On a hike a couple years ago I came across Rich Wertz in Cooper's Gap doing trail work. He informed me of a new trail he was blazing in order to replace the highly eroded Chestnut Spring Trail. Fast forward a few years and I spied the trail sign for the Dutch Alvin Trail posted along Chestnut Spring Road. On a nice spring afternoon, I decided to head out after work and take a short hike on the Dutch Alvin Trail.
|Trailhead:||N 40° 41.86'
W 77° 42.77'
|Trail Length:||3.8 miles|
|Hike Time:||2 hours|
|Near:||Chestnut Spring Area of Rothrock State Forest.|
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.
After parking the car I had to take a short hike up Chestunut Spring Road. After about 0.4 miles of road walking I came upon the intersection with the Dutch Alvin Trail on my left. I turned here and followed the single track trail back into the woods.
The trail snaked back and forth quite a few times, staying on the west flank of Buck Ridge. It was never all that far away from the Chestnut Spring Road and I heard a few cars pass as I was hiking the trail.
At about 1.2 miles into the hike I came upon an intersection with a side trail. From the direction that the trail was heading, my guess was that this trail connected with the Chestnut Spring Road. The Dutch Alvin Trail made a sharp left here and began the gradual ascent to the top of Buck Ridge, not heading in a north easterly direction.
There were a few feed plots that the trail passed through, offering glimpses to the south of Broad Mountain. The trail also skirted along the edges of two deer exclosures. The first of which I encountered at 1.8 miles into the hike. After 0.2 miles the trail left the edge of the deer exclosure and meandered back into the woods. The second deer exclosure was encountered at 2.4 miles into the hike.
I followed this last deer exclosure as I came upon the old intersection with the Chestnut Spring Trail. The trail was blocked by a number of logs and the sign originally posted here was gone. On a bit further I came upon a new sign post. This post marked the other end of the Dutch Alvin Trail with the intersection of the Chestnut Spring Trail. What was once known as the Chestnut Spring Spur was now called the Chestnut Spring Trail proper. I turned here, about 2.7 miles into the hike, and headed across the top of Buck Ridge.
The Chestnut Trail terminated at 3 miles with the intersection of Brush Ridge Trail. I turned left here and followed the Brush Ridge Trail 0.8 miles, finishing up the hike back at the trailhead.
The hike offers another chance to explore the Cooper's Gap and Chestnut Spring area of Rothrock Trail. These trails may not be used as much as the trails located nearer to State College, but the trails are well maintained, free of obstacles and a pleasure to hike. If you want to discover a new trail and experience a different area of the Rothrock State Forest, then suggest checking out the Dutch Alvin Trail.