5.4 Miles / 8.7 km
Time to Hike:
2 hours, ~42 minutes
Surface Type:
Michaux State Forest
South Mountain, Pennsylvania
39.827699, -77.502405
March 11, 2018
April 17, 2023
236 '

Total Change
569 '

569 '


The Chimney Rocks Trail at Michaux State Forest in South Mountain, Pennsylvania is a moderate 5.4 out-and-back hike that leads out to the summit of Snowy Mountain and the vista point Chimney Rocks (aka Buzzard Peak).

The trail begins at the yellow gate along Biesecker Gap Rd (on google maps) / Snowy Mountain Tower Road (on opentopo maps) and follows the road until reaching the spur trail for Chimney Rocks/Buzzard Peak, 2.5 miles from the trailhead. Parking can be found just in front of the gate, but do not block it.

The trail slowly ascends the summit of Snowy Mountain, which is about a half-mile into the hike. The summit of Snowy Mountain does not have much other than a fire tower and some radio towers, but there are great views from the trail just below the summit.

Continuing on from Snowy Mountain, the trail passes through mostly deciduous forests and some small patches of conifers. There are off-shoots along this trail, so just stay on the main road-like trail.

Eventually you'll reach a gas pipeline crossing - this your 2/3 marker for getting to Chimney Rocks. From here you'll hike uphill and then down a long slope before the trail finally reaches a trail junction with a wooden sign labeled 'Chimney Rocks Lookout'. Take this short blue-blazed spur trail all the way to Chimney Rocks, or Buzzard Peak. The Appalachian Trail also crosses this spur trail about half-way through, but there are signs for it so it should not be confusing.

At Chimeny Rocks, you get views of the surrounding mountain sides of Michaux State Forest. The rock formation also has a massive cave in the middle, so watch your step while climbing the rocks.

The hike out is much more difficult as you'll have two main ascents before reaching Snowy Mountain again, but it's not too bad. Plan to bring plenty of water as there are no creeks or streams to filter water along this trail.

Road conditions: Please note that most of Michaux State Forest, including this trailhead, are on dirt roads. Most of Michaux's roads are well maintained, but there is little-to-no cell service so offline road maps are helpful here.

Explore 7 trails near South Mountain, PA
  1. Parking

    39.827699, -77.502405
  2. Main Trailhead

    39.827699, -77.502405
  3. Vista facing south near the fire tower

    39.833319, -77.496475
    Vista facing south near the fire tower
  4. Snowy Mountain fire tower

    39.834214, -77.495422
    Snowy Mountain fire tower
  5. Snowy Mountain Summit

    39.834008, -77.495681
    Snowy Mountain Summit
  6. Pipeline

    39.827092, -77.482933
  7. Chimney Rocks Spur Trail

    39.820419, -77.474808
    Chimney Rocks Spur Trail
  8. Just below Chimney Rocks

    39.819267, -77.471969
    Just below Chimney Rocks
  9. Chimney Rocks view

    39.818972, -77.471022
    Chimney Rocks view
  10. Chimney Rocks view

    39.818947, -77.471153
    Chimney Rocks view
  11. Chimney Rocks view with porcupine in tree

    39.819064, -77.470969
    Chimney Rocks view with porcupine in tree
Explore other routes for this Trail guide, added by the MyHikes' community via Trip Reports. To add your own hike as a Community Route for this Trail guide, leave a Trip Report with an attached GPX file.


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3 Trip Reports

No Star-Ratings
Write-up by:
Admin user profile picture
5.4 miles / 8.7 km
Trail added
March 11, 2018
Hiked on
March 09, 2018
Updated on
April 17, 2023
4.5 miles / 7.2 km
January 04, 2024
The loop I did includes even more (shorter but more elevation too), so definitely recommend! Awesome hike with all you could ask for, including the best view in all of Michaux State Forest (way more impressive in person than pics show)! Trails in great shape, AT nice as always, Hermitage peaceful with stream to follow, Shaffer Rocks truly impressive from both above & below! Parked at the small AT day-use lot off the main road, then counter-clockwise (up AT gradual climb, down Chimney Rocks Trail with forest road/old grade, then after short side trail to Shaffer Rocks, back down Hermitage to junction at Tumbling Run shelters.
0 miles / 0 km
March 24, 2019
Trail is strenuous but worth the effort

Weather Forecast

In South Mountain, PA

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