July 03, 2019

The Joshua C. Whetzel Jr. Trail may just be the newest trail in southwestern Pennsylvania. This hiking trail, within Casselman River Conservation Area, is owned and managed by Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Joshua C. Whetzel Jr. Trail is a delightful walk anytime of year. Follow below as we describe this hike, then get out there and enjoy this area with your Ohiopyle-Laurel Highlands Lizard Map!

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

The trailhead lies just south of Confluence at a parking access to the GAP trail off of River Road. Use the Laurel Highlands side of our map to make your way to Confluence, then use the Ohiopyle side of the map to locate the specific parking area. Take a minute to read the interpretive media when you arrive, then set forth to climb uphill for a bird's eye view of Confluence!

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

The hike begins as a path through a grassy area then immediately transitions into a rock stair climb. It is obvious to see that much effort was put into the design and placement of this stonework. Although the short set of stairs are steep, they are much more enjoyable then sloughing through muddy, eroded trails. Luckily, there are several short sections of stonework to enjoy along this trail to the vista.

Joshua C. Whetzel Jr. Trail Western PA Conservancy

This new trail is well marked with with white metal medallions and the treadway is a well dug out path that is easy to follow. There are two old roads that intersect the trail along the way, but otherwise no intersections to create confusion for inexperienced hikers.

Joshua C. Whetzel Jr. Trail Western PA Conservancy

Be sure to look around the forest floor to appreciate the wildflowers and wild plants, along of course with the excellent display trail building for the hiking path. The north facing slopes traversed by Josh Whetzel Jr. Trail include several species of hardwood trees, which are local to the region and will create an excellent atmosphere for a fall foliage hike!

Joshua C. Whetzel Jr. Trail Western PA Conservancy

And of course with all of the surrounding water sources, hikers are bound to encounter wildlife on this trail. The trail maintainers have notched a forest chair alongside the trail. This can act as a good rest stop, and a good place to sit quietly and enjoy the forest. When we visited in the spring, we spotted a deer in the early morning forest! 

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Just as the climb becomes long and you don't think it will ever end, the trail reaches the summit and hikers can enjoy the new vista. The appropriately named town of Confluence and all the surrounding waterways are visible from this vantage point.

Joshua C. Whetzel Jr. Trail Western PA Conservancy

The new vista is a bit blocked with trees, but luckily plans are in the works to clear more trees to provide a more expansive view. Take a few photos and enjoy being on top of the mountain before hiking down the same way you climbed!

Make Your Own Laurel Highlands Adventure

Create Adventures On Every Lizard Map!





Also in Lizard Adventure Blog

Prime Time For Elk: PA Elk Scenic Drive and A Quehanna Wild Area Adventure
Prime Time For Elk: PA Elk Scenic Drive and A Quehanna Wild Area Adventure

October 04, 2022

Elk are truly majestic animals, and they're really big! Cows weigh about 500 lbs and Bulls can weigh up to 700 lbs. Since elk populations move frequently, the best ways to find elk are to drive or hike throughout their range. Purple Lizard's newest map, Moshannon-Quehanna, highlights hundreds of miles of roads and trails in the heart of elk country.

Continue Reading

Exploring the Northern Frontier of Bald Eagle State Forest: Millheim to Mile Run, PA
Exploring the Northern Frontier of Bald Eagle State Forest: Millheim to Mile Run, PA

October 04, 2022

Purple Lizard takes you on a drive through the backroads of Bald Eagle State Forest, one of the most remote forests in Pennsylvania.

Continue Reading

Rothrock State Forest: Peace and Serenity Only 5 Miles From Downtown State College, PA
Rothrock State Forest: Peace and Serenity Only 5 Miles From Downtown State College, PA

October 04, 2022

Every now and again we all need a break from the hustle and bustle of 21st Century America. Luckily, State College, PA, is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands that are waiting to embrace you with fresh air and natural light. Email, news, phone, school, snapchat, social media, text, traffic, tv, twitter, work...leave it all behind and head into the forest to rejuvenate!

Continue Reading