What to do in Rothrock State Forest

Rothrock State Forest is host to three State Parks; Whipple Dam, Greenwood Furnace and Trough Creek. In addition, five areas of land with special significance have been designated as State Forest Natural Areas.

Alan Seeger Natural Area was named in honor of a young American poet who lost his life in World War I. The area of about 150 acres contains some magnificent specimens of hemlock, the official State Tree, and white pine; these serve as reminders of the forest primeval. Detweiler Run Natural Area, containing about 45 acres, is located well to the head of the Detweiler Branch of Standing Stone Creek. The forest is quite isolated and is characterized by virgin white pine and hemlock with heavy undergrowth of rhododendron of unusual size. The Bear Meadows Natural Area consists largely of a swamp comparable to the glaciated areas found further north. About 325 acres in size, the area is a botanist's paradise. Here are found specimens of trees and shrubs found in very few locations of Pennsylvania. The Little Juniata Natural Area is of special geologic interest. Within the water gap is the exposure of one of the most prominent mountain-making formations in Pennsylvania, the Tuscarora sandstone. The Big Flat Laurel Natural Area located on a high mountain plateau near the intersection of Bear Gap and Gettis Ridge Roads features several acres of the State Flower, the Mountain Laurel.

The area in which the Rothrock State Forest is located has an interesting historical background. The well-known Jack's Mountain, through which the Juniata River flows, was named in honor of Captain Jack Armstrong, a famous Indian fighter. The name of Chief Logan, celebrated Indian Chief and scout during Revolutionary War days, is almost a byword in this region. The "Indian Steps" on State Forest land, legend has it, were built by the Delaware Indian tribes in order to quickly cross Tussey Mountain between Spruce Creek and Stone Creek.

There are three State Parks within the boundary; Whipple Dam, Greenwood Furnace and Trough Creek. State Forest Picnic Areas are located at Colerain, Pine Hill, Alan Seeger, and Penn-Roosevelt.

Five areas of State Forest Land with special significance have been designated as State Forest Natural Areas:

Alan Seeger Natural Area was named in honor of a young American poet who lost his life in World War I. The area of about 150 acres contains some magnificent specimens of hemlock, the official State Tree, and white pine; these serve as reminders of the forest primeval. Along the banks of the headwaters of Standing Stone Creek in Huntingdon County, an almost impenetrable growth of rhododendron is to be found. In early July the blooms of these glorious specimens are worth traveling miles to behold.

Detweiler Run Natural Area, containing about 45 acres, is located well to the head of the Detweiler Branch of Standing Stone Creek. The forest is quite isolated and is characterized by virgin white pine and hemlock with a heavy undergrowth of rhododendron of unusual size. The area can best be described as a wilderness.

The Bear Meadows Natural Area consists largely of a swamp comparable to the glaciated areas found further north. About 325 acres in size, the area is a botanist's paradise. Here are found specimens of trees and shrubs found in very few locations of Pennsylvania. Specimens of black and red spruce and balsam fir are found in the natural area. The pitcher plants, sundew and tree huckleberry may be found growing in the swamp. This area was designated a "Registered Natural Landmark" in 1966 by the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior.

The Little Juniata Natural Area is of special geologic interest. Within the water gap is the exposure of one of the most prominent mountain-making formations in Pennsylvania, the Tuscarora sandstone. This formation, which has a thickness at the locality of 132 feet is a very hard, white to greenish-white quartzite sandstone. Also of interest is a horizontal thrust fault along the railroad cut, and the abrupt 90-degree change in direction of the Little Juniata River which necessitated the construction of two one-way tunnels for the railroad which normally followed the meandering stream valley. In addition to the geologic significance of the water gap, the quality and productivity of the river in this area has made it a favored area for trout fishermen.

The Big Flat Laurel Natural Area, located on a high mountain plateau near the intersection of Bear Gap and Gettis Ridge Roads features several acres of our State Flower, the Mountain Laurel.

Recreation
The mountain streams are annually stocked with trout, while the Juniata River, which borders the forest, provides good fishing for bass and other warm water fish. Wildlife is abundant. The alert observer may see deer, bear, and many species of small game.

The Mid State Trail is a cross-country hiking trail in the Ridge and Valley Region of Central Pennsylvania. The main trail parallels the route of the old Penns Creek Indian Path. It follows roughly along the border between Huntingdon and Centre Counties for a distance of more than 50 miles connecting the Colerain Picnic Area and Poe Paddy State Park in the Bald Eagle State Forest. Extensive forested areas through which it passes characterize the trail. This provides the hiker with a variety of successional changes in forests from newly regenerated stands through mature and virgin timber stands. The ridge top route offers many natural vistas providing excellent views of the area. The route of the trail takes the hiker through the Thickhead Wild Area, Bear Meadows and Detweiler Natural Areas. The Alan Seeger Natural Area is on the Greenwood Spur.

The main trail is marked with orange paint blaze rectangles of 2 inches by 6 inches. Side trails are paint blazed with blue rectangles of the same size. A double blaze is used to warn of an approaching turn. Trail registers have been installed at a number of places along the trail. Overnight camping is permitted anywhere along the trail except in the Natural Areas or within 200 feet of any forest road.

The Mid State Trail is a rugged and demanding mountain top trail and the hiker must assess his own liabilities, realizing the difficulties and possible dangers involved.

Raystown Lake, an 8,300-acre recreation lake of good quality water is an attractive natural setting providing excellent opportunities for picnicking, boating, fishing, camping, hiking, hunting and swimming. This twisting lake, the largest wholly within Pennsylvania, extends 22 miles and has over 110 miles of shoreline.

Raystown Dam that is located on Raystown Branch forms the lake, 5.5 miles upstream of its junction with the Juniata River. The Raystown Dam is a major element in the Susquehanna River Basin flood control system. Constructed at a cost of 76 million dollars, the dam is designed to provide flood control, recreation, enhancement of fishing and wildlife habitat and water quality.

At present there are 18 different recreational facilities available at the lake. There are seven boat access areas with over 560 car and boat trailer parking spaces and at four of these there are picnic facilities. For the hiker and boater there are 3 boat-to-shore campgrounds. At the large Seven-Points Recreation Area, there are 114 fee campsites, a large beach and bathhouse, picnic facilities and a marina. A non-fee drive-in campground is also available on the lake. Below the dam on the regular run of the river there are a small primitive drive-in campground and two picnic areas with river access.

Location
Rothrock State Forest is located in central Pennsylvania. It is made up of a number of separate areas of State Forest land. The bulk of the area, comprising about 79,468 acres, is situated in northern Huntingdon, western Mifflin and southern Centre Counties. An area of 10,910 acres lying in southwestern Huntingdon County is located in the Great Trough Creek region. The remaining acreage is made up of smaller separate tracts of land

Climate
Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Rothrock State Forest area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging around 22 to 24 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 to -4 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range around 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 Celsius).

Address
District Forester
P.O. Box 403, Rothrock Lane
Huntingdon, PA 16652

Phone: 814-643-2340

Fax: 814-643-6304

  • Rothrock State Forest Travel Q&A

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