8) being in zone 2, so the fare should be $2.05. The PDF also shows all the stops between downtown and the estimated time of arrival.


    I didn't get to take this bus on my section hike as I was delayed arriving in Harrisburg and dropped my flip-flop from Duncannon to Carlisle. I'm thinking a future section will be DWG south to Carlisle.