If you’re looking for outdoor adventures with a unique flare, make the trip to Blair County, Pennsylvania. The county’s state park features massive kilns on one of its trails. A family friendly bike trail offers a trip through Pennsylvania’s railroad history. A Revolutionary War Fort invites you to experience nature trails that surround the historical site.
Canoe Creek State Park was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and its Bureau of Parks as one of “Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks”. The park offers 12 miles of trails. They take you through forests, wetlands and along the lakeshore. One popular trail is the Limestone Loop. This 1.2 mile trail is rated as easy and follows the old railroad grade to the Blair Limestone Company Kilns used during the 1900s.
The kiln structures have remained as one of the park’s main features. Like many of the park’s trails, it’s a great trail for sighting woodland birds and wildflowers. Canoe Creek State Park is on the path followed by numerous species of migratory birds including waterfowl, bald eagles and ospreys. The wetlands provide habitat for birds like the bluebird, oriole, red-winged blackbird and the brown thrasher.
The Lower Trail continues to be a trail sought out by those interested in an outdoor adventure related to railroad history. Much of the Lower Trail was part of the original towpath of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal which operated in the 1800s. At the end of the canal era, the Pennsylvania Railroad began using the property. Eventually the railroad abandoned the land. It then became a unique place for recreational use and was opened to the public as The Lower Trail. The family friendly trail is nearly 17 miles and invites users on a trip through nature and history. Trailheads are called “Stations” because when the railroad ran, there were station stops at these locations. Along the trail there are remnants of the canal era, including remains of locks, foundations of lock tenders’ houses, and the historical Mt. Etna iron plantation area. Portions of the trail run along the Juniata River where there are parts of massive concrete rock crushers from abandoned stone quarries. It’s open year-round for biking, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching and photography.
Fort Roberdeau Historic Site is a 230-acre park with nature trails, exhibits, a picnic area and tours of the reconstructed Revolutionary War 1778 lead mine fort. The maintained trails are ideal for families with young children. They take you through the wooded forest, past sinkholes and past an open meadow. There is no cost to explore the grounds. Tours of the fort are available May through October for a minimal cost. The grounds are open all year.
For more information on things to do and places to stay, visit explorealtoona.com.