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The Appalachian Trail follows ridges of mountains east of the Alleghenies to the Susquehanna River in a long section of Trail notorious for its foot-bruising, boot-destroying rocks. The Trail north of the Susquehanna is characterized by long, flat, rocky ridges broken by fairly strenuous climbs in and out of gaps. About ten miles south of the Susquehanna River, the Trail crosses the Great Valley of the Appalachians to the Blue Ridge. This southern portion of the Trail through Pennsylvania has many sections that are gentle, and grades are easy, making it one of the easiest sections of the Trail.
Pennsylvania can be oppressively hot in summer, and water may be scarce. The Trail crosses many roads, and some shelters are near roads, where scattered crime problems make extra safety awareness a good idea.