Outdoor Recreation

Trailing the big catch…

One of the Greatest Fishing Experiences in the Northeast:
Bass, muskies, walleye, trout & channel cats
By Sandie Corbin Biddle

SparkyPrice_IMG_0030wwwCPSparky Price has been fishing Raystown waters since he was a boy, knee-high to the champion stripers he’s landed during his career. Owner of Trophy Guide Service for 35 years, Sparky has been asked every question about the lake and its fish hundreds of times. Maybe thousands. He’s lost count. And he knows all the answers.

Recently he pulled out with a boatload of fishermen from Philly and after puttering a few feet into the lake, stopped, reversed, slowed, and, looking very serious, said, “Let’s get this out of the way first.” After an expectant pause, he continued with a smile, “Raystown Lake is the largest lake contained in Pennsylvania. It’s about 30 miles long with 118 miles of shoreline. It’s an average of 100 feet deep, 180 in some places. And the stripers are not the hybrids, they’re the real saltwater species that adapted to fresh water. Now, did I answer all your questions?

They smiled and one man said with a laugh, “That was everything on my list!”

“Then let’s go fishin’,” Sparky said. It was another great day on Raystown Lake.

Easily one of the greatest fishing experiences in the northeast, the lake has more species of fish than most U.S. lakes, including stripers, muskies, lake trout, large- and small-mouth bass, channel cats, walleyes, brown trout, white and yellow perch, crappies, carp, bluegills, and, well, you get the idea.

Sparky still holds the PA record for a striper at 53 lb. 12 oz. Call them stripers, striped bass, or rockfish, they are Raystown’s biggest fishing attraction. Though you’ll find them in other PA lakes, all the state records were caught here. Sparky’s set four state records himself.
Stripers from March to December

Lucky for us, Sparky decided to lend plenty of his wisdom for this article. Read on for a fighting chance at landing your own big ones at Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania.

Stripers can be caught from March through December by targeting your approach.

Early spring casting lures on the shallow flats on the southern end of the lake will produce the year’s first stripers.

By mid-May, the entire lake is active. Live bait such as alwife, shad, trout, and shiners are the baits of choice.

Late May through the summer months, the Seven Points area and north to the dam is the area to fish for stripers.

The easiest place to catch bait is in the Snyder’s Run Boat Launch area, from 3 a.m. until daylight. Sparky says you’ll need a light, a throw net, and a good bait tank.

In the summer, beginners will do best around the dam and mile marker #1.For serious striper fishing, go out on summer nights for the 30- to 50-pounders. This takes down riggers, a vast variety of lures, and an extreme knowledge of the lake, because of all the underwater standing trees.

Muskies & Walleyes & Trout, oh, boy!

Huge stripers, 40-pound muskies, and walleyes over 15 pounds are caught at night every summer.

“The fall is always exciting, from mid-September until Thanksgiving,” Sparky said. “Anything can happen anywhere.” Now it’s all daylight fishing. Bait fishing, trolling deep diving lures, or umbrella rigs will all work.

Sparky’s TGS clients have caught huge muskies more than 50 inches and 40+ pounds – at night in the summer or daytime on the fall. The big ones are caught by trolling. Sparky said, “Fall can be intense!”

Lake trout can be caught all year from Seven Points Marina to the dam. Both downrigger fishing with spoons or bait fishing work well.

The large- and small-mouth bass are Raystown’s structure-oriented fish. Trees, weed beds, and rocky points are all favorable targets. The entire lake is good bass fishing, but the southern half offers easier fishing because of water clarity. Early morning and evening fishing with surface-style bait will work. During the day, he recommends deeper in the underwater weeds and trees.

Panfish and channel cats hang out all through the lake. Mile marker #12 to the southern end of the lake seems to be much easier to fish for these. “To catch a lot of catties, use cut bait and stink baits,” Sparky advises.

The most commonly stocked fish are stripers, lake trout, and walleyes. Along with panfish and catties, they’re all good eating. The bass should be released to replenish the lake for future fishermen.

Quit wishin’ & let’s go fishin’

Raystown hasn’t hosted any large national striper tournaments since the conclusion of the National Striper organization. However, if you like competition fishing, there are a number of local clubs that hold tournaments. Sparky notes that most of the pros and full-time striper guys don’t sign up so everyone “gets a fair chance to compete and have fun.”

