Old Logging Road & Rhododendron Trail

Old Logging Road & Rhododendron Trail

I love a trail that keeps me interesting in the scenery, and the best way to do that is to keep it varied. Old Logging Road starts off almost exclusively with a layer of new-growth pine topped with some old-growth pine and a sprinkling of other trees here and there.

Trail Info:

Location: Starting at the bridge on 36 that spans the Clarion river, Go north ~.2 miles then turn right onto Forest Road. Continue on Forest Road for approximately 2.2 miles. You will pass the Sawmill Center for the Arts, after that look for Forest Drive on the right. Continue on Forest Drive until you come to a clearing and parking area.

Parking: Parking is available at the trailhead as shown on the map below.

NOTE: Google Maps is showing an additional road at the bend of Forest Drive that I do not believe is there. It is also erroneously showing Longfellow Trail merging at this extra road. I would use caution and defer to the maps shown here as I’ve used them to find this trail to begin with.

Directions on PCs: Locate the Google map below the search box on the right-hand side of this webpage. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.

Directions on Tablets and Mobile Phones: Locate the Google map near the bottom of this page, just below the search box. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.

Trail Characteristics:

  • The loop formed by these three trails is mostly flat with small elevation changes.
  • Not much water is on the trail.
  • The ground is uneven and rocky in places but fairly easy to walk on.
  • The path is clearly marked.

I’ve had difficulty determining the accurate length of this trail loop as it’s not an official trail and it consists of segments from four other trails, but I believe it’s just under 2 miles long. There is a length bar on the map below but I can’t be certain if I’m understanding it properly, so if you are 100% without a doubt how it should be read, by all means, leave me a comment below explaining it.

This loop is made beginning with the Old Logging Road. The entrance to the trail is to the left of the parking area as seen from the driver’s seat when you park. You should see two different trail entrances near the bend in Forest Drive. The trail that descends downward is the Rhododendron Trail, which will be the exit of this trail loop. The mostly flat trail with lots of pine trees surrounding it is the Old Logging Trail and where you should enter.

Trail map of the loop over segments from Four different trails.

I love a trail that keeps me interesting in the scenery, and the best way to do that is to keep it varied. Old Logging Road starts off almost exclusively with a layer of new-growth pine topped with some old-growth pine and a sprinkling of other trees here and there.

Old and New Growth Pine

The two layers make for a very unique trail, something I haven’t seen in many other places.

A carpet of mosses and fallen twigs complete the forest carpet brimming with a deep green that is sure to relax.

Remnants of an American Chestnut tree

At the far end of the loop, there is a very old Chestnut tree that died in the 1920s. The “stump” for lack of a better word is about 100 years old and stands as a relic of the Chestnut trees that filled this region before Chestnut blight moved in, killing almost all of the American Chestnut trees.

As a side note, I have two genetically modified “American Chestnut” trees in my backyard that have been modified to resist the Chestnut blight by introducing a resistance gene to protect the trees from Chestnut blight. Read more about that here.

An American Chestnut tree that has been dead since the 1920s still towers over the trail.
Deer

After following the trail loop into the Joyce Kilmer section of the trail we spotted a group of wild deer foraging in the woods. They seemed to notice us walking but didn’t seem to be alarmed when we moved slowly.

I was surprised that the deer didn’t run off when they saw us as they do in my own backyard.

Veering right at every trail intersection you will eventually get to the Indian Trail which is wide and flat with lots of large rocks.

Just when the trail starts to veer uphill, you will be near the tail end of the Rhododendron Trail, and back to the parking lot that you departed from. What a great hike!

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