Gary Zimmerman, assistant district forester at Michaux State Forest, said the attack occurred north of Tumbling Run Shelter before the trail reaches Chimney Rocks. It happened on a section of the trail north of Old Forge Road.
The woman described her assailant as a white male, 30 to 35 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds. The report said he has curly, strawberry blond, shoulder-length hair, bright blue eyes, a slight growth of reddish beard and two tattoos on his left forearm.
Police said the man was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and tan work boots.
Grove said a brief search of the area was conducted Wednesday. He said state police have been in contact with the National Park Service, which administers the Appalachian Trail.
"It's not something that happens every year," Zimmerman said of serious crimes in Michaux State Forest. He said a woman was killed and another wounded 10 years ago in an attack in the forest in Adams County, Pa.
Robert W. Gray, chief ranger at the Appalachian Trail Park Office in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., said Stephen Roy Carr was charged in the 1988 death of Rebecca White and the wounding of her companion, Claudia Brenner. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.
Gray said a double murder occurred at the Thelma Marks Shelter near Duncannon, Pa., in Perry County, Pa., in 1990. Paul David Crews is on death row for the murders of Geoffrey Hood and Molly LaRue, he said.
Gray said he could not recall any serious crime on the trail in Pennsylvania since then. He said most crimes have to do with alcohol and drug use, vandalism and thefts from cars left parked by hikers and campers.
related story: Crime on the trail is rare, but beware