Road Trip!-Big Spring State Forest and northbound

Since living in this beautiful state, we have been trying to explore outside of our usual area.  There is just so much to see and that’s just in one county.  So road trip Sunday it was.

So we headed off to add another state park to our Pennsylvania State Park list.  There are 121 (yes, a lot) of these guys, so it’s going to take us a good bit to see them all.  Sunday was a perfect day to go out and explore, so we headed towards Big Spring State Forest Picnic Area to check it out.

Located in Perry County, Pennsylvania in the Tuscarora State Forest sits Big Spring State Forest Picnic Area.  Make sure you have the address to this place already in your phone because cell reception is spotty here (at least with Sprint) and you could drive right past it if you weren’t paying any attention. The parking lot was basically empty except for two cars and us, gravel lot, and lots of shade.  There was a single picnic table sitting in the lot and the road looked pretty even, no potholes.  I’m not sure how well a large Class A would go through this lot, so try to check it out on Google Maps before heading to this spot.

Pretty purple flower.

There is only one mile of hiking trails, the one which leads to an old railroad tunnel trail.  There is also overnight parking for the Iron Horse Trail which is a rail-trail that follows two abandoned rail beds in Perry County.  We weren’t looking to do any type of overnight hiking, so off to look at this old tunnel it was.

tunnel railroad
Trailhead for Old Railroad Tunnel trail. Someone’s math was a little off?

Walking through the forest and on this old railbed was pretty easy.  There was a set of old wooden steps halfway through that seemed like they were created for Sasquatch or someone with really, really, really long legs.  Lots of moss, a few birds, and some fungus that Aaron said looked like a brownie.

Maybe he was just hungry.

I’m glad he didn’t try to eat it.


Right before you arrive at the tunnel, there is a little picnic area.  There was a bunch of noisy folks just “hanging out” here for some reason.  We just walked past them and minded our own business to check out this tunnel that we came oh so far to see.


It was kind of weird to see this abandoned tunnel with no plaque or any type of information posted near it as to why it was abandoned.  It was also pretty creepy and we got some bad vibes from it.  When we got back into some decent cell reception later, we learned that the rock formations back in 1893 were proved to be more difficult than thought to excavate, so the railroad tunnel contractor went bankrupt after only excavating 100 feet on both ends.  You can read more about it by searching for Path Vally Railroad on the old Googler.

ghost pipe
Ghost pipe.

We headed back out and instead of taking the Sasquatch stairs, we headed over a small hill to the main road made of gravel.

Road Trip
No traffic!

From there, we headed towards the picnic area (which was under construction when we were there and there is no way for motor traffic to get to it) and found this old building.  Not sure what it is?

big spring state forest
What am I?

After looking around the picnic area and heading back to the car, we hadn’t decided where we would go next and we weren’t hungry for lunch yet, so Aaron pointed us north and we continued our road trip.  After driving through some beautiful farmland and thick forests, and a pit stop at Sheetz (who was tempting us with ads for burgers and ice cream) we ended up at Greenwood Furnace State Park outside of State College, PA.

Located in northeastern Huntingdon County, Greenwood Furnace State Park used to be an active community that flourished from 1834 until 1904.  There is a lake and picnic area and for once, we got to go inside of the visitor center of a Pennsylvania State Park.

Note to PA DCNR : Please have your visitors’ centers in your state parks open at least on Saturday’s during the winter!  Pretty please?

We found a picnic table in the busy picnic area and had lunch, which consisted of a really odd combination of food.  Then we scoped out the rest of the park, or whatever was close-by because it was getting late and we were a long way from home.  There’s plenty of activities to do in the park, so click on the link above to find out more!  We plan on coming back here later and checking out the campground very soon.

Thanks to the not really knowing the roads around here, and the weird way Pennsylvania laid out their roadways, we sorta-kinda got ourselves lost.  Thankfully, we picked up an old trusty paper map (still got lost) and there is little to no cell signal (Sprint) coverage this area.  We made it back home just in time to cook dinner and watch the sunset.  All in all, a perfect road trip!






Ashley Welton View All →

Freelance Graphic Designer based in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. I enjoy creating digital art, illustrations and photography. I also enjoy hiking, birding, cooking, reading, traveling and a nice bourbon or two.

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