For the fourth outing, the Restek Ramblers headed over to the Scotia Barrens. Located west of State College, this area use to be a bustling iron ore mining community. Now it is a State Game Lands and is criss-crossed with a number of trails. The remnants of the mine and these criss-crossing trails were the object of this latest Restek Rambler's hike.
We parked at a large parking area near a power substation. We crossed Scotia Range Road and headed back into the woods on one of the many, un-blazed trails. At 0.3 miles we got our first glimpse into the remains of the mine. Another tenth of a mile brought us to a large clearing on the edge of the mine. From here we could see the mine laid out before us. This was a pit mine and had water laying in the bottom. It did provide a nice respite as we look around trying to imagine the activity that took place here in the late 1800s. After a short break we continued heading south east on the trail.
At about 0.5 miles the trail we were following emerged onto the dirt Scotia Range Road. We turned left here and followed the road for a little over 500 feet before turning right off the road, walking across a small parking area and picking up the next trail. This trail climbed to a now abandoned elevated rail bed. This was the main rail line for taking iron ore from Scotia to the market. Directly in front of us and to our left was the remains of Ten Acre Pond. Turning left here we followed the railroad bed for 100 feet before turning right and descending once again to the forest floor.
We now followed the trail as it skirted the edge of the State Game Lands and the Haugh Family Farm open space. We kept to the trails on the left at each intersection as there were other trails that went off into the woods on our right. At 1.3 miles we turned right and headed back into the woods and away from the fields we had been walking alongside.
At 1.7 miles we emerged at an intersection with a trail that looked to be more heavily used then the one we were currently on. We turned right and began a gentle descent. At 2.4 miles the trail made its way between two clearings. These clearings were feed plots for the deer population. At a bit shy of 2.6 miles the trail came to an end at a gate and we emerged once again onto Scotia Range Road. We turned right here and followed the road for about two tenths of a mile. We were now at the point where we emerged onto the road earlier. We turned left here and retraced our steps along the iron ore mine back to our parked cars.
This was a nice hike on relatively flat terrain. There weren't any strenuous climbs we had to deal with and the trails were relatively free of obstacles. The trail was muddy in places, but for the most part it was dry. I would recommend the Scotia Barrens to anyone that wants to just get out for a quick walk. You'll have the opportunity to enjoy the woods and perhaps experience some history as well.Continue reading