Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania

KTA 2010 Fall Meeting Hike in Rothrock State Forest

The Fall 2010 Keystone Trails Association meeting was held in Milroy this year. Hikes for this meeting were to be held on the surrounding trails in Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests. Since I hiked many of the trails in the region, I offered to lead a hike in Rothrock. The hike that I lead followed the many mountain bike trails around the Buck and Brush Ridge area.

Trailhead:  N 40° 42.26'
W 77° 40.60'
Total Elevation:  1600'
Trail Length:  4.9 miles
Hike Time:  4 hours
Hike Type:  Loop
Difficulty Rating:  81
Near:  Off route US322 near Milroy, PA.

I did this hike twice before, with the most recent being just this past July. The objective of the July hike was to scout the region to see if the trails were maintained enough to lead this hike in October. The trails were in great shape, and the hike I lead was identical to the one I took in July with the exception of a different trailhead and a cut-off to make the hike just a bit shorter.

Located in Rothrock State Forest, the trailhead for this hike is easily accessible from Milroy and the Milroy exit of route US322. From the Milroy exit of router US322, you will turn left at the traffic light. You will follow old route US322 for approximately 2.1 miles. On your left you will see a street sign for Lingle Valley Road. Turn left here and stay on Lingle Valley Road as it heads back into the woods. It will turn to a dirt forest road after a short distance. Once you have traveled 4.2 miles, look for a place to park your car as you are now at the trailhead for this hike.

Our hike began where the Indian Trail merges with Lingle Valley Road, or Conklin Road as it is called at this end of the valley. We followed this forest road for about one tenth of a mile as we crossed over Lingle Creek. After crossing the creek we stared to ascend Sand Hole Ridge, but soon turned off to our right and followed a gated road past two camps and finally coming to the Otter Gap Camp after three tenths of a mile. The forest road ends here at the intersection of Otter Gap Trail and Lingle Valley Trail.

We continued to follow Lingle Valley Trail alongside Lingle Creek. The trail crossed the creek and it's tributaries another four times, so be prepared to get wet if you hike this in the spring. Lingle Valley Trail then proceeds to climb out of Lingle Valley at Little Kettle, climbing to the top of Buck Ridge. This is the only steep climb that you'll encounter on this hike, ascending 400 feet in about 0.5 miles, and we got it out of the way early on in the hike. Lingle Valley Trail ends at it's intersection with Chestnut Spring Trail at about 1.6 miles into the hike.

We paused here to catch our breath and wet our whistles. We discussed how nice the trail had been so far and also the nice weather we were having. They had been calling for rain, but at that moment the sun was shining and even at 9:30 in the morning, the temperatures were well above 60 degrees.

Once everyone was ready, we started hiking down Chestnut Spring Trail, but only for a short distance, before we beared right off the trail onto a short-cut trail. Not sure what the name of this trail is, but after a half mile of hiking, we were at the intersection of the Brush Ridge Trail.

The Brush Ridge Trail was not blazed all that well, but it was fairly well maintained. We slowly began a gradual descent as we headed towards Otter Gap. The ridge to the west of Otter Gap is known as Buck Ridge, and to the east of the gap it is known as Brush Ridge. To our left loomed Slate Ridge with Stone Creek running in the valley on the other side. At 2.7 miles into our hike we came upon the intersection with the Otter Gap Trail.

We now began a gentle ascent as we continued on the Brush Ridge Trail. The undergrowth began to get very thick with Mountain Laurel, but the trail was well maintained. With some of the leaves already falling from the trees, we were teased with potential views to our right. However, none materialized and we came back from the crest of the ridge without a view worth calling a vista.

Finally at 4.1 miles we came to the intersection of Brush Ridge Trail and the Indian Path. Our hiking party was somewhat strung out, so we stopped here so that everyone could catch up. We didn't want to lose someone because they didn't make the turn onto the correct trail.

At the intersection we followed the Indian Path as it made an easy descent down the southern face of Brush Ridge. The trail was a little grown over, but still easy enough to follow.

As we approached the bottom of Brush Ridge, the Indian Trail comes to a fenced in deer exclosure. We walked along this exclosure for the next 0.3 miles and then found ourselves back at the start of our hike.

The hike was a short hike but it got everyone back to the KTA meeting in time for the afternoons meetings. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and commented upon the nice trails. I was happy to show them the quality of trails that we have in this area and I made sure they knew that if it weren't for our community of mountain bikers who maintain a lot of these trails, the hikers in the area would not have as many opportunities to explore the state forests that we currently have.

{vsig_c}0|bbr3_01.jpg|One of stream crossings on Lingle Valley Trail.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|bbr3_02.jpg|A nice campsite that I'll have to keep in mind the next time I'm looking for an overnight get away.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|bbr3_03.jpg|The short-cut trail between Chestnut Spring Trail and Brush Ridge Trail.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|bbr3_04.jpg|A small pond found on top of Buck Ridge.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|bbr3_05.jpg|Standing at the intersection of Brush Ridge and Indian Trails.{/vsig_c}

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