Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tuscarora State Park, PA

Tuscarora State Park - Pennsylvania DCNR

GPS Coordinates 40.80934, -76.02075
Parking at the visitor center - much less crowded than the day use parking and starting the hike from here avoids the beach where dogs are not allowed.  Plus it is up high and there some nice countryside views.

Tuscarora State Park - PA DCNR

The Spirit of Tuscarora Trail has some funky blazing.  It starts out as yellow then the trail forms two loops, the first one blazed white, the second loop blazed red.  The blue trail is not on the map and that connects to the road for a short road walk to form the loop around the lake.  The Lake View Trail is blazed yellow.  At the dam there is a red-blazed trail that is not on the map.  The Crow Trail is not blazed nor are there any signs so it can be confusing when the trail forks.

HIKE DISTANCE:  7.6 miles

It's very pretty up at the visitor center.
Directly across the parking lot from the visitor center is a sign for the Forest Edge Trail.  The Ravine Trail is not on the map.
The wind turbine which makes a handy landmark from other areas in the park.
The Forest Edge Trail runs along the edge of the forest before ...
... it enters the forest just before the road.
Keeping right on the Old Log Trail which descends ...
... to the day use lot.  Keep right a few steps then turn right on the ...
... Spirit of Tuscarora Trail.
A very scenic trail with views of Tuscarora Lake.
The trail starts out with yellow blazes.
Tuscarora Lake
At an intersection the blazes become white.  This is the first loop of the Spirit of Tuscarora Trail.  We stayed left at all intersections.
Shawnee tends to lag behind when her cousin Sebastian is not with us.  She got to liking hiking with him but he wasn't able to come this weekend.
Locust Creek
Keeping left on the red loop of the Spirit of Tuscarora Trail.
The red-blazed trail makes a hard right where there is an old picnic table at Locust Creek on the left.  But if you continue straight ...
... there is a blue-blazed trail that is not on the map.
This is a very pretty trail that climbs up from Locust Creek but still follows the creek from up above.
It ends at the road where we needed to turn left but hopping the guardrail was not doable for Shawnee.
Fortunately, we were able to go a short distance to the right and walk around the guardrail.
Getting ready to cross Locust Creek on the bridge.
The first two drives on the left are private property.
It's the third left,  a gravel road, that leads back into the park and another parking lot that could be used for this hike.
Looks like a red-tailed hawk.
The gravel road leads straight to the Crow Trail with parking on the right just before the barrier.
A white blaze - there aren't many and the ones after this one are confusing.
We kept right at this first fork thinking it was the fork on the map after the trail that leaves right which is on the map. Turns out, this one is not on the map but I didn't know that at the time.
Another fork with a white blaze.  Thinking the Crow Trail continued to the left (it did) we went right just to have a look.
That came out to a tree planting area and a mowed trail continued on ahead.  I had wanted to take the Locust Mountain Trail but did not think this was it (when I got home and uploaded my track I realized it was).
That wind turbine at the visitor center in the distance.
Guess what she wants?
So we took a break then retraced.
Continuing on the left fork.
That descended right down to the lake.  So this is that trail on the map that dead ends at the lake. 
This place will be loaded with Rhododendron when they bloom.
We retraced and found a yellow-blazed trail.  Turned out to be the Lake View Trail.
Fiddlehead Fern
The boat launch across the lake.  That is where we would be leaving the lake later in the hike.
But for now ...
... on to ...
... the dam.
On the other side of the dam the yellow Lake View Trail continues and comes very close to steep drop offs.
Coming up on the boat launch in the cove where we turn right.
No more yellow blazes after the turn into the cove.
At the parking lot turn left towards the restrooms and then it is pretty much find your way back to the visitor center the best you can because even though the map shows trails, there are no trail signs or blazes.
A trail from the restroom.
My balloon!  But it is too high up in the tree, darnit.
A little bit of park road walking...
... then there are some mowed paths ...
... back to the visitor center.


  1. This looks like a nice hike and a nice spot to just drive to also and go kayaking. Shawnee looks great. Thanks for sharing. Joanne

  2. Looks like a beautiful day! Thanks for the pics!