Canoe Creek State Park

Where’s The Trail?

DK Back Half Reverse:

In 2017, we turned the Dirty Kiln Trail Race upside down. I had all the runners toe the line and then said, “This year, we are running the race in reverse!”  Someday I am going to pull that card out of my hat. But until then, here is the “back half” of the Dirty Kiln course.

The view atop Moore’s hill of Scotch Valley in the fall.

This course starts on the other side of the lake at the boat launch off Beaver Dam Road on the eastern side of the lake. From here, you would go “upstream” toward the north, past the ponds and toward the steel bridge crossing the creek. This course will follow the back-half of the Dirty Kiln course so from the bridge, you will take the trail directly in front of you up the hill instead of making any turns left or right. In my opinion, the reverse way is more challenging that the normal race course since the uphills are longer and the downhills are more steeper. After climbing to the top, make a left back down. The trail will eventually jump up back up the hill until a long downhill through the mature forest before a hook to the right, across an access road and switchback to behind the kilns. After making a right behind the kilns, it is a series of long climbs only interupted with a sweeping downhill toward the water tower. At the top of Moore’s Hull, you descend and bear toward the left, past the “Bat Mines” until a lookout over Scotch Valley and then a steep downhill to the bottom of hill. Crossing Queen Anne Creek, the course jump quickly and steeply up Smith Hillside before a relaxed downhill to the main parking lots at Canoe Creek and the start/finish of the Dirty Kiln.

However, you still need to get on the other side of the lake to your vehicle, so the course take you to the spillway and onto the other side as it hugs the shoreline to the lake, over the dam, and back to the parking lot where you began. (Strava Route)

— Submitted by: Benjamin J. Mazur

DK M3:

This course include three of the biggest climbs while still staying on the “Kiln” side of Mountain View.

First, from the main parking lot near Pavillion 2, take the trail past the Limestone Kilns and then take a right at Hartman Heartache all the way to the top. After cresting the summit, take a left on a connector trail to Moore’s Hill Trail and make a left and back down the hill.

Then… back back up Hartman’s Headache (a left after the reaching the bottom). Now, instead of making a left, continue straight and the junction and mae a right along the top of the ridge and down Horses Back to behind the kilns. From here, make your way until you reach the base of Hartman’s Heartache. Repeat until you are spent.

The graphic and Strava route is considered a one and a half of a loop. (Strava Route)

— Submitted by: Benjamin J. Mazur




This run starts in the middle of Williamsburg, PA which is 6.6 miles west of the park office at Canoe Creek State Park by taking east US Route 22 to PA-866 and parking at the Williamsburg Station of the Lower Trail (Rails-to-Trails Trail). From the lot facing toward the river, go left or to the northwest. The first 2 miles of this course is on rail trail. Be sure to stop at mile 0.9 and walk toward the river and gaze upon Indian Chief Rock. The juniata and Susquehanna River system is one of the oldest rivers on Earth and here before the Appalachian Mountains where formed. Here, less-weather resistant, upthrusted rocks created a towering spire.

I Scream. You Scream. We All Scream for Ice Cream Truck.

At mile 2, take a left up Lower Pine Road and then an immediate right onto Wertz Road. Don’t laugh at mile 2.2 at the Sky Toilet up on the hill on your left. Your will know it when you see it.  At the 2.6 mark is the Blue Hole, a deep limestone quarry that is a favorite training ground for scuba drivers. At the 5K mark, make a right onto a gamelands road. This route slowly goes up Locke Mountain to a vast lookout at mile 4.3. The final reward comes at at mile 4.8 to an adandoned ice truck. WTF? (Strava Route)

Going back the way to came is just shy of 10 miles but the more adventurous can continue along the ridge with “escapes” at a powerline at the — mark or all the way to Locke Mountain Road which would be a — out and back.

— Submitted by: Benjamin J. Mazur




What Else Is There To Do?

While at Canoe Creek State Park, we hope that you appreciate the historical and natural significance of this state park.

