Within 3 miles of the Donegal Turnpike exit, Forbes State Forest
has opened a new system of trails for mountain biking, hiking, horseback
riding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. This was a 1997 project of the
Youth Conservation Corps. The trails lie on the western slope of Laurel Ridge,
bounded on the north by the PA Turnpike and on the south by PA31. This is a
State Forest, so wear blaze orange and exercise caution during small game
season, and go elsewhere in deer season.
Unlike many trails in this guide, the trails in this area were
developed as multi-use forest trails that provide a primitive forest
experience. The lowest (western) trail follows a railroad grade along Indian
Creek; the upper (eastern) end connects with the North Woods trail system on the
crest of Laurel Ridge. The trails along the base of the ridge are not
technically demanding, though they are rougher and significantly hillier than
most rail-trails. The trails themselves are generally 6-12' wide. They don't
have shoulders, and the woods come right to the edge of the trail. On a
straight stretch with sun dappling through the leaves overhead, it feels like a
Gothic cathedral. The effect is much more intimate than you'll find on a
rail-trail, and we rather like it.
As you go farther north and east, the trail gets much rougher and
steeper. This is a great place to get acquainted with mountain biking, without
committing a day to something you may not enjoy—just start near PA31, work
north and east until you've had enough, and return the way you came or by road
The system includes three trails, plus a couple of connectors.
Blair Brothers Railroad Grade follows the west side of
Indian Creek. It connects with Mountain Streams Trail in two places, near Camp
Run and at Hunter Land.
Mountain Streams Trail starts at Camp Run Rd and
parallels Indian Creek up the ridge, eventually connecting with Tunnel Rd and
the North Woods trail system.
Pike Run Trail connects the south end of Mountain
Streams Trail with PA31 above the Pike Run Country Club
The Blair Brothers Railroad Grade begins at PA381 just
north of PA31. It is nearly level, often double-track, and the trail surface is
good enough to ride on a hybrid bike, though not nearly as smooth as most
rail-trails. It will remind you of a 1-lane country driveway, with grass
growing between the wheel tracks. This trail is on the same railroad grade as
the Indian Creek Valley Trail a few miles to the south. The ride through the
bottomland near Indian Creek is lovely, but short enough to leave you wanting
more. A right-hand turn 0.6 miles from the parking lot leads to a connector
trail that crosses Indian Creek and PA381, then leads to Pike Run Trail. From
this intersection the railroad grade continues another 0.6 miles, where it
crosses a tributary of Indian Creek, then another 0.2 miles to its end at
Hunter La. Turn right on Hunter La, cross Indian Ck and PA381, and go up a
short connector to meet Mountain Streams Trail.
Mountain Streams Trail begins at Camp Run Rd just east of
PA381. The first 4 miles have some serious, but not brutal, climbs and
descents. After 5 miles the surface gets very rough, and the last 3 miles of
the trail climb a thousand feet to the crest of Laurel Ridge. Starting at Camp
Run, the first mile has recently been scraped and graded to a width of about
12'. It climbs steadily past its intersection with Pike Run Trail to a corner,
then descends quickly to Camp Run, where a splendid new bridge provides
passage. You pay immediately, though, with a brisk climb that brings you back within
sight (or at least sound) of PA381. The new construction ends, leaving the
trail still wide but more mature. At several points gaps in the trees provide
great views north and west up the valley. Soon you descend to a trailhead at
Aukerman Rd, 2.3 miles from Camp Run Rd.
Forbes State Forest, Mountain Streams
II Trail System
slope of Laurel Ridge near Kregar, Fayette County
sites along PA381 between Jones Mills and Kregar
Length, Surface 10-11
miles, usually 6-12 ft wide, dirt to gravel
wooded, shady, some real hills
Usage restrictions Horses
and snowmobiles ok
Driving time from Pittsburgh 1
To continue from here, go right on Aukerman Rd (note: not the
road marked "no outlet") for 0.15 miles and turn left at the trail
signs. The trail narrows to only about 6', and it gradually becomes more
technical. Folks with hybrid bikes may want to turn back here. After a
delightful rolling 0.8 mile, the trail emerges at the upper Sky View Rd parking
area. Turn left, go a tenth of a mile down the hill, and turn right. You're now
on the railroad grade again. In another tenth of a mile, pass through a small
parking area, duck under a gate, and follow the trail along the railroad grade.
The trail continues fairly level for another mile or so, then starts a 3-mile
climb to the ridge. Toward the end of this mile the surface gets very rough. At
the somewhat precarious crossing of Little Run, we decided the surface was
rougher than our taste, and we turned back.
We haven't had a chance to ride Pike Run Trail yet. It
starts at Mountain Streams Trail 0.4 mile above the Camp Run parking area. It
runs southeast, then south for about 2 miles, emerging on PA31 above Pike Run
Country Club. The map suggests that most of the 300' climb is in the first
The trails in this area are built on grades that once served the
Blair Brothers sawmill in Kregar. The railroad along Indian Creek was used only
to haul lumber from the sawmill to market. The grades east of PA381 were
narrow gauge lines for shay locomotives to haul logs to the sawmill.
All of the trail is in Forbes State Forest. State Forest rules
for bicycles allow bikes on all roads and trails (but only on roads and trails)
unless they're specifically posted as closed.
Camp Run Rd, Aukerman Rd, and Sky View Rd are narrow dirt
township roads. They have very little motor vehicle traffic, and they're too
rough and steep for the cars to be going very fast. You may enjoy extending
your ride with these roads.
Vicinity: Directions begin headed north on PA381 from its
intersection with PA31 east of Jones Mills. To reach this point from
Pittsburgh, take the PA Turnpike to Donegal and go east on PA31 for 2.8 miles,
then turn north on PA381. Note that this is 0.6 miles east of the intersection
where PA381 goes south from PA31.
Blair Brothers trailhead: From the junction of 381
and PA31, follow PA381 north for less than a tenth of a mile. Parking is on the
left side of the road just before the bridge across Indian Creek or on the
right just after you cross the bridge.
Camp Run trailhead: From the junction of 381 and
PA31, follow PA381 north for 0.6 mile. Turn right on Camp Run Rd. Parking is
about a tenth of a mile up this road on the left.
Kregar trailhead: From the junction of 381 and
PA31, follow PA381 north for 2.8 miles. Turn right on Sky View Rd. Follow Sky
View Rd down to the creek and start up the hill. There are two parking areas.
For the first, go 0.5 miles from PA381, turn left on the marked side road, go
0.1 mile on the side road. For the second, go 0.6 miles from PA381 to parking
on the right.
Rest rooms, water: None
Bike shop, rentals: None
Restaurant, groceries: Restaurants and groceries along
PA31 between Jones Mills and Donegal.
Swimming, fishing: Cold water fishing in Indian Creek
Winter sports: Cross-country skiing, snowmobiling
Wheelchair access: Trails are probably too rough for most
Forbes State Forest, District 4
PO Box 519
Laughlintown PA 15655-0519
USGS Topographic Maps: Seven Springs.
Text version from 2002 edition. Conditions will have changed; you
are responsible for your own safety.
Tom Fitzgerald, District Forester, sent a map 9/12/97.
Extensive comments and reinterpretation of rules (swimming ok) by David
Williams, District Forester