When we started our “Rothrock Railroad Re-survey”, it seemed silly to worry about the name suggesting our efforts were only in Rothrock State Forest. But today we entered new territory: by crossing US route 322 we entered Bald Eagle State Forest (known in the vernacular as ‘Baw Diggle’).
We decided to make a quick excursion to the area of Bald Eagle State Forest around Poe Valley State Park. We began by taking US 322 to Sand Mountain Road, and heading NE past the Boy Scout camp. Reaching the junction with Synagogue Gap Road (story?), we decided to explore a trail which continues NE along the headwaters of Big Poe Creek, as it seemed like a potential spot for railroad grade. The road goes about a mile to access some new deer control areas, then is blocked by a gate. We parked at a nearby camp and trekked over to the headwaters area of BPC. Checking both sides of the stream showed no obvious signs of RoW.
Returning to Sand Mtn Rd, we continued through Wildcat Gap (story?) where we switched to Poe Valley Rd. Although it seems very likely that railroad ran along Big Poe Creek here, the area is uber-developed with moderately nasty vacation camps which hinder thorough exploration. It’s also very likely the road is built atop any former grade. We therefore continued to Poe Valley State Park proper.
At the east end of the park, we parked at the gated junction of Poe Valley Rd and Little Poe Rd. Kline’s map suggests railroad ran along Little Poe Creek and branched over Long Mountain to Panther Run (Mifflin county). We hiked up LPR, not observing any particular signs of railroad, but with Vince observing that the route was reasonable for logging railroad. It’s a nice hike, if nothing else.
[From: Pitch Pine and Prop Timber, p. 132, Benjamin F. G. Kline Jr.]
Finally, after a road crossing of the creek, we observed what appears faint RoW on the right-hand side. Very soon we came upon the blue-blazed Little Poe Trail joining on the right. We began following the trail, which does seem to generally follow RoW. This sure isn’t your momma’s RoW, however! Gotshall (or was this Mowery & Wagner?) was apparently skimping on construction–probably by using stringers everywhere–and the path is much fainter than the nicely-ballasted routes we are used to from Kulp and Reichley.
We followed the route until it seems to end and the large stumps disappeared. Vince spotted a really nice spotted salamander which put up with our examination for a surprisingly long time before slipping beneath the leaves. We then returned to the junction of the trail and LPR. The route of LPR up the ridge into Mifflin county seems suspiciously steep, so we suspected the the actual route may have departed the present road. We briefly explored, but suspended due to waning light. Perhaps we will approach this route from the Mifflin side…
Returning to the truck, we examined the area around the junction of PVR and LPR for signs of railroad, finding nothing. Heading down (NE) towards Poe Paddy, however, we quickly noticed a curious ledge on the south side of the road. Examination among the pine trees showed almost certain RoW. Nice! We waypointed it for further survey. It seems to reappear regularly, so we may be able to log legitimate mileage here eventually.
We decided to depart Poe Paddy via the infamous Poe Paddy Rd switchbacks (4 wheel drive ONLY). Just a short distance from the park’s historical marker, I noticed a very obviously rock-ballasted RoW merge from the right. While it’s not clear where it was going, we waypointed it for future exploration.
The trip up over PPR was uneventful. It does offer a great view of a Lewisburg & Tyrone (Pennsylvania railroad) bridge (I guess this is the location shown as “Penn View”) and is worth a visit if your suspension will tolerate the trip.
- daily contributions: 0.44 miles
- total: 26.03 miles
- daily contributions (under road): 1.31 miles
- total (under road): 15.12 miles
- grand total: 41.15 miles