Sparky believes that Raystown is one of the best fisheries in the U.S. “But it can also be very humbling!

“I want everyone to enjoy Raystown as I have all my life. May God bless all your visits to beautiful Raystown Lake.”

Sparky Price is owner of Trophy Guide Service, 814-627-5231, http://www.trophyguide.com

Categories: 2016 Visitors Guide, Outdoor Recreation, Past Visitors Guides, Things to Do, Wildlife | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Terrace Mountain Trail views

The view from the Terrace Mountain Trail at Raystown Lake. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The view from the Terrace Mountain Trail at Raystown Lake. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The crisp fall day was beautiful and just perfect for a short hike. It was my first time on this section of the Terrace Mountain Trail — and I was glad that Raystown Park Ranger Gwinn had suggested this part of the trail. Our destination was the overlook directly across from Raystown Lake navigation marker MM7.

Our adventure began with a short boat shuttle from Seven Points to the area near lake navigation marker MM8. (At mile 19 of the Terrace Mountain Trail – TMT19.)

The Terrace Mountain Trail is well-maintained and defined. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The Terrace Mountain Trail is well-maintained and defined. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The trail was well-maintained and defined as we left the shoreline and moved upwards towards the TMT20 overlook. The trail follows the contour of the land well — so the ups and downs that are unavoidable on trails in Pennsylvania did not seem so bad. You go up a ways and then switch back to keep climbing on the “bowl” of each hollow. Not so bad. I was hiking with a small group of friends. Our spirits were high and laughter rang through the trees often as we chatted and walked.

We walked about 1 mile in from the shoreline. The overlook was everything that had been promised — a rocky outcropping and open space that gave us nice views to the south of Raystown Lake and across the lake to Susquehannock Campground.

The view from an overlook on Terrace Mountain Trail. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The view from an overlook on Terrace Mountain Trail. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The Terrace Mountain Trail is maintained by volunteer efforts on public lands. I have done trail work and appreciated how clear that the trail was that day. We tried to do our part by moving a few small fallen branches along the way. If you are interested in volunteering at Raystown Lake in any capacity — please get in touch with Park Ranger Alicia Palmer at (814) 658-6812. We will all appreciate your efforts.

— Ed Stoddard, Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, Raystown.org

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Hiking in Huntingdon

Hiking on the Flagpole Hill trails in Huntingdon, PA

Hiking on the Flagpole Hill trails in Huntingdon, PA

One of the things that makes Huntingdon one of the Coolest Small Towns in America is the fact that you don’t have to leave town to experience wilderness. One of the coolest things about Huntingdon’s wilderness is how easy it is to find and access. All you need to do is look from nearly anywhere in town (or within a couple of miles of town) for the giant American flag flying on a hilltop, and go there! The appropriately named Flagpole Hill and its trail system connects the enormous symbol of our nation with another cool landmark at the Juniata College Baker Evans Peace Chapel.

FlagpoleHillTrails_ecsDSC_2779wwwThe day we hiked the Flagpole Hill Trails was an early November day that you might call “seasonable” for central Pennsylvania – temperatures in the low 50s, overcast and windy on the exposed hilltop. The leaves were nearly all removed from the tree limbs, opening up views that are not available in the summer, but also making the trail extremely noisy as our steps kicked through the 3-4 inch deep leaf litter.

Bring the map that is online and watch for the trail markers to help guide you

Bring the map that is online and watch for the trail markers to help guide you

We set off to hike the closest loop to the flagpole consisting of Cemetery, Beech Tree and Oak trails. After making good time through the first leg, we added Bearcat to our hike, and still made it back to the cars within a little more than an hour. For their location the trails are surprisingly flat, largely following the contours of the hill rather than climbing or descending.

As we returned to the vehicles we took in the view of Huntingdon, and all agreed it had been a good afternoon for a hike.

Photo by Matt Price

The view of Huntingdon from Flagpole Hill.

The view of Fairgrounds Road from the Flagpole Hill Trail (at the flagpole)

The view of Fairgrounds Road from the Flagpole Hill Trail (at the flagpole)

There are three parking areas to access the Flagpole Hill Trails.  The one we used is the main trail head located at the north end of 5th Street, another can be found at the far northern corner of Riverview Cemetery (accessed from Standing Stone Avenue) at the intersection of Cemetery and Beech Tree trails.  The other popular trail head for the network is from Peace Chapel Road near the Juniata College campus.  Maps are usually available at the 5th Street and Peace Chapel Road trail heads, or at the Huntingdon Borough building on Washington Street.

