Different ways to explore the outdoors: water trails, bicycle tours, geocaching, and more.

By Ed Stoddard

WATER TRAILS

Your perfect day on the water can include a quiet paddle along the shores of Raystown Lake in the no wake zones or a sojurn on the Juniata River. We have the perfect stretches of water just waiting to take you on an exceptional adventure Huntingdon County.

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Paddling a quiet cove of Lake Raystown. Photo by Helena Kotala.

In the Huntingdon Area, you can access the Juniata River Water Trail via the Little Juniata River at Barree Rd. west of Alexandria, and at the Rte. 305 bridge just outside of Alexandria. The Frankstown Branch can be accessed at the Alfarata trailhead for the Lower Trail, and near the Main Street Café in Alexandria. The main branch of the Juniata River can be accessed at Warrior Ridge Dam near Petersburg, Portstown Park in Huntingdon, Smithfield Riverside Park, and at PA Fish & Boat Commission Point Access east of Huntingdon.

Officially designated a water trail by the PA Fish & Boat Commission, the Raystown Branch of the Juniata can be explored by canoe year-round. The trail is characterized by slow pools dotted with fast but shallow riffle-style rapids suitable even for novice paddlers. Anglers can float the Raystown Branch and fish for trout, bass, panfish, catfish, muskellunge, and carp.

Please note: The ability to paddle the Juniata varies throughout the year. Peak water flow occurs between February and May and possibly a few weeks in December. Between July and August, the river may be below desired levels. Of course, mid-summer paddling may well be the most enjoyable if you are able to take advantage of the days following a rainstorm.

 

ROAD TOURING BY BICYCLE

Bicycling Magazine has named The Alleghenies, the 8 county region that includes Huntingdon County, as one of the top bicycle areas in the country.

Spelunker road bike trail

Huntingdon County has many claims to fame and places to explore. Its historic rivers, scenic valleys, farmlands, and caves and caverns such as Lincoln Caves and Indian Caverns make the Spelunker Tour a hit. This tour begins at Riverside Park along the rippling Juniata River adjacent to historic downtown Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Take in the beauty this area has to offer as you ride through farmland and valleys and explore the quaint small towns and villages as you enjoy the flat to somewhat rolling terrain. You may wish to do a little spelunking yourself to enjoy the full beauty of this tour and the treasures of this region. Length: 45.3 miles; Terrain: Flat to rolling. Pavement quality is good, most roads do not have paved shoulders, posted speed is generally 35 mph to 45 mph.

Time Travelers Path road bike trail

Step back to the past and learn about the unique transportation and industrial history of Broad Top Mountain and Southern Huntingdon County. Journey back to the era of “King Coal” and the steam-powered East Broad Top Railroad which carried freight and passengers between Robertsdale/Wood and Mount Union, once known as the “Silica Brick Capital of the World.” Enjoy the scenic vistas and sweeping valleys where small country hamlets still beckon cyclists to stop and relax along the 72-mile trek of discovery. Visit a coal miners museum, ride a tourist railroad and electric trolley, or just pause to enjoy the beauty of nature. It’s all waiting for you along the “Time Travelers Path.” Length: 72.1 miles (alternate route is 17.3); Rating: Challenging

Fishermans Journey road bike trail

Riverside Park along the Juniata River is the starting point for this excellent ride through the best that Southern Huntingdon County has to offer. The cyclist travels through many quiet and scenic areas while with the opportunity to take a side trip at Raystown Lake Recreation Area and through Trough Creek State Park where activities galore await the cyclist. Fishing, swimming, camping, and boating are among many of the activities that we encourage the cyclist to take advantage of. This 64.8 mile trip through rolling to flat terrain with quality roads and scenic views makes this ride a delight. Length: 64.8 miles; Terrain: Rolling to flat. Pavement quality is good, average posted speeds range from 25 mph to 45 mph. Numerous long climbs throughout.

Road biking in Central PA. Photo by Evan Gross.

Road biking in Central PA. Photo by Evan Gross.

 

GEOCACHING

Explore the Pittsburgh-To-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway™. The Main Line Canal Greenway Geotrail (MLCG) –a series of geocaches tied together by a common theme. Developed as part of the Greenway initiative, the Geotrail is a new, unique way to experience the Greenway and bring focus to its various features, from the land and water trails to the historic canal and Pennsylvania’s heritage.

Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a growing worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache anywhere in the world, pinpoint its location using Global Positioning Technology (GPS) and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. A geocache is any type of hidden container, ranging from a film canister to a small metal box. A GPS device and a free geocaching.com account are necessary to find these caches. Once the account is set up, search “MLCG” to determine the coordinates of the Main Line Canal geocaches and use the GPS device to find them. Locations are rated easy to hard. Once you find the cache, you can trade small items, confirm you were there by signing the book, and re-hide the cache just as you found it.

Completing the geotrail requirements will earn geocachers a commemorative MLCG trackable geocoin, highly prized by veteran geocachers. To earn the coin, finding at least four geocaches in each of the six Main Line Canal Greenway Clusters is required. Before heading out, download The Main Line Canal Greenway Logbook from the Greenway website. At each cache, there will be a code that must be recorded in the MLCG Logbook. More information and the MLCG Logbook can be found at http://www.mainlinecanalgreenway.org/geotrail.

Check out other geocaches in the area including the ones placed in Seven Points Recreation Area and at Lake Raystown Resort – an RVC Outdoor Destination at http://www.geocaching.com.

 

SCOUT OUT HUNTINGDON TRAILS

Huntingdon County would like to share our history with you and Scouts. Matt Price, Eagle Scout and Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau Executive Director, worked with local attractions and partners to design a route that covers 100 miles of heritage in Huntingdon County. The trail is especially geared towards exploring the museums, hiking trails, historic sites, and various landmark attractions that exist in our region. The trail is laid out in five segments, each of the segments is designed to be completed in a weekend.

Boy Scouts can earn the 50-Miler award by thru-hiking any three segments of the Scout Out Huntingdon County trail system.

A commemorative patch is available for each scout completing at least one trail segment.  The central patch and a segment for each individual trail can be purchased at the Raystown Reflections Gift Shoppe, the Juniata Valley Council of the Boy Scouts, or at many of the attractions along the trail.

A Scout Out Huntingdon County Trail Guidebook is available for purchase at the same locations. The guidebook features detailed maps, directions, and stories about the trails and sites along them. There are various badges that can be achieved on the Scout Out Huntingdon County Trails.

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Categories: 2014 Visitors Guide, Outdoor Recreation, Things to Do | Leave a comment

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