The history of the Horse-Shoe Trail is closely related to the development of the iron industry in this part of Pennsylvania during the 18th and 19th centuries. The many furnaces and forges were connected by trails leading through the charcoal forests between them. Portions of these trails have survived to become today’s Horse-Shoe Trail.
Today, the Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy seeks to protect, preserve and maintain the Trail for hikers and equestrians now and for generations to come. It actively seeks legal protection for the Trail through rights-of-way and conservation easements.
Founded in 1935, the Trail is 140 miles in length starting at Valley Forge Park and ending at the Appalachian Trail on Stony Mountain, north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The all volunteer board of directors along with local hiking clubs and individuals maintains the trail for equestrians and hikers. Biking is at the discretion of the landowner.