1.1 (March 2008): Lick Run: The Best Hike 10 Minutes
Lick Run is a great short hike (4
miles out & back/2 hours round trip) that is close to campus. To
get there from LHU, go east on Water
Street to the Jay Street
Bridge (across from
the courthouse). Turn left onto the bridge, and then left onto the Farrandsville
Road. Follow the road for 6.6
miles. At 3.3 miles (Queens Run) you need to turn left to stay on Farrandsville
Rd. At 5.2 miles, the road will bear
right and cross the railroad tracks, entering the town of Farrandsville.
Note the Farrandsville iron furnace at 5.5 miles. The
last 100 yards of the road are gravel, as you enter State Game Land
89. At 6.6 miles you'll reach the stream (the road continues but is
usually gated at the bridge) Park your
vehicle in the parking lot to the right.
The gated trail is to the left of the road and follows the stream for two
miles through thickets of rhododendron and forests of old hemlocks and
tulip poplars. Just a few yards up the trail on the left is a stone fireplace that was probably used by the Farrandsville Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp
that was in this area from 1933-41. At 1/2 mile (10 minutes), the Donut Hole
Trail (orange blazes) leaves the Lick Run trail on the left and
continues for about 80 miles to Jericho,
PA (keep following the trail
to the right). Lick Run is classified as a Wilderness Trout Water,
and on any given day, you might see turkeys, grouse, or deer. At the
end of the trail there is a rock chair (probably built by the CCC). Before
you head back to campus, relax by the stream, which has been designated a Pennsylvania
Wild & Scenic River. Although the trail is flat and not especially
difficult, it is often muddy, so you might want to wear hiking boots.
Also, since this is state game land, you should pay attention to hunting seasons and
wear bright orange when appropriate.
1.2 (April 2008): Where Your Water Comes From
Jim Dodge, Lynn Milliman and Victoria Stockley have developed a quiz to evaluate your sense
of place. Titled "Where
You At? A Bioregional Quiz," it asks a series of questions about
the environment in which you live. The first question is: "Trace
the water you drink from precipitation to tap." To help you get
started answering this question, you might take the following hike.
From the Clinton County
Courthouse (Water & Jay streets), turn right onto Jay Street. Go .7
miles and turn left onto 220 North (Williamsport).
Go 4.5 miles to the next exit (McElhattan), and
at the bottom of the ramp turn right. Continue 1.2 miles on Reservoir Road,
which becomes a fairly rough gravel road after the first half mile.
When your reach a red gate, park your car. Go through the gate (it's
legal) and follow the gravel road.
You'll pass a second red gate, and,
after about .4 miles (8 minutes), you'll see some white buildings to the
left. This is Zindel Park,
a true oddity. In the late 1920s, the City of Lock Haven constructed the small
reservoir and the house, which was occupied by water officials. Next
to the reservoir is a shrine, which contains lava from the Mount Etna volcano. After you've explored Zindel
Park, return to the
gravel road and continue up it for five minutes until you reach the dam of
Keller Reservoir. Lock Haven's water supply is stored in this
reservoir and in McElhattan Reservoir, which is
3.5 miles up McElhattan Creek. If you
continue to follow the road to the left, it crosses the creek (depending on
water level you might get your feet wet), and then runs beside the
reservoir, offering great views. When you've reached the end of the
reservoir, you've hiked about 1.25 miles--you can return to your vehicle or
continue to explore the trails upstream from the reservoir.
Hemlock 1.3 (May 2008): Paddling
Fishing Creek (D. J. Scott)
a great local canoe and kayak run, check out Fishing Creek. The creek
itself runs through Mill Hall, Lock Haven, and Castanea,
but you spend the majority of this two-hour trip in peaceful wilderness
seclusion. You will most definitely enjoy yourself as you see this
area from a perspective that most people never get to experience.
The put-in spot is the
Ax Factory Dam at the Mill
Port off Route 64
(from Walmart, turn right onto 150 South/Hogan
Blvd. Go .3 miles and, after crossing the bridge, turn left onto 64
South. Go 1.4 miles and turn left onto Nittany Valley Drive).
The take-out (where you'll want to leave your other vehicle) is the PA Fish
and Boat Launch Ramp in Castanea (Take the Castanea/LHU exit from 220 North; at the bottom of the
ramp turn right towards Castanea; take the first
right, and then the first right onto the gravel road that leads to the
After the put-in at
Mill Hall, you go through a small boulder garden, which is a great place to
work on catching eddies. Then you pass through the heart of Mill
Hall. You almost always gets some raised eyebrows
from passing cars. As you continue, be aware of two trouble
spots. The area directly after the country club has a tree on river
left which isnít very friendly. To avoid it, go under the right
bridge abutment. The other area of concern comes after the confluence
of Fishing Creek with Bald Eagle Creek-- a series of small islands that are
little more then patches of driftwood and small trees. They look
really nice, but they end up making a maze with plenty of strainer-filled
dead-ends. From personal experience, be safe and stay towards the
middle of the creek.
Spring is best time to
go, or right after a hard rain, because Fishing Creek is fairly
shallow. For a quick reference, check the water level at the old
bridge pier across from the car dealership on Rt
64. The water should be at either covering the pier or just under
it. Also, as the name suggests, the creek is a very popular trout
stream, so remember to share the waters and respect other users.
2.1 (September 2008): State Game Land 295
To see the hemlocks described in
Professor Overton's article, try the following 10 mile hike (4-5
hours). First, download the map
of SGL 295. Go to LHU's Sieg
which is 14 miles from campus (directions).
Do not turn into Sieg; instead continue on Narrows Road
for two tenths of a mile until you reach the bridge over Cherry Run.
Park in the lot on the left and follow the red blazes to the main
trail--you will cross two (slippery!) wooden bridges before reaching the
trail, where you turn left (note the red arrow sign) and begin following
Cherry Run northeast. After 4.5 miles (about 2 hours), you will reach
a gravel road (Cherry Run Road).
Turn right and follow the gravel road south for 1/2 mile. The road
continues southwest along Bear Run for 4.5 miles, gradually becoming a
trail, before it connects again to Narrows Road. Turn right on Narrows Road
and a half mile later, you will be back at your car.