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Hillside Nature Trail at the Raystown Lake Region Visitor Center

An early morning misty view from the Hillside Nature Trail at the Seven Points Recreation Area, Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

An early morning misty view from the Hillside Nature Trail at the Seven Points Recreation Area, Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania. Photo by Ed Stoddard, Raystown.org

The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky the day I ventured on to the Hillside Nature Trail. The half mile loop was all I needed to clear my thoughts and give me a sense of total escape. As I walked, I witnessed chipmunks scampering across the forest floor, birds singing in the trees, and butterflies fluttering from one flower to the next. The sights I had seen and the small upward grade of the trail was very recipe I needed to feel refreshed and renewed.

The Hillside Nature Trail is a short walk for those who are looking to get out in to nature but want something a little less difficult and rugged. The neatly trimmed path offers stress free walking from overgrown vines, large rocks, and fallen trees. The trail meanders through forest and a bird sanctuary.

The Hillside Nature Trail is located just behind the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center in the Seven Points Recreation Area of Raystown Lake. Maps of the Hillside Nature Trail can be found inside the lake’s visitor center.

Here is the link for the Hillside Nature Trail at Raystown Lake on the USACE website:
http://bit.ly/HillsideNatureTrailRaystown

— Katrina

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Grab Your Paddle

By Helena Kotala

The Raystown Lake Region has no shortage of trails. With the internationally-recognized Allegrippis Trails at its heart, and the Standing Stone, Mid-State, Terrace Mountain, and Lower Trails connecting corners of the county, forested pathways abound. But what perhaps many people overlook are the watery ones, the network of streams and rivers that also connect places to one another.PaddleBoard

The Raystown Region has no shortage of these either, with the mighty Juniata River as the nexus, and its branches spreading like fingers throughout the area. The Raystown Branch, which also includes the 30-mile-long and 8,300-acre Raystown Lake, Frankstown Branch, and Little Juniata all begin in very different places and are very different rivers, but they all meet and become one around Huntingdon, and then flow together to the Susquehanna, the Chesapeake Bay, and finally into the Atlantic Ocean.

Exploring these “trails” by boat is an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages and levels of expertise. While paddling the more-technical Little Juniata requires some level of skill and experience, the flatwater that makes up much of the mainstem or the Raystown Branch can be navigated by those with more minimal experience. Rothrock Outfitters, based in downtown Huntingdon, offers guides, boat rentals, and shuttle services to help you make the most of your experience. The Juniata River Sojourn is an annual multi-day river trip that takes place in June and offers participants a guided look at the region’s water trails.

So grab your boat and PFD, and get out there on the water!

Categories: 2015 Visitors Guide, Outdoor Recreation, Things to Do | Leave a comment

