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  1. #1
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    Default Which GET route in Pennsylvania is best?

    Which in Pennsylvania is better route to take on Great Eastern Trail going north? Standing Stone/Tuscarora trail or Mid State Trail. More camping sites? more water? more resupply points? more sites to see?
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

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    I'm pretty sure all three are part of the GET.
    Hokey Pokey

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hikerhead View Post
    I'm pretty sure all three are part of the GET.
    Yes they are all units of the GET, but.....
    The Mid State and the former Link Trail now known as the Standing Stone Trail split off from the Tuscarora on the southern end.
    And I can only hike one or the other going north (not doing a loop) where they again merge into the Mid State Trail, and continue on to the New York line.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

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    I've only hike the Standing Stone Trail and a little bit of the Mid State Trail so I'm no expert on it. The SST was different than hiking the AT I must say. The SST had a little road walking but not much. Finding water was not an issue, not much on the ridgelines like on the AT. Camping had to be planned out when you got to the northern part of the SST where it went thru State Game Lands. There was a few places where the trail just went away, that's probably been fixed by now. KiOeh is the man to ask. Just be sure to get the guidebook and maps on whatever trial you do.
    Hokey Pokey

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    The eastern route (Tuscarora to Cowans Gap, SST to Greenwood, MST Greenwood Supr to Detweiler Jct) is shorter, a little easier, has 1 (soon to be 2) shelters, and actually a little higher roadwalk percentage. Will post more data later.

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    West route:

    Hancock, MD to Paw Paw Tunnel, opposite Paw Paw, WV: 32 miles, passing 7 designated campsites along C&O towpath. Light resupply in Little Orleans, MD, the (in?)famous Bill's Place, although Hancock has plenty.

    Paw Paw tunnel to MD 144: 18 miles through MD's Green Ridge State Forest. Shelter at 7 mile point. Not sure if map or guide is generally available, best to call the GRSF office. I may know more next month on this.

    MD 144 to PA/MD border: Unblazed as of last month. 5 miles either on the local volunteer's suggested route along Dry Ridge Rd through nondescript rural hills, or diverging into the town of Flintstone with PO, Stone Age Cafe, and Mennonite store the Alpine Pantry, good for resupply, except on Sundays, and especially if you can get them to break up their month-long-Mennonite-family quantities into week-long hiker quantities.

    PA/MD border to Detweiler Junction along Mid State Trail: 197.6 km (123 miles) according to http://www.hike-mst.org , sections 1 thru 8. Legal trailside camping is presently nonexistent on sections 2 through 6 and water availability is very spotty especially on sections 2 and 3 around Everett. Trail passes right through Everett and Williamsburg past full groceries.

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    East route:

    Hancock, MD to Cowans Gap SP, PA: 41 miles. Camping and water is a bit sparse between the C&O towpath (1 campsite 4 mi from Hancock) and US 30, things look up after you pass the biker bar, shelter about 4 miles short of Cowans Gap.

    Cowans Gap SP, PA to Greenwood Furnace SP, PA: Standing Stone Trail, 75 miles. Maps on http://www.hike-sst.org are up to date, guide is not quite but there are errata on the web site. Camping and water a bit spotty south of US 22, water variable north of there. C-store and good pizza in town of Three Springs (roadwalk right by), C-store and maybe 1/2 grocery in Mapleton aka Mapleton Depot, or hitch three miles to full grocery in Mount Union. There is also a no-camping zone north of 22, need to plan a bit.

    Greenwood Furnace SP to Detweiler Junction: Greenwood Spur of Mid State Trail, 10.8 km (7 mi). Great campsite just short of Detweiler Jct.

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    Thanks Ki0eh, So is my math about correct from Hancock to Detweiler Junction?
    West Route about 178 miles
    East Route about 123 miles
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  9. #9

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    My shame bathes me. Another hiker knows her .My PA. Biblicly even. Oh the shame.
    matthewski

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    Thanks Ki0eh, So is my math about correct from Hancock to Detweiler Junction?
    West Route about 178 miles
    East Route about 123 miles
    Seems so.

    After going through that exercise it seems that resupply is actually easier along the west route. But water and legal camping is a big issue in southern PA partway along the west-route section of MST.

    The west route has the Paw Paw tunnel (big in MD and in transportation history), a nicely remote section of C&O towpath. Section 2 of MST has views compared to the better known North Fork Mountain in WV but extremely rugged and dry. The southern MST has a number of other vistas but maybe more widely spaced than along SST/Tuscarora.