This is a beautiful hike
that is not terribly difficult. Most of it is level, and, with the
exception of a few muddy and rocky areas, the trail is smooth. The
hemlocks on the return leg down Bear Run seem to be the most damaged by the
wooly adelgid. You can see trout in the
small pools of Bear Run. (My thanks to my hiking partners who helped me
investigate this trail--Mark, Lisette, John, Sue,
Elizabeth, and Max.)
Hemlock 2.2 (Oct 2008): The Eagleton Mine Camp Trail (Robert G. Zakula)
If you're interested in hiking the
EMCT, first download the maps of the Sproul
State Forest and Eagleton Mine
Camp Trail. To get to the EMCT trailhead, take Route 120 west
from Lock Haven for about 7 miles. Look for a large wooden sign
displaying Eagleton Mine Camp Trail and turn left onto Eagleton Road. Follow this
unpaved logging road for a little over 2 miles to the eastern trailhead;
there is a large gravel parking lot on the right near a set of power
lines. Little Buckhorn Trail, .4 miles west of the parking area on
Eagleton Road, is highly recommended for its challenging climbs,
unparalleled ridgelines, and multiple stream crossings. To reach the
western trailhead, follow Eagleton
Road west for roughly 3 milesóthe gravel
parking lot will be on the left.
Hemlock 2.3 (November 2008): Bald Eagle Mountain
This hike is a
strenuous climb (1000 feet in a little less than a mile), but the view at
the top is well worth it. The hike follows a powerline
straight up the mountain, and the path is badly eroded and covered with
rocks, so hiking boots are strongly recommended.
From campus, go east on Water Street to
(the courthouse) and turn right. Follow Jay Street/PA-120 for 1 mile,
crossing over Bald Eagle Creek into Castanea
(Latin for "chestnut," presumably because of the many chestnut
trees in the area). The road becomes Jarrett Avenue; continue to the end
(yellow arrow sign) and turn right. The gravel road leading to the powerline is on the right--you can park there or along Jarrett Avenue.
The climb is steep with several
false peaks. Depending upon your speed and the number of breaks you
take, it should take you about 30 minutes to get up. Once you reach
the top of the powerline, stop and enjoy the
view. To the north is Castanea and the city
of Lock Haven
(the university is visible to the far left). This is an excellent
vantage point to appreciate the remarkable geology of this area. You
are standing on the westernmost ridge of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Province
that runs from Georgia
Stretching away to the north, you can see the rolling hills and narrow
valleys of the Appalachian Plateau, a completely different mountain
formation. The Susquehanna River
curves toward Renova (northwest),
and Jersey Shore/Williamsport (east). Behind you, to the south, is
the second fold of Bald Eagle Mountain. In the valley below is Harveys Run; just beyond the second fold is the Lock
Haven exit of Interstate 80, which cuts south through a gap in Nittany Mountain (the next ridge of the
Appalachians). To the east Bald Eagle Mountain continues past the gap
cut by Harvey's
Run. These mountains were formed 250 million years ago when Africa
collided with North America (imagine pushing on a carpet--the folds are the
Appalachian mountains). As bizarre
as it seems, my colleagues in geology tell me that the top of Bald Eagle
Mountain is actually the base of the Nittany
Anticline, a now-eroded mountain that rose an additional 10,000 feet above
where you are standing.
If you follow the trail to
the right, you will shortly reach the peak (1705 feet above sea
level). There isn't much of a view from here, but you can feel good
about having reached the top of one of the highest mountains in this
area. Return the way you came, stopping frequently to enjoy the
different views as you come down. Thanks to Mark Smith for telling me
about this hike, to Khaleq for help with the
geology, and to my wife, Elizabeth,
for accompanying me on a windy Tuesday to take the pictures.
Hemlock 2.4 (December
2008):Staying on Campus
[Note (9/30/10): This hike has
become complicated by logging on the private land at the top of the
mountain.† It's still possible to
hike in the area, but it will require some improvising.† --Bob Myers]
hike involves absolutely no driving whatsoever, and provides some good
views of our campus. The total distance is 1.69 miles, and since
there are some moderate climbs, it takes approximately 40 minutes to cover
it. The hike begins in front of Akeley. Head towards Zimmerli, following the fence of the lacrosse/field
hockey field. Go up the stairs to the left of Zimmerli;
when you reach the parking lot at the top turn left and climb the stairs
into the woods.
part of the hike follows the ridge north of the lacrosse/field hockey,
softball, and football fields. Almost immediately, you'll see a
tribute to Cale Schaffer, a Recreation major who graduated in 1996 and died in 2000 in a tragic
helicopter crash while on a search-and-rescue mission in Denali, Alaska.
As the trail gradually ascends up the hill, you'll pass the Challenge
Course that is used by the Recreation Management Department (stay off the
equipment). Keep following the trail until you reach stairs that
descend to the football stadium. Follow the fence of the stadium and
go to the right of the Tomlinson
Directly behind this building is a trail that cuts through the woods to the
left (it's just behind a small mulch pile).
The next section of the hike
circles around the large hill on the south side of the playing
fields. Follow the trail as it ascends the hill. After a few
minutes, you'll pass a trail that heads downhill to the football
field--stay on the trail you've been following until you reach its
intersection with a trail that goes both right and left. Go right on
the trail and follow it as it curves around the hill. After a short
time, you'll see the chimney of an old foundation to your left, and the
ramps of an unofficial bicycle motocross course to the right. Go to
the left, on the trail that runs behind the chimney. The trail then
climbs to the top of the hill (940 feet above sea level, about 350 feet
higher than the start of the hike). To your right, in the valley
below, is Glenn Road.
view (best at this time of year) as you follow the trail along the
ridge. When you reach the end of the ridge, you'll begin descending
to the left. Note the excellent view of Highland Cemetery,
and above it the power line on Bald Eagle Mountain (November's Hike of the
Month). Keep descending towards the green water tower, following the
trail to the left of the tower. As you go down the trail, to your
left you can see the green lacrosse/field hockey field, and the red roof of
Thomas Field House. When you reach a fairly well-established trail,
go right towards McEntire Hall; if you follow the
steps down the hill to the left, you'll end up back where you started.
to me that this trail could be turned into a nature/culture trail for the
campus without much expense. A few blazes and well-placed plaques
that discussed the natural and cultural history of the area would make this
hike an excellent introduction to the campus. Also, it would be great
if a student group would "adopt" this trail--there is a good bit
of litter, especially as you get close to McEntire
Hemlock 2.5 (February 2008): The Mid State
Trail in Woolrich
The Mid State trail is 260 miles
long, stretching from the southern Pennsylvania border near Bedford, to the
northern border near Lawrenceville. Part of it jogs through our area
as it passes from the ridge-and-valley mountains to the Allegheny
Plateau. This hike introduces you to a two-mile stretch of the trail,
beginning at the Woolrich Clothing Outlet #1 in Woolrich, PA.