Yo Ho Ho…Treasure Huntin’ We Will Go

Who doesn’t like the idea of treasure hunting? Searching for a prize, the friendly competition, the payday when you do find it. The idea seems very pirate-like and farfetched in modern day. What if I told you that you too can go on a treasure hunt today and experience the thrill and excitement that will surely come along with your hunt? You can, with a relatively new game called geocaching.
Geocaching is a modern day treasure hunt taking families and friends outside while using the technology of today. All you need to participate is a GPS unit or a smart phone, a free membership to http://www.geocaching.com, and some swag to trade. This can be just about anything, from a playing card to a rubber ducky, a little army man or even a collectible coin. Some of the most popular items include Happy Meal toys and small trinkets.
Geocaching started in 2000 with just a handful of geocaches, and has blossomed to over 5 million today all over the world. The word “geocaching” comes from the root words “geo” for geography and “cache” for a hidden stash of provisions. The game uses the website http://www.geocaching.com to organize the many geocaches available by location, type, terrain, and difficulty. To start your adventure, log on to the site, find the cache that interests you, grab something to trade, a pen and a GPS unit, and get out there.
If you do not own a GPS, or a GPS-capable smart phone, you can stop by the Raystown Lake Visitors Center at the Seven Points Recreation Area and borrow one for free. All you need is a valid driver’s license and a credit card to check one out for up to 2 days at a time. The GPS units have some of the area geocaches already programmed in, so you can get right out and start with your hunt. This is perfect for beginners that have never geocached before. You will be given a how-to on using the unit so you aren’t sent out blindly, and you can even program other geocaches into the units to explore other areas that are not already programmed in.
Geocaching can be a great excuse to go out and explore parts of your area that you never knew existed. Well-hidden nature trails, breathtaking overlooks, trips across the lake, and a walk through a birch tree field that will make your mouth water are all places you may come across here in Huntingdon County while geocaching. There are not very many places in the county that you can travel to without being close to a geocache. All you have to do is know where to look.
There are several different types of geocaches that you may encounter along the way. The most straightforward is the Traditional Cache, which will be at specified coordinates, in a container that will include a log book. If you want a bit of history or a well-thought-out puzzle to decipher before going out, choose a Puzzle or Mystery Cache. With these caches, you will have to decipher a sometimes-complex puzzle that will give you the coordinates to the cache. Another type is called a Multi-Cache. These geocaches will have several different locations that you have to visit, each one giving you a clue to find the next one. The final clue will lead you to the actual geocache or container. To find out about other types of geocaches, visit http://www.geocaching.com.
Geocaching doesn’t have to be an all day adventure. While there are many that require hiking and long trips, there are just as many that can be found in towns or right along the road. Geocaching can be fun for anyone regardless of age, ability or fitness level. Since they are all around us, you can be sure to find one that will fit to your ability level. You can plan a whole day around one or two geocaches along with a trip to Raystown Lake, a local cave, or a beautiful State Park such as Trough Creek. You can grab a quick one while passing through Huntingdon and shopping at the local artisan shops. Or try to log twenty in a day and travel all over Huntingdon County. The possibilities are endless. Just don’t forget to record your finds at geocaching.com, so that you can keep up with and even brag about how many you have conquered.

By Michelle McCall and Brigit Seager

Categories: 2015 Visitors Guide, Outdoor Recreation, Things to Do | Leave a comment

Father’s Day in the Raystown Lake Region of Pennsylvania

What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than with one of these trip packages!

Angry Musky Outfitters guided fishing trip on Raystown Lake
“Catching with Captain Kirk Reynolds” at Raystown Lake

Go catching with Captain Kirk Reynolds! Kirk is a highly energetic and motivated 31 year old USCG certified Captain. He has been fishing Raystown Lake for more than 25 years; ever since he could cast a rod! Kirk fishes hundreds of days each year and provides individual and personable service for each unique lake excursion. Kirk is known for constantly adjusting his fishing tactics whether it be trolling, live bait, or casting to provide his valued clients with the best opportunity to catch the most fish. Kirk scouts out the hot spots even on the days without a charter in order to stay on top of the fish, their feeding habits, and their locations. Kirk promises each group an enjoyable, unforgettable, and relaxing fishing trip packed with tons of fishing excitement!

Trip notes:

– Guided fishing boat tour with Angry Musky Outfitters
– We suggest lunch at the Marina Café, Lake Raystown Resort – An RVC Outdoor Destination

Angry Musky Outfitter
Captain Kirk Reynolds
Lake Raystown Resort – An RVC Outdoor Destination
3101 Chipmunk Crossing, Entriken, PA
(814) 280-1344
www.rvcoutdoors.com/lake-raystown-resort
http://angrymuskyoutfitters.sharepoint.com/Pages/default.aspx

Seven Points Marina pontoon boat excursion on Raystown Lake
“Raycation Sampler” at Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania

8_AELandesPhotography_RaystownBoat_1204130100The RAYSTOWN FUN begins when you rent a Seven Points Marina pontoon boat. Imagine a beautiful day and miles of Raystown Lake waiting for you. The pristine waters in the many serene coves are great for fishing and relaxing. Try skiing or jump on a tube and take a thrilling ride. Skis, tube, tow rope, ski vests, and all safety equipment are included in rental.

The 8,300-acre, 30-mile long Raystown Lake was created in the early 1970s and is a popular water destination for fisherman, boaters, kayakers and all water enthusiasts. The Raystown Lake Recreation Area welcomes nearly 2 million visitors per year to the lake and the public land surrounding it for world-class fishing, hiking, hunting, mountain biking, boating, picnics and more in scenery that has been rated as some of the 100 Best Scenic Views in America by ReserveAmerica.com’s The Camping Club! Raystown Lake is a popular spot for swimming and water skiing for all ages. Raystown Lake is the largest lake entirely within Pennsylvania.

