Big Springs Drift

Karthaus, Pennsylvania

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The Quehanna Wild Area is a most spectacular tract of Pennsylvania woods. Ravaged by man’s destructive logging practices and the tornadic forces of nature, this place is definitely “wild.” This 50,000-acre area was originally state forest lands that were transferred to the Curtiss Wright Corporation for jet engine and nuclear research in the mid 1950s. In 1966 the land was given back to the state and has since been designated a Wild Area. I guess if you pull a night ride here and notice that the critters glow in the dark, you’ll know what they did with all that spent nuclear waste. The ride begins with some stout singletrack on the Wykoff Trail. Getting more burly by the mile, the route dives down to the Devils Elbow and crosses Big Springs Draft and then climbs again on some of the toughest but most enjoyable singletrack. Highlights: long sections of stellar technical singletrack, great wildlife viewing, one of the most remote woodland areas in Pennsylvania. Tread: rugged, rocky, technical singletrack, grassy old woods and forest road.

Big Springs Drift Professional Review and Guide

"The Quehanna Wild Area is a most spectacular tract of Pennsylvania woods. Ravaged by man’s destructive logging practices and the tornadic forces of nature, this place is definitely “wild.” This 50,000-acre area was originally state forest lands that were transferred to the Curtiss Wright Corporation for jet engine and nuclear research in the mid 1950s. In 1966 the land was given back to the state and has since been designated a Wild Area. I guess if you pull a night ride here and notice that the critters glow in the dark, you’ll know what they did with all that spent nuclear waste.

The ride begins with some stout singletrack on the Wykoff Trail. Getting more burly by the mile, the route dives down to the Devils Elbow and crosses Big Springs Draft and then climbs again on some of the toughest but most enjoyable singletrack. Highlights: long sections of stellar technical singletrack, great wildlife viewing, one of the most remote woodland areas in Pennsylvania. Tread: rugged, rocky, technical singletrack, grassy old woods and forest road."

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Karthaus
Distance: 12.7
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Technical Difficulty: Difficult
Physical Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 2 - 4 hours
Trailhead Elevation: 2,000 feet
Top Elevation: 2,100 feet
Local Contacts: Pennsylvania State Forest 717-783-7941
Local Maps: USGS Devils Elbow; DCNR Pennsylvania State Forest: Moshannon State Forest map, Quehanna Trail map
Driving Directions: Directions to Big Springs Drift

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May 2018