    Along the Tuscarora (east route) Big Mountain vista is by itself probably better than anything along the PA A.T. and a number of great vistas are along the SST. The Thousand Steps are an interesting bit of history and scenic as well, some people are more impressed with them than others.

    The nearest approach to State College (a big town, good outfitter, currently Playboy's #2 ranked party school, full everything except for a not great airport) is on MST, on the west route but 1/2 day south of Detweiler Junction. That 1/2 day is great classic scenery both on the MST itself and also along side cutoff trails through a displaced Adirondack-ish bog called Bear Meadows - these are so close to town that they are better maintained than other MST cutoffs. Tussey Mountain ski area at Galbraith Gap, 1 mile off MST at the closest point, has city bus service to downtown, and a big enough trailhead parking lot that hitching should be easy with lots of trail running girls (and guys) in this area.

    So that can be considered as a diversion for a couple of days even if you wind up doing the east route.

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    That's the kind of stuff that helps me look at the options. I have done the C&O through there and yes the Paw Paw tunnel was a blast. I don't do well in that much dark but it's still a thrill. But other than the AT and some of the Horse Shoe Trail, I haven't seen much of Penn.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

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    There is also a tunnel on the MST (just north of Poe Paddy State Park) about a day and a half north of Detweiler Junction. So either way one goes, one would still go thru this on the way to NY.

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    East route outline map for Standing Stone Trail (Link Trail). Cowans Gap SP, PA to Greenwood Furnace SP, PA:

    http://www.yorkhikingclub.com/mapl2.gif
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

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    You have noticed that the current SST maps are online, I trust? http://www.hike-sst.org/sst-maps.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
    You have noticed that the current SST maps are online, I trust? http://www.hike-sst.org/sst-maps.htm
    Yeah thanks for reminding me. Was having trouble before getting some of them without error. (the click on the map below to zoom in on your area of interest wasn't working for me, now I can. Nice to get an idea on map 4 of where the Tuscarora and Standing Stone split.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    Nice to get an idea on map 4 of where the Tuscarora and Standing Stone split.
    That location did change in 2010 - used to continue north on the TT some 4 miles out of Cowans Gap State Park, now the split is right next to the State Park lake.

    The net effect is to move out of an easy walking valley with water then a stiff climb, to an easier climb then a rocky ridgewalk, apparently we didn't have enough of those already in PA. (It is more scenic but trying to think of the thru's perspective I have mixed emotions, also it moved away from the historic Forbes Road but that had turned into just a logging road anyway.)

    So if you see a discrepancy here vs. some older journals, that's why.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
    That location did change in 2010 - used to continue north on the TT some 4 miles out of Cowans Gap State Park, now the split is right next to the State Park lake.

    The net effect is to move out of an easy walking valley with water then a stiff climb, to an easier climb then a rocky ridgewalk, apparently we didn't have enough of those already in PA. (It is more scenic but trying to think of the thru's perspective I have mixed emotions, also it moved away from the historic Forbes Road but that had turned into just a logging road anyway.)

    So if you see a discrepancy here vs. some older journals, that's why.
    I noticed that, looks like the trail now goes around the southern part of the lake and not across the dam. That little backwoods camping spot at the end of the dam came in handy when we got a late start...didn't plan it that way, it's just happened.

    Forbes Rd, is that the first rd you came to from the State Park with the nice cabin. What's the history on that?
    Hokey Pokey

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    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    Thanks Ki0eh, So is my math about correct from Hancock to Detweiler Junction?
    West Route about 178 miles
    East Route about 123 miles
    More math:
    Detweiler Junction to New York State line on Mid State Trail 319.8 KM /198.7 miles?
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  19. #19
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    The Forbes Road was cut during the French and Indian War. http://www.warforempire.org/visit/forbes_landing.aspx One of the few sections not later overlaid with a modern road is thought to be the treadway north roughly from the Cowans Gap dam to past the old Link/Tuscarora junction and continuing on into private land. Where the SST used to turn left to head up the first big hill out of Cowans Gap on the Todd Trail was where it left the Forbes Road. The Boy Scouts used to continue on to Burnt Cabins village but I don't think that is currently maintained on the private land.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    More math:
    Detweiler Junction to New York State line on Mid State Trail 319.8 KM /198.7 miles?
    Without a calculator or the data on my other computer that appears about right. We have a relocation planned this summer that will make Section 18 a bit longer.

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