Trip notes:

– Seven Points Marina pontoon boat
– Self-guided excursion
– Water skis and 1 person towable tube included
– We suggest lunch at Lighthouse Concessions at Seven Points Recreation Area, Raystown Lake

Seven Points Marina
5922 Seven Points Marina Drive
Hesston, PA 16647
(814) 658-3074
www.7pointsmarina.com

 

Rothrock Outfitters guided kayak trip on the Juniata River
“Kayak on the Juniata River”, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania

Paddle your kayak by wooded banks on history-laden gentle waterways between Huntingdon and Mapleton Depot, Pennsylvania. You will enjoy the views of the interesting rock formations and be sure to watch the skies for the bald eagles that frequent this section of the Juniata River. We have a popular group tour planned that includes 4 kayaks, shuttle service and guiding on this placid, beautiful portion of the Juniata River.

Trip notes:

Huntingdon to Mapleton Depot
– Group trip
– Rental kayaks
– Shuttle service to Huntingdon launch and return from Mapleton Depot end point
– Guided trip 4 hours
– We suggest lunch at Standing Stone Coffee Company in Huntingdon, PA

Rothrock Outfitters
418 Penn Street
Huntingdon, PA 16652
(814) 643-7226
www.rothrockoutfitters.com

For more information contact the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau at (888) 729-7869 (toll free) or visit www.Raystown.org for information on accommodations in the Raystown Lake Region of Pennsylvania.

Categories: Group Travel, Outdoor Recreation, Things to Do | Leave a comment

100 Mile Journey to Raise Awareness of Pennsylvania Tourism Industry

Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Matt Price is leading this trip on the Juniata River and Susquehanna River. You can follow the journey at www.PaddleForPATourism.org. Paddlers are welcome to join the trip — especially for the last leg into Harrisburg. Launch for the first day of the trip Riverside Park, Mapleton Depot, PA at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 27, 2015. Launch for the last leg is from Riverfront Campground, Duncannon, PA at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Here are the details released to media:

Paddle for PA Tourism launches on 100 mile waterway journey 4/27/2015

Matt Price is leading a 100 mile paddling trip to raise awareness of PA Tourism. Launching 4/27/2015. Photo by Ed Stoddard, http://www.paddleforpatourism.org

MAPLETON DEPOT, PA: Beginning on the morning of April, 27, 2015 a group of Pennsylvania travel industry professionals and advocates will embark on a 100-mile journey down the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers from Mapleton to Harrisburg, arriving on Saturday, May 2nd, the day before the annual Pennsylvania Tourism Summit.

The goals of the trek are to build awareness of Pennsylvania’s travel and tourism industry and to raise funds for TravelPAC, the official Political Action Committee of the Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism (PATT). TravelPAC uses funds to directly support political candidates for elected positions in Pennsylvania government who have demonstrated a commitment to support one of the state’s largest revenue generating and job creating industries—Travel and Tourism.

The through-paddlers include PATT President/CEO Rob Fulton of Harrisburg, Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Matt Price of Huntingdon, Seven Points Marina Tour Boat Captain Steve Prosser of Hesston, and Miles Partnership Senior Vice President Jay Salyers of Boulder, CO.

The group will experience a variety of lodging types on their journey ranging from a public Leave-No-Trace camping island managed by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to a luxurious bed and breakfast located at one of Pennsylvania’s wineries, and many options in between.

The paddlers will be blogging about their experiences at http://www.PaddleForPATourism.org, which is also where supporters can make a contribution to TravelPAC. According to Pennsylvania law, TravelPAC may only accept contributions from personal accounts or credit cards, and may not accept contributions from corporate or partnership entities, including not-for-profit organizations. Organizations, corporations or partnerships that would like to support Paddle for PA Tourism may contribute as a sponsor for the event through the Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism.

The group invites anyone with an interest in PA’s travel and tourism economy to join them for single-day segments of the trip, and would like to get as many paddlers as possible for the final leg on Saturday, May 2nd from Duncannon to City Island in Harrisburg. Rental equipment and shuttle services are available from local outfitters. Check http://www.VisitPA.com for outfitters in the appropriate area. Details on joining the event can be found at http://www.PaddleforPATourism.org.

