Mileage/ Re-Route Update (posted 4.23.13)
The course for the 2013 Super Hike and Ultra Trail Run has changed in three locations, resulting in a more beautiful trail experience.
The first two relocations extend the trail along scenic Otter Creek. The first relocation is an extension along Otter Creek before the climb to Rt. 425 and Urey Overlook. For those of you who have hiked the course in the past, you may recall that from Kline Road, the Mason-Dixon Trail descends to Otter Creek. With the reroute, the trail now follows Otter Creek for .6 mile before ascending a series of switchbacks until reaching Rt. 425.
The second relocation, between Urey Overlook and Otter Creek Campground, takes further advantage of Otter Creek. Instead of turning left on a woods road that led to a gated crossing of Rt. 425, the new trail continues straight ahead, slabbing a hillside before crossing Rt. 425 and descending to Otter Creek. The new trail, with a few ups and downs, mainly follows the creek to the Rt. 425 bridge near the campground.
The Mason Dixon Trail System and the York Hiking Club have done a great job of rerouting the trail. An already-great route is now even better! Thank you to the Mason Dixon Trail System and York Hiking Club! New route maps will be posted as soon as possible on the Super Hike website.
The third change eliminates the long road-walk, from mile marker 15.7 to mile marker 18.3, that was due to dam construction activities at Holtwood Dam over the past three years. In 2013, after the course crosses the Susquehanna River on the Norman Wood Bridge, you will enter the woods to the left. By doing this, the course returns to the original Susquehanna Super Hike route that was in place in 2009. Those of you who participated in the first-ever Susquehanna Super Hike may recall this section with fondness. For those of you who hiked the road in 2010 and 2012 (or are joining us for the first time in 2013!) you will love this section! Highlights include Face Rock Overlook and remnants of the abandoned village of Holtwood. The restored trail eliminates approximately 1.6 miles of road-walking.
These changes have increased the length of the Susquehanna Super Hike and Ultra Trail Run from 28.4 miles to 29.6 miles, so be sure to increase your personal training in anticipation of the longer distance.
Section 1: Start (Otter Creek Campground) to Checkpoint 1 (SGL 181 Parking Lot), approx. 9.3 miles
The Susquehanna Super Hike will begin at the Otter Creek Campground on Rt. 425. The green-blazed start of the course follows an old logging road through State Game Lands until it reaches Kline Road. Turn right on Kline Road crossing the bridge over Otter Creek. Continue to follow Kline Road for 0.5 miles, and then look for the blue-blazed Mason-Dixon Trail on the right just past the power line cut. Climb up the road bank and generally follow the contour before turning right to descend to Otter Creek. Trail bears left at Otter Creek and then climbs steeply uphill by large switchbacks. Cross Rt. 425 and follow the logging road to Urey Overlook and a beautiful vista of the river. The trail then descends by switchbacks, where it crosses over two streams. Turn right after the second stream onto a logging road. At the next trail intersection, turn left and follow the trail as it crosses Rt. 425. Turn right after re-entering the woods, then immediately left. Watch for another left as the trail heads toward Otter Creek. After descending to Rt. 425 again, the trail heads toward Otter Creek, crossing the creek on a bridge just north of the campground. The trail passes through the campground (with restrooms and water) and descends to Sawmill Run, then follows switchbacks up to Sawmill Run Road. Turn right on Sawmill Road, then left on Furnace Run Road. After crossing Furnace Run, follow the trail as it parallels the stream. Watch for the turn to the right as the trail climbs out of the hollow, eventually reaching a power line maintenance road. Turn left and follow the maintenance road to Bare Road. Turn right, and very shortly turn left on a recent relocation of the M-DT through woods and skirting fields. Cross Rt. 425 and continue straight ahead on Newcut Road. Turn left on Posey Road, then right on the access road to State Game Lands 181. You will soon arrive at Checkpoint 1.
Section 2: Checkpoint 1 (SGL 181 Parking Lot) to Checkpoint 2 (Lock 12), 6.6 miles
From the parking lot, follow the gated maintenance road down to beautiful Oakland Run. Cross the stream and gradually ascend to a large rock outcrop. Descend steeply to the run and follow to the Susquehanna River. The cascades and deep pools along the run make this one of the highlights of the SSH. Turn right at the river and follow a combination of lowland trails and roads to Holtwood Dam. Just beyond the dam, the route bears right through the foundation of an old hotel and gradually climbs to a power line vista with excellent views of the river and Holtwood Dam. The trail then climbs more steeply on switchbacks to the top of the ridge and passes two rock outcroppings with excellent views. The trail then descends steeply by switchbacks to lovely Mill Creek. Turn left at the creek and follow downstream to River Road passing a nice waterfall along the way. Turn right on River Road to cross the creek, then immediately left circling behind a large mill foundation. Follow the towpath for the old Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal to the restored Lock 12. Pass the lock and cross a small bridge. You will see restrooms to your left. Continue straight ahead on the walkway to picnic tables and Checkpoint 2.
Section 3. Checkpoint 2 (Lock 12) to Checkpoint 3 (Pinnacle Overlook), 6.0 miles
From Checkpoint 2, continue to River Road and turn left. Turn left on Rt. 372 and cross the Norman Wood Bridge over the Susquehanna River. Caution: stay on the left side of the bridge and run/walk in single file. On the other side of the river, stay on Rt. 372 for 1 mile, and then turn left on Crystal Drive for 0.8 miles to the Holtwood Recreation Park with restrooms and water. Just beyond the bathrooms, look for the Kelly's Run Trail and descend to Kelly's Run, another highlight of the SST featuring water, rocks, hemlocks and rhododendron. This area is slippery, so use caution. Ascend to a gas pipeline with views across the river. Continue to top of hill to join an old wagon road, following the road to Pinnacle Vista with stunning views and Checkpoint 3.
Section 4. Checkpoint 3 (Pinnacle Overlook) to Finish (Pequea Creek Campground), 7 miles
The segment between Pinnacle Overlook and Wind Cave is the most strenuous and most rewarding of the SSH. Just below Pinnacle Overlook, pass Lower Rock Vista with incredible views of the Susquehanna and descend steeply, eventually passing a rock overhang. Reach railroad tracks and turn right. Immediately turn right up gorgeous Tucquan Creek, a nature preserve and another jewel of the SSH. The trail eventually climbs out of Tucquan Run, then descends to Reed Run. Climb out of Reed Run and descend to Brubaker Run. Climb to House Rock Vista with excellent views and climb over rock formations, descending to House Rock Run. The trail then climbs steeply and once again descends, this time towards the entrance to Wind Cave, one of the largest tectonic caves (formed by the movement of masses of bedrock) in the eastern US. Cross a stream at an old springhouse and begin a short and final climb, crossing two paved roads and continuing through woods before entering the village of Pequea on Ridge Road. At the "T", turn left, then at the next intersection, turn right towards the bridge. Just before the bridge, turn right at the Pequea Boat Club and follow the unpaved road along Pequea Creek, lined with cottages. Follow along Pequea Creek for just under a mile until you reach Pequea Creek Campground and the Finish.