John Rich began making clothes in this area in the 1830s, and if you
haven't been to the factory outlet yet, you're missing one of the better
shopping opportunities in this area. To get to the outlet, take 220 north to the McElhattan exit
and then follow the signs. Park your car in the overflow lot to the
left of the building. The hike is approximately four miles round
trip; in the snow, it takes about two hours.
In the park adjacent to
the parking lot (an excellent place for a picnic), you'll see several small
buildings. Walk towards the open-fronted lean-to. This shelter
was donated by the Woolrich Company in
2007. Note the orange blazes on the trees--you'll be following these
for the rest of the hike. Follow the blazes to the southeast (away
from the outlet) through the park. After a few minutes, you'll come
to Park Avenue (the road into the outlet);
turn right, cross the street and follow the blazes for about a third of a
mile until you come to Gravel
Hill Road, where the trail turns left.
Cross Chatham Run and a second small stream, and then follow the blazes to
the right into the woods. You'll have to scramble across a small
stream (frozen when we were there), and then the trail climbs gradually a
few hundred feet through a beautiful hemlock forest.
Once you reach the top, you'll
follow several old logging roads southeast, along a ridge that parallels Park Avenue. We saw turkey, deer, and bobcat
tracks. After about a mile, the trail turns right (southwest), and
descends to Route 150, across from the Susque Valley Animal
this point, you've walked almost two miles. You can either return the
way you came, or go to the right (southwest) on Route 150 for about a third
of a mile to Harley Drive.
Take a right, and another few minutes will bring you to Park
Avenue--take a right and you'll be one and a half miles from
the outlet. When you get back, I recommend breakfast or lunch at the Woolrich Village Cafe (around the right side of the
I recently purchased
the 11th edition of the guide to the Mid State Trail (available at local
outdoor stores for $38). I hate to complain about anything that is
done by the outstanding MST
Association (a nonprofit group formed in 1982 to build and maintain the
trail), but there is significant room for improvement with this
guide. Included in this edition for the first time are two excellent
full-color maps for the second half of the trail. But the MSTA needs
to simplify the Byzantine system they use to number their maps.
Instead of Map #1, #2, #3, etc., the maps are numbered 213-15, then 303
(old map 216), then 217, 311, and so forth. To add to the confusion,
several maps have stickers that say things like "This map is OBSOLETE.
Please see map #304. Map 303/304 supersedes this map." The
guide itself is little more than a list of the turns the trail takes, as
opposed to a compendium of interesting information on the natural and
cultural history of places on the trail (the guide to the Black Forest
Trail and the Loyalsock Trail are both very good
at this). Finally, I find the MSTA's
insistence on using only the metric system preachy and annoying. I'm
still a bit confused about the logic of their claim that
"Metrification is a patriotic measure designed to help end our
cultural isolation and ease our chronic balance of payments problems"
(p. 19). But provide a good map, and the guide is superfluous
anyway. Alternatives to the guide can be found in Jeff Mitchell's Backpacking
Pennsylvania (who thankfully uses miles), and the various state
forest maps that cover the trail (this particular hike is on the Tiadaghton State Forest map). The response of
the MSTA to this rant would undoubtedly be, "If you think you can do
better why don't you join us instead of
complaining." And they'd be right, of course!
Hemlock 2.6 (March 2009): Natural Gas Production in the
Sproul State Forest
This drive/hike takes you to a site in the Sproul State Forest where you
can see first-hand what natural gas production looks like. Along the
way, you'll be exposed to some central Pennsylvania literary history. The
roads are passable in a regular car, especially in a few weeks when the
last of the snow melts, but a four-wheel drive vehicle is better.
Begin at Walmart and turn right onto Rt. 150 South. In
about 4 miles, you'll be entering the outskirts of Beech Creek, which is
the site of Alison
Bechdel's graphic novel, Fun Home.
If you've never read it, Fun Home is the story of a young woman's
struggle to come to terms with her father's death, the secrets uncovered in
the wake of it, and her own identity. Most of it takes place in
and some of the sites mentioned in the novel can be seen on this
trip. At 4.4 miles, on the left, is the place where her father was
struck by a truck and killed. At 6.4 miles, note the pink house on
the left--this is the former funeral home that is alluded to in the
title. If you turn left onto Maple Street and go .2 miles, the
beige house on the left (169 Maple) is the Victorian house that her father
Return on Maple to Rt.
150 and turn left. After .2 miles, just before the bridge, turn right
onto Water Street/the
Road (Rt. 364). The stream to the left
is Beech Creek, a sad example of the residual effects of coal mining, an
earlier extractive industry in this area. Although it looks
beautiful, the red rocks indicate that the stream is dead, killed by acid
mine drainage (AMD). However, the Beech Creek Watershed Association
is working hard to undo the damage.
After 2.3 miles, you'll
come to an intersection: the Monument-Orviston Rd. curves to the
left and crosses a bridge; Falls Rd. goes sharply to the right--go more or
less straight onto Martin's Grove
Rd., which becomes the Beech Creek Mountain Road.
After .5 miles you'll need to bear slightly right to stay on it. The
road becomes a moderately rough gravel road as it climbs the
mountain. At about 7 miles, you'll start seeing natural gas wells and
their accompanying storage tanks. At 8.7 miles from Rt. 150, turn
right onto the Eagleton Road.
