This Sunday the Pennsylvania Game Commision will be opening up the Stony Valley Rail Trail to motor vehicles for the annual “Stony Valley Drive Thru”.
The land on the north-west edge of Lebanon County is known as Game Lands #211 according to the State; Saint Anthony’s Wilderness to the original Moravian settlers; and Stony Valley to the rest of us. At one time the towns of Cold Springs and Rausch Gap sat in this area along the Schuylkill & Susquehanna Railroad, which first cleared the trail bed used by the Rail Trail today.
The Ellendale Gate will open at 9:00am Sunday and stay open until 3:00pm. The journey thru to Goldmine Road should last about 3hrs (21.5 miles). Although the path is groomed, conditions may vary depending on weather and wetness.
A new addition this year will be 3-D models of Stony Valley and the surroundings that cover the top ten historic and natural sites to see. In addition, Cold Spring historians Annette and James Logan will be present on -site, as well as Stony Valley/Schuykill & Susquehanna Railroad historian Brandy M. Watts. There will be brief periodic tours but these don’t have set times as of yet.
Additionally, the Doc Fritchey Chapter of Trout Unlimited will be stationed at Rausch Gap to discuss the diversion wells they maintain to help mitigate the years of acid mine drainage in the area. With the first well installed in 2000, the current set of 3 wells has successfully reduced the ph levels from 4.0 above the wells to over 6.0 after the outflow. The ph of pure water is 7. Read more about how these wells work here.
The general sentiment from Facebook comments on the event page is that while you might be able to get through on a low-clearance/non-4WD vehicle, you’ll have to be extra cautious while driving and be sure to avoid any muddy areas at the shoulders.
Enter this lat/long in your GPS to reach the gate: 40.402255, -76.8378661.
Here’s what you’ll see on the drive.
This graphic showing landmarks of the Rail Trail was created by Stony Valley Historian Brandy M. Watts.
While in the area, you may want to take time to go see the Boxcar Rocks, which are in the vicinity of the end of the Rail Trail off of Gold Mine Road. You can find the Box Car Rocks parking lot by punching this lat/long into your GPS: 40.5446050, -76.5358510.
With questions, your best bet is asking on the Facebook Event page.