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Trough Creek State Park.

By Helena Kotala

It’s always been one of my favorite places — the rhododendron-filled gorge, sun filtering in through the pines, and the rushing of the rocky stream combine to create a vibe of serenity. The enchanting swinging bridge, curiosity-inducing Ice Mine, and gravity-defying Balanced Rock instill a sense of wonder.

Rainbow Falls after a big rain. Photo by Michael Reed.

Rainbow Falls after a big rain. Photo by Michael Reed.

This is Trough Creek State Park, a place that, in my opinion, is one of the prettiest in the Raystown Region, a spot definitely worth visiting. The 554-acre park surrounds the scenic gorge created by Great Trough Creek as it cuts through Terrace Mountain before emptying into Raystown Lake. The park is also enveloped by other public lands — Rothrock State Forest and Raystown Lake Recreation Area, creating a large tract of contiguous forested land.

The area is best known for its hiking trails, which take users past many spots of natural beauty. One of the most popular routes, Balanced Rock Trail, crosses the creek on a suspension bridge and winds along the hillside amongst rhododendrons for a short distance before crossing another bridge at Rainbow Falls. The Falls are named for the occasional rainbow created by the sun filtering in through the trees hitting the mist. The falls can be just a trickle during the drier times of the year, but in the spring and after a big rain, they are transformed into an impressive flow of water cascading down the hillside into Great Trough Creek. The trail continues past the falls up to Balanced Rock, an “erosion remnant” that is precariously balanced on a cliff high above the gorge. Though the rock looks like it will fall over the edge at any moment, it’s been there for many years, and has barely moved from its original position. Don’t be the tourist that tries to push it over.

From these must-see sights, there are a number of trails that branch off that can easily extend a hike and expose visitors to other beautiful parts of the park. Ledges Trail, Rhododendron Trail, and Copperas Rock Trail all traverse the western side of the Gorge, while Boulder Trail and Laurel Run Trail take hikers along the side of Terrace Mountain on the eastern side. The park can also be used as a trailhead for the Terrace Mountain Trail, a ~30-mile thru-hike that runs along the mountainside for the length of Raystown Lake.

Many of the trails are steep and rocky, so if you go, use caution and wear appropriate footwear.

You can pick up a park map at the park office, located on your left as you enter the park. The maps shows all the hiking trails, as well as other points of interest.

On your way into the park, be sure to stop and check out Copperas Rock, a large outcrop overhanging the river that is naturally dyed a yellowish-orange color. Further into the park, you’ll encounter yet another interesting geologic feature—the Ice Mine. The Ice Mine is not a mine, but an opening into the hillside that acts as a passageway for cool air. Walk down the steps into the little hole in the ground and you will feel a sudden burst of winter—a real treat on a hot summer day.

Trough Creek also has a rich history. American Indians inhabited the Gorge for years before white settlers found the area. Paradise Furnace was founded in 1827, and began producing approximately 12 tons of iron a day. During the twentieth century, the Civilian Conservation Corps came to the area as well, planting trees, constructing recreational facilities, and creating what is now Trough Creek State Park. Edgar Allen Poe is also rumored to have spent time in the area, and the ravens inhabiting cliffs above the gorge were supposedly inspiration for his famous poem, “The Raven.”

Trough Creek is an area that is great for day use, but also provides enough to see and do to warrant a longer stay. The park does have 29 campsites, which are open from mid-April to mid-December, offering accommodations for shoulder seasons as well as the peak summer months. The park is truly a treat to visit any time of year, and with its remarkable beauty and plethora of trails and outdoor recreation opportunities, you’ll quickly discover why it’s on MY list of favorite places in the Raystown Lake Region. Go and check it out for yourself!

#Raystownselfie at Rainbow Falls. Photo by Michael Reed.

#Raystownselfie at Rainbow Falls. Photo by Michael Reed.

Helena Kotala is an outdoor enthusiast and writer living between Huntingdon and State College. You can read more about her adventures in the Raystown Lake Region and elsewhere at http://helenawrites.wordpress.com/

Categories: 2015 Visitors Guide, Outdoor Recreation, Things to Do | 1 Comment

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

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

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