After you go 1.3 miles (10 miles from Rt. 150), turn right into the parking
lot of the Eagleton Mine Camp Trail (EMCT, described in the October 2008 Hemlock).
Park your car and notice the green storage tank next to the parking lot.
The hike is 2.8 miles and takes
about an hour. From the parking lot, walk back to Eagleton Road and turn right,
following the red blazes of the EMCT. After about a third of a mile,
you will see a well site and a large compressor to the left, but you will
hear the engine and smell the diesel fumes before that. This is well
#42, operated by NCL Natural Resources, of The Woodlands, Texas. DEP received the permit
application for this well on March 14, 2008; the permit was issued 27 days
later on April 10th. Drilling began on June 13. To me, this
doesn't seem like a long time to wait, especially since this well is
sitting on top of the Baker Run watershed. Well #42 is located on
Tract 653, a one-mile by three-mile rectangle of state forest land that
contains about 20 active wells (the Google Earth image above gives a sense
of the web of access roads and well pads in this area).
Immediately after you
pass the well site, the EMCT turns left and follows the gravel road to the
east of the site. After a quarter of a mile, the trail turns right
into the woods. A few hundred feet later, you'll see another well to
the left (you'll still be able to hear the compressor from well #42).
Continue to follow the blazed trail along Smokehouse Run. This is one
of the prettier parts of the EMCT, and it's worth remembering that a
hundred years ago this entire area would have been treeless, the result of
clear-cut logging, the earliest of Pennsylvania's
extractive industries. About a mile after you've left the compressor,
you'll come to a intersection with a trail.
Leave the EMCT, turn right and climb a small hill--after about a quarter
mile, you'll reach the Eagleton
Road (note the well to the left). Turn
right and return to your car (you'll know you're close when you hear the
compressor engine). This entire hike has taken place in Sproul State
Forest--land owned by the citizens
You can either return
the way you came, or follow the Eagleton Road 8.8 miles until it ends at
Rt. 120 (it was very icy when we went this way). Turn right and
follow Rt. 120 back to Lock Haven.
Hemlock 2.7 (April 2009): The Mid-State
Trail to Round Top
This hike takes you to the top of
another peak in Bald Eagle Ridge, giving you a great view of the
Susquehanna River Valley. To get to the trailhead, take Route 220
North four miles to the McElhattan Drive
Exit. At the bottom of the ramp, turn right, and then at next
intersection, take a left onto Pine/Mountain
Road (toward Restless Oaks Restaurant).
Check your odometer--you're going to go exactly four miles on this road to
the trailhead. At 2.3 miles, you'll go through the town of Pine Station, and at
2.7 miles you'll cross the railroad tracks for the second time. As
you're crossing, note the elaborate chimney to the right. According
to Harlan Berger, these are the remains of an oil line pumping
station. Continue on Pine/Mountain
Road until you reach 4.0 miles. Park
your car to the right (just before the bridge over Love Run).
Walk up the road a few
hundred yards until it bears sharply left--just before this turn is a dirt
road that descends to the right. Follow the road and cross the
stream. The trail immediately forks--bear to the right, and follow
Yarn's Run. The trail gradually climbs up the hollow, with several
stream crossings. After a few minutes another stream will come in
from the left--stay right on the Yarn's Run trail. After about a half
mile, you will intersect the Mid-State Trail, with
its familiar orange blazes (see the February Hemlock's Hike of the Month). A bit further up the
trail are some ruins, but you want to follow the MST to the right, crossing
Yarn's run again.
Once on the MST, you
begin to climb Round Top. The trail crosses a dirt road and then
switchbacks up the mountain. Once you reach the top (1750 feet above
sea level), continue to follow the MST until you reach a large talus field
with an excellent view of the Susquehanna River valley from Lock Haven
(left) to Jersey Shore (right). You've now hiked about 1.5 miles and
have climbed 750 feet. Return the way you came--the total trip should
take about 90 minutes. An alternative would be to drop a car on Pine/Loganton
Road where the MST crosses, and then follow
the MST down the other side of Round Top.
Thanks to Doug
Campbell, a former MST caretaker, for recommending this hike, and to John
Reid and Elizabeth Gruber for helping me explore it.
Hemlock 2.8 (May 2009): Little Pine State
Park's Lake Shore Trail
One of the
best-kept secrets of the Pennsylvania State Park system is Little
Pine State Park, which is about 50 minutes from Lock Haven
University. It's a first-rate park that features opportunities for
kayaking, swimming, hiking, camping, and fishing, but it never seems to be
crowded, even on holiday weekends. The park has many hiking trails,
including the ubiquitous Mid-State Trail, but one of our favorites is the
5-mile long Lake Shore Trail. The hike takes about two hours, and
parts of the trail can be muddy so you might want to wear hiking boots.
To get to the trailhead, take Water Street to
Route 220 North. Go 9 miles to the PA-44 exit, and then follow PA 44
north for 10.8 miles to Waterville.
After you cross the bridge over Little Pine Creek, turn right onto
SR4001/Little Pine Creek Road (there is a sign for Little Pine State
Park). After about 4 miles, you will pass the lower picnic area and
then the camping area; continue until you
get to a pull-off on the right that overlooks the dam. Park your car
and follow the walkway across the dam, where you will see the first sign
for the red-blazed Lake Shore Trail. There are usually maps at the
parking area--if not, the park office (1/2 mile further on SR4001)always has them.
The first mile of the trail follows
the woods on the east side of Little Pine Lake. There are a few gentle
hills that take you past some beautiful rock formations before you turn
left at Naval Run and descend to the northern end of the lake. The
trail continues north through an eagle nesting area (one of the highlights
of Little Pine SP is the chance to see eagles). After about a half
mile, you will reach a fork. The path to the left (down the hill) is
how you'll be returning--instead, go right, up a fairly steep (but short)
hill into the woods. The next mile skirts the edge of the mountain on
the right and a large meadow to the left. Eventually, you'll see a
double red blaze--turn left towards the stream (and the shooting
range). The path follows the stream through the meadow for a mile,
before reconnecting with the fork. Notice the stands of sycamore
trees along the stream (easy to recognize by their mottled,
"camouflage" bark). When you return to the fork, turn right
and follow the trail back to the parking area.
