Hot and humid, but in the shade of trees, summer hiking can be enjoyable. I’ve been hiking during every season in Pennsylvania and although summers are a bit more challenging with overgrown and unkept, narrow trails, the leaves from forest trees keeps the heat bearable. Pun intended! Keep an eye out for bears if you venture out!
Continuing my 52 State Park Challenge, I’m adding three more parks to the list, Big Springs State Park, Fowlers Hollow State Park, and Joseph E Ibberson Conservation Area.
Big Springs State Park is located in Tuscarora State Forest and has several hiking trails. I hiked a portion of Iron Horse Trail and Tunnel Trail. Details on the trails below, and a loop is possible by using connector trails.
The Iron Horse Trail provides a 10-mile loop hiking trail between Big Spring State Park and the Eby Cemetery along PA Route 274. This trail follows the grade of the Perry Lumber Company and the Path Valley railroads. An additional 167 miles of short, local hiking trails are located throughout the Tuscarora. The majority of these trails have signs at the starting and terminal points. Most of the trail maintenance is done by volunteers.
The Tunnel Trail, one mile in length, leads to the ruins of two narrow-gauge railroads. A display case containing information about those railroads is located at the trailhead in Big Spring State Park.
Fowlers Hollow State Park, nearby Big Springs State Park, also is a part of the Tuscarora State Forest. I hiked a portion of the Tuscarora Trail, which is the northern portion of an extensive 220-mile bypass route of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. The trails were very overgrown and I’d watch out for bears in the deep forest trail areas.
A short hike on the Evergreen Trail at the Joseph E Ibberson Conservation Area offers a nice, refreshing break from the workday. Not far from Harrisburg, I ventured out for a short, quick hike that was enjoyable. The trail begins at the east gate and is a nice loop trail that is also great for cross-country skiing.