Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania

Short Dayhike on the Chestnut Spring Trail

At the intersection of Brush Ridge Trail and Chestnut Spring Road, the Chestnut Spring Trail descends from the ridge and crosses the road, following the banks of Chestnut Spring Creek as it makes its way to Standing Stone Creek. Used mostly by bikers, I thought this section of the trail would make a nice, short day hike. On a warm summer weekend, Shari and I headed out to Chestnut Spring to investigate this trail.

Trailhead:  N 40° 41.86'
W 77° 42.79'
Total Elevation:  520'
Trail Length:  1.9 miles
Hike Time:  1.5 hours
Hike Type:  Loop
Difficulty Rating:  29
Near:  Off route US322 near Milroy, PA

Located in Rothrock State Forest, the trailhead for this hike is easily accessible from State College. From State College, I would recommend accessing the trailhead via Bear Meadows Road. Once on Bear Meadow Road, follow it past the Tussey Mountain ski resort. It will turn from paved to dirt road at about 3.6 miles. Continue straight on Bear Meadows Road whenever you see a possible turn. You will pass through Bear Meadows as well as climb up and then descend Thickhead Mountain. Once you reach the intersection of Bear Meadows Road and Stone Creek Road (Stone Creek Road is paved), approximately 9.1 miles from route US322, hang a left. Follow the paved road for 2.5 miles, passing Alan Seeger and continue on until you enter a gas pipeline clearing. Turn right just after you cross the pipeline clearing. This road is called Chestnut Spring Road. Follow Chestnut Spring Road for about 0.9 miles. The road will make a sweeping turn to the right and you will see room to park along the left side of the road at this turn. Park your car here as this is the intersection of the Brush Ridge Trail and Chestnut Spring Trail, and the trailhead for this hike.

It was a warm summer day so we didn't want to do anything to strenuous. I thought this short little hike would be a great way to spend some time in the woods plus allow me to explore a trail in Rothrock State Forest that I had not yet explored.

From the car we headed west on the trail. It was not marked with painted blazes but it was quite easy to follow. It gradually descended as we hugged the southern bank of Chestnut Spring Creek. At 0.3 miles the trail cut back away from the creek for a bit but then turned right to meet up with it again.

At 0.4 miles the trail turned away from the creek again, this time passing through a thicket of rhododendrons. We crossed over a small feeder stream that flowed in from our left. After a few turns we emerged out of the rhododendron thicket and the trail made a sweeping turn to the left leaving the stream behind.

The trail began to climb just a bit as we left the stream and at a little over a half mile we came upon a gas pipeline clearing. Once in the clearing the trail turned to the right and crossed the clearing. Once we reached the far side of the gas pipeline the trail made a sharp right and followed the tree line back towards Chestnut Spring Creek.

We followed the edge of the pipeline clearing for about a tenth of a mile before the trail turned to the left, re-entering the woods. About 200 feet past this point the trail crossed over Chestnut Spring Creek. The stream was low and there were stepping stones here so it was pretty easy to cross this 3 foot wide stream. However, in a wet spring, I am sure this crossing could be a little wetter.

Now the trail was paralleling the stream on the northeast bank. The trail and the stream meandered through the woods on this relatively level terrain. At about 0.9 miles the trail crossed a small feeder stream on a wooden bridge. The water was not flowing much in this stream and it was more like a crossing of a marshy section of the woods. Just another tenth of a mile past the bridge had us reemerging in the gas pipeline clearing.

Once in the clearing the trail made a sweeping turn to the right. Just ahead and to the left of the trail was Standing Stone Creek. A short 300 feet later we were leaving the clearing and entering the woods once again. However this was short lived as after another 200 feet of hiking the trail emerged onto Chestnut Spring Road. This was the end of the trail as we turned right and followed the road for a little over 0.8 miles back to the car.

This was a nice little hike and I particularly liked the way it followed Chestnut Spring Stream. This trail is a nice hike when you don't have much time and you just want to get out and explore something different. It is relatively flat and offers some nice stream side scenery. The section to the west of the pipeline clearing is particularly nice. You could also add this hike to the Brush Ridge hike and make it a double loop. By combining this hike with the Brush Ridge hike you could put together a hike of 8 miles. Always an option if you're looking for a longer dayhike in Rothrock State Forest.

{vsig_c}0|csp1_01.jpg|The Chestnut Spring Trail as it crosses Chestnut Spring Road.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|csp1_02.jpg|The stream that the trail followed for the majority of this hike.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|csp1_03.jpg|This well groomed trail was a pleasure to hike.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|csp1_04.jpg|Looking south at the gas pipeline clearing.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|csp1_05.jpg|The only bridge on this short hike.{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|csp1_06.jpg|Walking Chestnut Spring Road back to the trailhead.{/vsig_c}

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