Hemlock 3.1 (October 2009): Get to Know Your State Forest
Since the state forest
system is at the center of the budget debate, I thought it might be a good
idea to focus on it for this month's drive/hike, which will take you on a
drive through some of Pennsylvania's
most beautiful fall foliage to a hike in the state forest. The total
trip will take from 3-4 hours. You should probably wear hiking shoes,
and make sure you have a full tank of gas before you leave.
Beginning at campus, go
north on Route 120. After about 7 miles you will enter the Bucktail Natural Area, a 75-mile scenic drive that
closely follows the West Brach of the Susquehanna
River through Sproul
State Forest. At mile 16 you'll enter the Pennsylvania Elk
Range, where it's
possible to see the elk herd.
At mile 20, you'll pass Hyner Run Road, which leads
to Hyner Run and Hyner View State Parks
(a 13 mile side trip, but well worth it if you have the time). At
mile 23 you'll pass the Red Hill
Fossil Site, a nationally-known site. Continue for 1/3 mile and
take the next right onto the Jack
towards Gleasonton. Follow the Parkway to
the second stop sign, and then turn right onto Young Woman's Creek Road.
Stay on the road for 7 miles until you see two monuments by a cabin on the
left and a parking area to the right (a bridge over Young Woman's Creek is
just ahead). Park your car and get out to look
at the monuments.
The closest monument commemorates
the first purchase of state forest land in 1898. By that time,
almost all of the old-growth forest that had covered Pennsylvania had been clear-cut by the
logging industry. As a result, the mountains were eroding, and
wildfires from the leftover slash swept through what remained of the
forests. Joseph T. Rothrock, Pennsylvania's first State Forest Commissioner,
described the area as "the Pennsylvania
desert." Under Rothrock's leadership,
however, that began to change as the state bought land that had been
abandoned by the timber companies. From the beginning, the goals of
the state forest were to protect the watersheds, to provide a continuous
supply of timber, and to furnish opportunities for healthful outdoor
recreation. Today, the state forest comprises 2.1 million acres, or
12% of the forested land in Pennsylvania.
It is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and
Natural Resources, but it belongs to you. Article 1, section 27
of the Pennsylvania constitution reads,
public natural resources are the common property of all the people,
including generations to come."
You're standing on part of the Donut Hole
Trail (orange blazes), which runs about 80 miles from Jericho, PA
to near Farrandsville. The second monument
is to Robert E. Long, a forest ranger. You might also walk over to
the bridge and look at the trout underneath. Return to your car,
cross the bridge, and turn right onto the gravel 7 Mile Road. Follow the road
for 3 miles to the intersection with Dry Run Road. Turn left and go
3.5 miles to a trail marker on the right for the Rock Run Trail, which is
blazed yellow. Park along the road and follow the yellow blazes
as the trail wanders south across the plateau through a forest of mountain
laurel (PA's state flower). At about 2
miles, you will reach Cougar Run Hollow--descend via the switchbacks to the
run. Note the old stone bridge that crosses the stream, and then take
the trail to the right (northwest) and climb out of the hollow. After
a gradual climb of about a mile, you will reach Dry Run Road--turn right and follow
it back to your car. Total hike: 5 miles (about 1.5 hours).
Once you reach your
car, continue northeast on Dry
Run Road until it joins Benson Road, and then Route 44 (1.5
miles from the trailhead). Turn right on Rt. 44 and follow it back to
Lock Haven, enjoying the fall foliage.
This trip has been
almost entirely in the state forest. All of this forest sits on top
of the Marcellus Shale, and thus, it's likely to be leased to the natural
gas companies. Thanks to John Reid for the pictures and for his help
scouting this trail.
3.2 (November 2009): State Game Lands #255
Last month's hike introduced you to
the Pennsylvania State Forest;
this month takes you to one of Pennsylvania's many
State Game Lands. The hike is about 3 miles round trip and takes
about an hour. Since we are in the midst of hunting
season, I recommend that you take this hike on a Sunday, when hunting
is prohibited. If you do go during the week, be sure to wear
florescent orange and be respectful of those who are hunting. Since
there are several stream crossings, boots are recommended. First-rate
maps of the state game lands can be found at the State
Game Commission (SGC) site.
To get to the trailhead, begin at Walmart
and turn right onto PA 150 South. Go .4 miles and after you cross the
bridge, turn left onto Rt. 64/Water Street. Go .6 miles and turn
right onto Church Street.
Continue on Church
Street/Mountain Road for 3.7 miles--on the
left you will see a parking area with a portable toilet.
Go through the gate and proceed up the hill
(southeast). Follow the broad path of clover up the hill as it passes
several SGC food plots. These plots are what the SGC calls
"habitat improvement," and they are designed to attract deer and
provide them with forage throughout the winter. After about a half
mile, the path turns left (east) and then reaches an intersection.
Turn right and follow a pretty mountain stream up the hill (southeast) for
about a third of a mile. At the next intersection, turn
left (east) and follow a small stream uphill. For this part of
the hike, you are between the twin ridges of Bald Eagle mountain. The
path continues uphill for about a half mile, gradually leveling out, until
it reaches a large clearing. You have now hiked about 1.5
miles. You can return to your car, but if you bushwhack to the left
(north) for 700 feet, you will reach the top of the ridge--there are too
many trees for a good view, even when the leaves are down, but you can see
a bit of the Bald Eagle valley and even Lock Haven.
The PA State Game Commission was created
in 1895 to restore the dwindling wildlife population. At the time, it
was estimated that there were only 500 white-tail deer in Pennsylvania (the current population is
about 1.5 million). Black bears and wild turkeys were nearly extinct
as well. By regulating hunting and protecting wildlife habitats, the
SGC has been able to restore or reintroduce the populations of deer, turkey,
bears, bob cats, river otters, wood ducks, geese, beavers, fishers, and
elk. The first State Game Land (SGL) was purchased in 1920; currently
there are 287 SGLs. The SGC is not
supported by tax revenues; instead its funding comes from hunting license
fees, federal grants, and funds collected from the sale of oil, gas, coal,
and timber obtained from State Game Lands. Wildlife protection is
conducted by approximately 200 Wildlife Conservation Officers.
