|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Weiser State Forest, named for a local man who maintained favorable relationships with Native Americans in the area, exists in eight separate tracts of land in four counties of south central Pennsylvania. The Haldeman Tract, through which this route runs, is in northern Dauphin County, near the town of Halifax and about 50 minutes from the city of Harrisburg. Given the proximity to this major population center, and to the famed Appalachian Trail, I expected these trails to be more heavily used. It was clear, however, that the Haldeman Tract provides a fabulous retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the region. The trip for me began on the Iron Mine Trail, and, in about .25 miles, I switched to the Deep Hollow Trail. This section of the trip was probably the most enjoyable - a stream valley with a bubbling brook to provide the soundtrack, and a series of steep-ish climbs - enough to challenge, but not enough to wipe you out. The high point (literally) of the journey was taking a short side trail to a hang gliding area/vista. Definitely take this off shoot - it's worth the view. The next 3-4 miles were rocky and somewhat technical, but extremely enjoyable. I plan to come back in June, as there is a multitude of mountain laurel that should bloom around then. I'm sure there will be plenty of other spring wildflowers out there too. The long down hill on the Iron Mine Trail back to the start was scenic, and I'm glad it was a wide, non-technical trail, as I was a little jelly-legged by then. All in all, a fabulous trip! Check out http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/stateforests/weiser.aspx for info on Weiser State Forest. If you click on the PDF version of the map, zoom in on this area of the forest, and then "print current view" you can print a fairly decent map of the area. The map takes a few minutes to load. It's available at: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/stateforests/maps/fd18_map.pdf.