Brush Ridge runs from just north of Greenwood Furnace State Park and heads westward, where it makes a hook around the end of Broad Mountain. There are many multi-use trails in this section of Rothrock State Forest including the main Brush Ridge Trail that follows the top of Brush Ridge. I had hiked a short section of the Brush Ridge Trail near its eastern terminus, just outside of Greenwood Furnace State Park. For this outing I wanted to explore the trail a little further west. An access parking area is located near the hook of the ridge and this is where I decided to start my explorations.
|Trailhead:||N 40° 39.05'
W 77° 47.13'
|Trail Length:||2.7 miles|
|Hike Time:||2 hours|
|Near:||Near Greenwood Furnace
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The trailhead for this hike is a small access parking area found along Broad Mountain Road. The easiest way to get to the trailhead is to start at Greenwood Furnace State Park. Turning off route PA305, as if you are going to the park office, you will continue straight, crossing the East Branch Standing Stone Creek. As you head into the woods, the road will turn from paved to gravel. From route PA305, follow this gravel forest road for about 1.9 miles. Here you will see a parking area on your left. Pull back into the parking area as this is the trailhead and start for this hike.
In the southwest corner of the parking area is a sign designating the multi-use Dixon Trail. This is an entrance trail that grants access to the many other trails in this area. After 0.2 miles the red-blazed Dixon Trail makes a sharp right. A well cleared trail extended in front of me. However, logs were piled at this intersection and I could not see any blazes. It was apparent that this part of the Dixon Trail was not meant to be used, so I turned right, which to the best of my knowledge was the Viantown Trail.
I hiked along the trail some time, expecting to come upon an intersection where the Dixon Trail would continue southward, to the left of the trail. At 0.5 miles the trail jogged to the left. Continuing straight would take me onto private property, so I had little choice but to follow this trail. In another tenth of a mile I came across my first bridge. This bridge crossed over Black Lick Run. In another 500 feet I came across another bridge, crossing a small tributary of Black Lick Run.
Now that my stream crossings were out of the way for a while, the trail began a gradual climb. At a little over a mile into the hike, the trail started a gradual sweeping turn to the left. At 1.2 miles the trail makes a sharp right and begins to climb steeply to the top of Brush Ridge. Along this section of the trail there was quite a bit of underbrush. During summer this could have been a bit difficult to navigate.
At a little over 1.3 miles. Viantown Trail comes to an end where it intersects with Brush Ridge Trail in a large clearing. There is no sign here marking this intersection. If hiking in the opposite direction, Viantown Trail would have been difficult to spot on the edge of this clearing.
Turning left on Brush Ridge Trail I had a nice leisurely stroll. There was a slight climb, but it wasn't all that noticeable. The weather was awesome for a mid-November weekend and there wasn't a cloud in the skies. After spending a few minute enjoying my walk through the woods, I came across the intersection of Dixon and Brush Ridge Trail. At this intersection I was at the highest point of the hike.
Turning left here, I followed the Dixon Trail in a general northerly direction. At 1.7 miles into the hike, the Dixon Trail passes through a clearing and offered a bit of a view to the northwest. Once through the clearing the trail began its gentle descent down towards Black Lick Run. Keep your eyes open when hiking this section of Dixon Trail. The trail makes many sharp turns off of what appears to be the trail proper. Follow the posted trail signs and keep a watchful look for the red blazes painted on the trees alongside the trail.
After 0.8 miles of hiking on the Dixon Trail, and 2.4 miles into the hike, the trail crosses Black Lick Run on a rather precarious bridge. My hope is that this bridge is on a short list for replacement as I am not certain how many more seasons it will survive.Once crossing the bridge, the trail jogs a bit to the left, off of what appeared to be an old, but cleared road. This new section of the trail looked to be recently created to remove traffic from the old, eroded footpath. At a bit over 2.5 miles I emerged at the intersection with Viantown Trail. Turning right here, I was back at the entrance trail, only 15 feet from where the Dixon Trail intersects with Viantown Trail. Turning left here, I finished up my hike and arrived back at the trailhead.
It was nice to do this hike in a section of Rothrock State Forest that I had not yet explored. It looked like the blazes were freshly painted and there was a number of flagged sections. My guess is that this area is under going some heavy trail maintenance and blazing activity. I would not be surprised to come back next year to find some new trails and maintenance done on the existing trails. Definitely worth another visit in 2017.