Thanks to John Reid, Elizabeth Gruber, Michael Myers,
and Max for helping me plot this hike!
Hemlock 3.3 (December 2009): Ole Bull State Park
This hike takes you to
another of our great state parks--one that was threatened with closure
during the recent budget crisis. It involves an hour drive each way,
but the trip is well worth it. Ole Bull
State Park offers great camping, fishing, and hiking, and it is the
site of some very unusual local history. I'd recommend boots for this
hike, which takes about an hour. A map
of the hike is available on the park's website.
To get to Ole Bull
S.P., turn right after you cross the Jay Street
Bridge and follow the
signs for Rt. 664 North. After 17 miles, Rt. 664 becomes Rt. 44
North--continue to follow it for another 24 miles to Oleona--turn
left onto Rt. 144 South and go one mile to the entrance of Ole Bull State Park.
Turn right into the park and follow the road to the large parking
area. A few yards to the left of the restroom, you'll see signs for
the orange-blazed Susquehannock Trail. Follow the blazes across
the pedestrian bridge over Kettle Creek and left (west) along the
stream. You'll quickly come to a tall metal monument to Ole
(pronounced Oh-lay) Borneman Bull.
(1810-1880) was a Norwegian violinist, who came to Pennsylvania in the middle of the
nineteenth century to establish a utopian community. A political
activist, who chafed under Sweden's
sovereignty over Norway,
Bull founded the National Theatre in Norway in 1849; his writer and
stage manager was Henrik Ibsen. Bull had fallen
in love with this area while touring Pennsylvania
in the 1840s, and in 1852 he bought 17 square miles of land in Potter County. In the Fall of 1852,
150 settlers arrived and began building four communities: Valhalla
(modern-day Ole Bull S.P.), New Norway, New Bensen,
and Oleanna (modern-day Oleona).
Construction began on Ole Bull's "castle" Nordjenskald,
located on a high bluff overlooking Kettle Creek. However, the
community seems to have been doomed from the first by a shady land contract
that limited them to building and farming only on the sides of the
mountain. The castle was never finished, and, by the following
spring, most of the settlers had either returned to Norway or dispersed to other settlements
throughout the United
States. The failed effort inspired
a mocking folk song "Oleanna," and the
playwright David Mamet used the name of the community for the title of his
play Oleanna (real estate speculation is
featured in both Oleanna and Mamet's play Glengarry,
Glen Ross). In 1920 Pennsylvania
established Ole Bull State Park,
and in 2002 the citizens of Norway
erected this monument to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Bull's
This two-mile hike takes you to the
foundation of Ole Bull's unfinished castle and then on a short loop through
the mountains. From the monument, continue to follow the orange
blazes of the Susquehannock Trail (ST) west as it
crosses Ole Bull run and climbs the hill. After a few hundred feet,
the ST and the Daugherty Loop Trail (DLT) branch off to the right--instead
follow the Castle Trail to the left, passing a snowmobile trail to the
right. When you reach the top of the hill you can see the foundations
of Ole Bull's castle. Return to the ST/DLT intersection and follow
the yellow blazes of the DLT as it ascends gradually up Ole Bull Run
through a hardwood forest. After about a quarter mile, the DLT
branches to the right and crosses the run on a wooden bridge.
Continue to follow the yellow blazes across the side of the mountain.
Soon you'll enter a evergreen forest with Balsam
Firs, Norway Spruces, White Pines, and Pitch Pines. After descending
a wooden staircase, the trail parallels the park, makes a u-turn, and then
returns to the Ole Bull monument.
For the story of Ole
Bull, I am indebted to Susan Hutchison Tassin's Pennsylvania Ghost
Towns: Uncovering the Hidden Past.
Hemlock 3.4 (February 2010): The
Mid-State Trail in Winter
This hike takes you to the Woolrich Outlet and then gets you out on a short
mid-winter hike on the ubiquitous Mid-State
Trail (MST). From the Courthouse, follow Jay Street to the bypass, and then
onto Route 220 North. Go 4.6 miles to the McElhattan/Woolrich
exit. At the bottom of the ramp, turn left onto McElhattan Drive.
Drive for 2 miles; when it crosses Route 150,
it becomes Park Avenue. Follow Park Avenue for another 1.6
miles and you'll see the Woolrich Outlet on your
left. You might want to stop and check out the store now, or save it
for after the hike. After you pass the outlet, bear to the right to
follow Main Street.
The road will wind up the hill for a half mile; turn left onto Dutch Hollow Road.
Go .7 miles to the top of the hill and turn left onto Big Springs Road. When I mapped
this hike, there was some snow on the gravel road, but it was very passable
(at least in my Subaru). If we get a heavier snowfall, you might save
this hike for later. Follow Big
Springs Road uphill for 2.7 miles. At
the bottom of a dip, you'll see the orange blazes of the MST on either side
of the road; park your car, and follow the trail to the right (east).
You're on top of the plateau, so
the trail is very level as it winds among a hardwood forest. After
about a mile, you'll see a short trail that leads to the left (north) and
an overlook of Gamble
(you'll see a large stone cairn). Continue on the MST for .25 miles
as it descends the ridge to another overlook on the right (south); this
view is of Nepley Fork
Straight ahead is Pine Creek Valley,
between Torbert and Ramsey Village.
The MST continues down the ridge before turning 180 degrees and following
Gamble Run up the mountain to the north. You can continue to explore
or retrace your steps to the car.
Thanks to Elizabeth and Max for accompanying me on
a cold, but beautiful Sunday to map out this hike.
Hemlock 3.5 (March
2010): The Donut Hole Trail (Dawn Hamilton)
I moved to Pennsylvania about
two years ago and have been pleasantly surprised to find so many hiking
trails in this area. I started looking for something close to
Lock Haven for those times I just need to get out in the woods. What
I found was The
Donut Hole Trail. From Lock Haven, I can be at the Farrandsville end of the trail in about 15 minutes.
