On Sunday, Oct. 17, the Pennsylvania Game Commission will once again open the Stony Valley Rail Trail to motor vehicles for the annual State Game Lands Driving Tour.

The Ellendale Gate along Stony Valley Road will open up for drives through Game Lands #211. The 17-mile journey through to Gold Mine Road should last around two hours.

Check the weather before heading out — although the path is groomed, conditions may vary depending on weather and wetness.

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A second tour through State Game Lands #110 in Berks County begins at the Mountain Road gate and goes through to the State Route 183 gate, four miles north of Strausstown.

Gates for both tours will open at 9 a.m. Sunday and stay open until 3 p.m. Enter these coordinates in your GPS to reach the Ellendale Gate: 40.402255, -76.8378661.

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The land on the northwest edge of Lebanon County is known as Game Lands #211 according to the state, St. 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.

Ruins of these settlements can still be found in the woods, including a cemetery, a hotel, and more.

The road in the wilderness near the abandoned town of Rausch Gap. (Groh)

Last year, the 2020 drive was first cancelled and then rescheduled as pandemic restrictions were reassessed.

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Read More: Need a holiday read? Clive Cussler’s 2007 ‘Navigator’ has climatic ending in rumored northern Lebanon County gold mine

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.

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While in the area, you may also want to take time to go see the Boxcar Rocks formation, which is in the vicinity of the end of the Rail Trail off Gold Mine Road.

Read More: A trek into the wilderness of the Lebanon Reservoir and Jeff’s Swamp

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