Geologic formations in and around today’s Canoe Creek State Park are rich in limestone. This limestone was extracted and used for many purposes, including supplying a raw material for the once thriving iron and steel industry of Pennsylvania. The park has several old quarry operations around Moore’s Hill. Once mined, the limestone was taken to a kiln and heated. Two calcining plants (limekilns) operated in the park during the early 1900s. The Blair Limestone Company Kiln remnants are the focus of historical and interpretive programs and displays. This company was a subsidiary of Jones and Laughlin Steel Company of Pittsburgh, Pa.

Canoe Creek State Park maintains a variety of habitats for wildlife. Old fields, wetlands, a lake, and a limestone deep mine are interspersed with deciduous woodlots, which provide excellent habitat for more than 200 species of birds and mammals. Canoe Creeks S.P. hosts a winter hibernation site and summer maternity site for bats including state and federally endangered species, the park is a Pennsylvania Important Mammal Area designated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The Frank Felbaum Bat Sanctuary hosts a nursery colony of little brown bats. Historically an important colony due to its numbers, it has attracted the attention of both park visitors and biologists throughout the years.

On warm summer nights, visitors attend programs and watch the emergence of scores of bats. A gated limestone mine serves as a monitored hibernation site for several species of bats, including state and federally endangered species and is along the Dirty Kiln half marathon course.


Where to Eat/Drink?

A hazy IPA and the steak tacos from the U.S. Hotel Tavern.

U.S. Hotel Tavern: The U.S. Hotel Tavern in Hollidaysburg (12 minute drive from Canoe Creek) is where the Allegheny Trailrunners staff eats and drinks after the Dirty Kiln and throughout the year. The historic U.S. Hotel has been a part of Hollidaysburg since  1835 when the building was initially used to accommodate westward travelers with lodging, food, and spirits at the terminus of Pennsylvania Canal and the Allegheny Portage Railroad. The rail yard across from the tavern was once a lake where the canal boats where lifted onto the railcars. Hollidaysburg was connected with the Great American West and a vital link in the development of industrializing Johnstown and Pittsburgh. The US Hotel burned in 1871 then rebuilt in 1886, and established a brewery in the building next door. In 1905, the cut block barroom was added to the structure and still serves as the barroom today. The hand-carved mahogany back bar, beveled silvered mirrors, hand leaded stain glass windows and a brass foot rail, under which is a fresh flow through spittoon, are original to the 1905 design of the bar. Be sure to ask the bartender to see the spittoon in action since it still works! The fresh flow through spittoon is a pre-Prohibition relic that can only be found in a limited number of bars in the United States. During World War II, the Navy used the U.S. Hotel as a radio school where the very same tiled bar area was used as a shower room.

When it comes to beer, there are 14 taps available and usually there are a few IPAs, a porter, a couple of stouts on tap. Be sure to check out the cooler (or ask for the list) for some more interesting, hard to find beers. They have one of the best happy-hours around with half-off drafts and $2 off apps Monday, Tuesday, Thursday at 4 to 6pm; 4pm to 8pm on Wednesday and 3 to 5pm Fridays. My favorite are the Fig and Pig pizza, tacos and the best mac and cheese around. (Google Maps)

— Submitted by: Benjamin J. Mazur

Korean BBQ Pork Sammy with Sesame Cilantro Slaw on Ciabatta from Mayfield Eatery.

More eats and drinks: If you need just a quick bite so you can get back on the trails, Gearhearts Meat Shop on Turkey Valley Road is 3 minutes from the park. Get the pulled pork sandwhich or a burger – you won’t regret it!

In Hollidaysburg, the main street through the downtown. Places we recommend is cozy Allegheny Crepes and Creamery for breakfast or lunch between Penn and Union Streets; Mayfield Eatery (breakfast and lunch) is between Montgomery and Front Street; Shan Nicole’s Irish Pub (wings, burgers and beer) is on the corner of Allgheny and Front streets and on Front Street is approriately named Front Street Pizza and Deli who I believe has the best NY-style PA in the borough.

— Submitted by: Benjamin J. Mazur

Last and Not Least:

While in town, stop in and support Brush Mountain Running and Outdoors in Altoona. Co-owned and operated by Jennifer Soisson is a trail race director herself (Lost Turkey Ultras).

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