Even better, I can hike about 2.5 miles up the Donut Hole Trail (DHT) and
connect to other trails to make a 5 mile loop out of it Ė
The orange blazed DHT
is actually about ninety miles long. It runs from Farrandsville
passing through Hyner
Park, Sproul State Forest,
State Park, and makes its way to Jericho just north of the Bucktail State Park. The trail has
varied terrain and varied maintenance. Sometimes it follows old
logging roads to make it a pleasant walk in the woods. Then there are
some sections which are quite overgrown. However, the bright orange
blazes mark the trail well enough to find your way even when the path
doesnít seem clear. There are steep climbs, level ground, many views,
a fire tower, several streams and quite a few small campsites. There are
enough road crossings to be able to break the trail up into sections for
day hikes or backpacking.
But letís talk about the part of
the DHT that is so close to home. It is a lovely loop which is
well-graded and well-maintained. To get to the trail head, take the Jay Street Bridge
out of Lock Haven. Turn left onto Farrandsville Rd. and
follow it to Farrandsville (across the railroad
tracks, about 5.5 miles), when it turns into Hazard Rd. Continue until you
get to the bridge across Lick Run. The gate is closed to traffic
across the bridge except during hunting season. There is a good-size
parking area here. The first 0.4 miles of the trail is relatively
flat. You then come to a junction where the DHT bears left and begins
to climb (following the orange blazes). Follow the DHT (you'll return
to this junction on the way back). The trail is nice and wide as it
climbs about 400í in the next 0.7 miles. It then becomes a gentler
grade with minor ups and downs. There can be some muddy sections
depending on the weather and time of year. At about 2.4 miles the
trail turns to the right with a double orange blaze on the tree to mark the
turn. Be careful NOT to go straight here on an alternate trail. In
about another 0.1 miles from this turn, you will see 2 blue blazes on a
tree on the right. Follow this trail down about 0.6 miles--it has a
few somewhat steep rocky sections where youíll need to watch your
footing. This trail ends at a trail that follows along Lick
Run. Take a left here and go 0.2 miles until the trail ends at
a rock throne someone has built for a pleasant resting place along the
stream. Now retrace your steps for 0.2 to the blue blazed link trail
you came down on your right. Instead keep going straight following
the level path with Lick Run on your left. Be sure to notice the
wonderful stone bridges placed by the trail maintainer. In about 1.4
miles after you pass the link trail, you will come to the junction of the
DHT--continue for another .4 miles and you'll be at the parking area.
I have done this loop many times and never tire of it.
Hemlock 3.6 (April
2010): Henry Shoemaker's McElhattan
One of the things that drew me to
Henry Shoemaker was his interest in erecting monuments to commemorate local
history. As a result, McElhattan has more
monuments per square mile than most small towns. This approximately
6-mile hike takes you to Shoemaker's home, and visits some of the places he
commemorated. The hike is entirely on pavement, so it could be
driven, but most of it is a walk on little-used roads.
To get to the trailhead, take Route
220 North to the McElhattan exit. Turn left
and go .2 miles on McElhattan Drive to the
Bald Eagle Travel Plaza. Park your car and cross McElhattan Drive
to Fritz Road
(parallel to McDonalds). A few feet down Fritz Road is a monument erected by
Henry Shoemaker to honor his ancestor, Michael Quigle,
one of the earliest settlers of McElhattan. Return to McElhattan Drive
and turn left, towards Rt. 220. Go .3 miles to the Madison Restaurant/Wellington Bed
and Breakfast. This was the Shoemaker family home (Henry's
ancestors were among the earliest settlers of this area). If you
continue up this road, you can visit Zindel Park, which is described in an earlier Hemlock hike.
Return to the stop sign
and take a right onto Pine
Mountain Road, and at the first fork take a
right onto Shoemaker Road.
After 1.2 miles, cross Pine
Mountain Road and continue onto Spook Hollow Road.
Believe it or not, you are now on the ubiquitous Mid-State Trail. After about .1 mile
(just past the junk yard) you will see a gravel road that leads to a monument
near the railroad tracks. This is the former site of Fort
Horn, part of the chain of forts built by the early settlers in the
1770s (the next fort in the line was Fort Reed, which was located in Lock
Haven, near the Jay Street Bridge).
Return to Spook Hollow Road
and continue to the right. Shortly after crossing the railroad
tracks, you will see a gravel road to the left. This road leads
across the railroad tracks to the Quigle burial
ground (beyond the yellow gate), which has some Revolutionary War
tombstones. Return to Spook
Hollow Road and continue to follow it along
the Susquehanna River. After 1.8
miles, just before the overpass, you will see a small monument to the Lenni Lenape Indian
settlement Canasorgu. This monument was
erected by Shoemaker in 1913.
Continue on Spook Hollow Road
and take the first left after the underpass onto Old Bridge Road. When you reach
Drive (.1 miles), turn right and go .1 mile to
Turn right and follow Linwood for .2 miles to the Linwood Cemetery,
which dates to 1898. In the cemetery is a large column that is a
tribute to Wayne
Township soldiers who
have died in various wars, dating back to the Civil War. The column
is one of the original pillars of the 1820 Pennsylvania State Capitol
Building before it burned in 1897 (see Lou Bernard, "Haven
History" The Eagle Eye [3/4/10]). Near the column is
a rough-hewn boulder, the grave of John H. Chatham (1846-1923), whom
Shoemaker called "The Bard of Central Pennsylvania."
Continue on Linwood (.4
mile) until it ends at McKinney
Road, and turn left. After .1 mile,
continue straight onto Stabley Road and follow it
for .2 miles until you see a monument to the West Branch Camp Meeting,
which commemorates the religious revivals that were held here from
Continue on Stabley, curving left until it ends at Youngdale Road,
and turn right. After .3 miles it will return to your car at the Bald
(September 2010): Sandy Bottom (Kevin McKee)
The immediate Lock
Haven area has a great deal to offer in terms of hiking, but there are also
a vast number of trails both serene and primal that can be accessed within
an afternoonís traveling. One such is a favorite of mine that I have been
visiting for several years now: Sandy Bottom. Located on Route 87 just past
Barbours, Sandy Bottom lies along the Loyalsock Creek as it winds its way through the Endless Mountains.
it from Lock Haven, head north on Route 220 towards Williamsport.
