Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania

Hiking the Croyle Run Trail and Gettis Ridge

On top of Big Flat in Rothrock State Forest, there is a trail that branches off Greenlee Road. I have driven past the trail many times and often wondered where the trail went. In mid-June, during the blooming of the Mountain Laurel, Tim and I decided to head up to Big Flat and investigate this trail.

Trailhead:  N 40° 43.15'
W 77° 47.42'
Total Elevation:  1982'
Trail Length:  5.5 miles
Hike Time:  3.5 hours
Hike Type:  Loop
Difficulty Rating:  95
Near:  Rothrock State Forest, near Big Flat

Reaching the trailhead begins on route US322. Heading west on US322, about 1/2 mile before Boalsburg, turn left onto Bear Meadows Road and head towards the Tussey Mountain Ski Resort. Heading east on US322, go 1/2 mile past Boalsburg and turn right onto Bear Meadows Road. Bear Meadows road is directly across from the Elks Country Club. Travel on Bear Meadows road for about 1.5 miles and turn right onto Laurel Run Road. Travel for 2.9 miles, crossing over the ridge top, and turn left at the intersection of Laurel Run Road and Bear Gap Road. Travel on Bear Gap Road for another 1.9 miles as the road climbs up to Big Flat. At this point you will see the road making a sharp turn to your right. The trail is directly in front of you and there is space for parking just a bit past the turn. Park here and get ready to start the hike.

The original plan for this hike had us hiking down Croyle Run Trail, a short jaunt to the right on Beidleheimer Road, and then back to Greenlee Road on the Beidleheimer Trail. We donned our hiking gear and started off hiking on the Croyle Run Trail.

Few things that I noticed about the trail when we first started our hike. The first was the mountain laurel. It was in full bloom and the flowers were visible everywhere you looked. This beautiful sight was what first caught and held my attention for the first 5 minutes of hiking. Soon I began to notice the trail. I was quite impressed. The trail was well groomed, free of obstacles, and wide enough that you didn't need to worry about brushing up against the undergrowth and mountain laurel.

For about a quarter of a mile the trail made its way across the southern section of Big Flat. The hiking was relatively level and easy going. At about 0.3 miles the trail began a sweeping curve to the right as it began the descent down the southern slope of Bell Ridge.

The descent got steeper as we progressed but it wasn't too steep compared to other trails in Rothrock. At about 1 mile the descent leveled out a bit and wasn't quite as steep.

At 1.4 miles the trail made a slight turn to the left and then swept back around to the right. There was a wet area here that the trail passed through but we easily navigated it by using the stepping stones placed on the trail. Finally at 1.6 miles we descended a small bank and emerged on Beidleheimer Road.

From here we turned right and kept our eyes open to the right side of the road, looking for the Beidleheimer Trail sign. After 0.2 miles we spied the trail sign and climbed the bank to follow the trail into the woods. We hiked back the trail about 100 feet and soon found that the trail disappeared. There were ferns growing everywhere and I was unable to see where the trail went. The trail was not blazed which made it near impossible to follow. After Tim and I had a short discussion about continuing on we decided to turn around and head back to Beidleheimer Road.

Back on the road I made a decision to hike back to the trailhead on Gettis Ridge Road. I wasn't sure of the distance but I figured it wouldn't be much longer than the original hike that we planned. From the intersection of Croyle Run Trail we headed east on Beidleheimer Road, crossing Croyle Run just a few hundred feet past the intersection.

At 1.9 miles into our hike we came upon the intersection of Beidleheimer Road and Gettis Ridge Road. Where Beidleheimer Road was a maintained gravel forest road, Gettis Ridge Road was marked as a drivable trail. The road was dirt and rocky in places, but still plenty wide and you could tell that it was driven on quite often.

We hiked along the spine of Gettis Ridge, following the road for 1.2 miles when we came upon the intersection of Gettis Ridge Road and Wampler Road. Wampler Road headed off to the right and was the continuation of the drivable trail. At this intersection Gettis Ridge Road to the north was gated. We continued past the gate and the hiking became more rugged as we followed a single track trail on a road of grass.

About 3.2 miles we crossed another wet and swampy area. This was the headwaters of Croyle Run that we were crossing. Just a short distance beyond this point the trail began to climb at a steeper rate as we began to make our way back up to Big Flat.

At 3.5 miles the trail makes a sharp right, switch-backing upon itself. The rate of our ascent was pretty steady and we made another switchback, to our left this time, at 4 miles into the hike.

The trail made two more switchbacks before it began to level off at 4.2 miles. At just a bit past 4.5 miles we came upon the intersection of Gettis Ridge Road and North Meadows Road. At this intersection the Mid State Trail crosses and descends from Big Flat down towards Bear Meadows. This was also where we spied a box turtle walking along the side of the road. I paused a bit to take a few pictures of the turtle before we continued with our hike.

We were now on top of Big Flat and the hiking was level and easy going. We passed the gate on Gettis Ridge Road at 5.2 miles where we turned left onto Bear Gap Road. Another 0.3 miles of hiking east on Bear Gap Road has us back to the car and the start of our hike.

I was very happy that we decided to explore the Croyle Run Trail as I quite enjoyed hiking it. The blooming of the mountain laurel also made the hike a pleasure. This hike wasn't too difficult and the stroll back on Gettis Ridge Road was not all that bad either. I think I will be doing this hike again. If I don't get a chance to do repeat this hike this year then I'll definitely make sure it gets added to the list of yearly hikes. Maybe another visit in June of next year to once again enjoy the mountain laurel.

{vsig_c}0|crt1_01.jpg|We parked the car just off the side of the road near the start of Croyle Run Trail.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|crt1_02.jpg|The mountain laurel was in full bloom.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|crt1_03.jpg|The Croyle Run Trail was well groomed and a pleasure to hike.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|crt1_04.jpg|At the intersection of Croyle Run Trail and Beidleheimer Road.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|crt1_05.jpg|We hiked up Gettis Ridge Road which was classified as a drivable trail.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|crt1_06.jpg|Once we passed the gate on Gettis Ridge Road the trail became a dirt single track on a road of grass.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|crt1_07.jpg|At the intersection with the Mid State Trail.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|crt1_08.jpg|A box turtle out for an evening stroll.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|crt1_09.jpg|Almost done with our hike at the intersection of Gettis Ridge Road and Bear Gap Road.{/vsig_c}

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