Keep going past Montoursville, until you see the sign for Route 87 North --
take that exit, and turn left onto 87. From there, drive about twenty-five
to thirty-five minutes until just past Barbours.
Although there is a sign, it can be a little tricky to find the turn-off,
as it is located around a sharp bend in the road...itís very easy to drive
right by. The best advice I can give is to look for a teal/silver colored
trailer on the left in a pine forest. When you see that trailer, slow down
and get ready to turn to the left. At that point, a short forest road
replete with dodge-able potholes is all that stands between you and the
The trail itself is rather easy.
Itís mostly flat creekside walking, and the trail
is made up primarily of a sandy loam that can make you feel as though
youíre at the beach. When the creek is low, there are a number of islands
that one can easily fjord out to, and the water is deep enough in places to
swim, if thatís to your liking. Also of note at Sandy Bottom is a gigantic
walnut tree, which is where I traditionally end my hike. There is more trail beyond it, but as I am usually a solo hiker, and the
further trail gets pretty rough, I havenít actually attempted it. In
theory, it is supposed to cross 87 and then scale the mountainside until
you reach an overlook from which you can observe a significant amount of
the creek, and the valley that it is located within. Be warned that I have
heard tell that the upward trail is not well maintained, and it can be
challenging to find the way up in places.
Bottom is a great place to go for an afternoon trip away from the worries
of classes, papers, and -- dare I say it -- social obligations. It is one
of the peculiar spots all along Route 87 that is at once park-like and very
wild. As with all of nature, it merits respect; but it can be a wonderful
region to visit.
Hemlock 4.2 (October
2010): Panther Run (Travis Weaver)
Panther Run is a
kick-ass hiking trail up in the Little Pine State Park area that takes you
along a winding mountaintop path through awesome sections of mossy rock
outcrops and it even features a nice vista. It is a three and a half mile
trail that is described by the DCNR website as being "difficult",
but really except for a couple parts at the start of the trail it is quite
easy and you should breeze through in a couple of hours. The trail is very
well worn and marked fairly well so once you are on it you should have no
trouble at all in figuring out which way you need to go, and in fact there
are actually several signs along the way with maps of the whole area! Don't
get the wrong idea though, this trail is still quite wild and offers great
opportunities to see a wide variety of fauna such as White Tail Deer, Bald
Eagles, the occasional American Black Bear and every hiker's favorite, the
There are a couple of
ways to get to Little Pine from Lock Haven, but the easiest for the
flatlanders in the audience is to hop onto 220 North and stay on this for 9
miles until you get to the PA-44 exit. From the exit, hang a left onto
Route 44 and stay on it until you come to the town of Waterville
(10.8 miles). After crossing the small Lt. Micheal Wolf Bridge, take a right onto Little
Pine Creek Road and follow it for 4 miles until you come to the park
itself. Keep driving past the dam and very soon you will see a large
parking lot on your right. Park on the far left side down by the big
dumpster and Eagle Watch Area sign and prepare yourself. There are two
versions of this trail depending on where you start: the easy way, which is
to just walk across the road from the Eagle Watch sign and head up that way
that makes for a gradually sloping uphill trail, or the hard way, which as
a Red Blooded American who laughs in the face of danger I am sure you are
eager to take. To go this way, walk about a mile and a half down Little
Pine Road and keep your eyes peeled for a big sign on the left hand side of
the road. This sign shows you where you need to go and usually has
some nice little folding maps that feature all of the trails in the park,
so grab a couple and follow the muddy trail back to Panther Run.
The trail starts with a
short but steep scramble up a hill which can be somewhat perilous to get up
if it is especially muddy, and if that is indeed the case I advise ignoring
the little dirt path and just going straight up using roots to haul
yourself up the incline. Once you have made it up, follow the yellow blazed
trail as it runs parallel to the run and enjoy the secluded little valley
you are in, making sure to look for the many odd mushrooms that grow in
abundance in the area. After about half a mile the trail begins to head up
the mountain on the left away from the run and gets harder very quickly. This
is one part of the trail that is not well marked so it can be somewhat
confusing trying to tell whether you actually on the trail or not, but take
your time and keep an eye out for the few blazes in the area and you should
be fine. Soon enough you will find yourself standing at the bottom of an
extremely steep and rocky section of the trail that will take you straight
up the mountain. This part is a real bitch, but it is also the last hard part of the trail so put on your war face and
make your way up. When you regain consciousness after passing
out at the top, pat yourself on the back because the rest of the trail is a
cakewalk compared to this.
Continue on back into
the woods, making sure to forage liberally for Teaberries and Blueberries
depending on the season. You will come to a fork in the road, at which
point you should hang a left. From here on out the trail is very
straightforward and is damn near impossible to get lost on as it follows
the ridge giving you some lovely views of the forests below. There is a
really nice vista not too far along the trail that has a Geocache hidden somewhere
nearby, so make sure you bring something cool to put in it if you wish to
hunt for it. I want to offer a word of caution considering the rocky bare
area that is right below the vista, as during the warmer months it can be
full of very large rattlesnakes who gather there to bask in the sun. I did
not see any the last time I hiked due to the cooling weather, but my
companion found a large snake skin indicating their past presence.
After navigating the snake pit the rest of the trail is a very enjoyable
downhill walk through interesting rock formations and mossy groves. In what
seems like no time at all you will find yourself descending the final part
of the path and discover that you are in fact right back at the parking
area where you started. If you still feel energetic check out some of the
other areas of the park, as it is quite nice. On your way out of the park
make sure you stop at Happy Acres for some beer and ice cream, which is the
best way to end a hiking adventure that I can think of.
Environmental Focus Group
Bob Myers (chair), Md. Khalequzzaman, Lenny Long,
Jeff Walsh, Danielle Tolton, John Crossen, Sandra Barney, David White, Tom Ormond.
The committee is charged with promoting and supporting activities,
experiences, and structures that encourage students, faculty, and staff to
develop a stronger sense of place for Lock
and central Pennsylvania.
Such a sense of place involves a stewardship of natural resources
(environmentalism), meaningful outdoor experiences, and appreciation for
the heritage of the region.