The Gore Area is nestled between Wykoff Run Road and the M.K.Goddard/Wykoff Run Natural Area in the Quehanna Wild Area. These interconnected shared-use and yellow-blaze loops, cut-offs, and in-and-back trails through hardwood, mixed, and new growth forests. They can be strung together or explored individually, much like I explain in my Day Hiking in Quehanna article.
So why Gore “Area?”
Half the trails here are labeled Gore, so I lump them together. While you can explore them together in any number of ways, I’m going to focus on two routes. These will maximize your time, highlight some views, and minimize improved dirt road hiking because, frankly, road hiking is boring.
I also cover some of the other trails in the Gore Area for those who are interested.
Note: A lot of this hiking is on shared-use trails. That means you may be sharing the trail with bikers and horseback riders, though I’ve never seen them on these trails. There should be no ATVs or side-by-sides (though that may change in the future…who knows?). For more information about these types of trails, check out my article on Alternative Trails.
Powerline Loop – Gore Loop – Baily Log Trail
This route in the Gore Area is actually the second route we took when exploring the area. The first time was up the Baily Log Trail and back. It was on the first one we got a glance at this second route, as well as a much easier (and protected) parking arrangement. We immediately planned on making our next outing along this route. I go into a little more detail on the Baily Log Trail below.
Old Wykoff Run Road is just off of Wykoff Run Road (the connecting road between the Quehanna Highway and PA Route 120). It’s an improved dirt with a parking area around the 1 mile mark. The parking area is on Gore Draft Road and isn’t in full-view, but it is marked, so keep your eyes open. There are maps here, and the trail is just beyond the gate.
We hiked this counter-clockwise, but there is so little elevation change that it really doesn’t matter which way you hike it.
The route starts out along Gore Draft Road just after the gate. This road is also part of the Powerline Loop, which you meet at the Baily Log Trail intersection. Just keep going straight.
This first section is an easy hike along an old access road that is flat and straight. It gently dips down through mixed forest (50 foot descent) and passes a few minor access roads (there is 1 marked on the map) before turning to the left. This is where you meet the powerline.
After we completed this section, I asked my (then) 7 year-old son what he thought of the trail so far. He said he liked it, but this section got 1 out of 5 stars. It’s a powerline, so it’s open, clear, and has a constant humming sound going on overhead. This was also in early summer about noon, so it was heating up, making this section dry and sunny. He did not like that one bit.
There is a powerline overlook on a sort of spur to where hiking becomes a downhill scramble, but it’s optional and we skipped it. I could already tell he would not enjoy this section, so we got on with it. Overall, though, it is an easy section full of wild roses, blueberries, and raspberries. It may be best approached in the early morning or late afternoon in the summer.
The first leg of the loop makes it worth it. The good with the bad, right?
Near the end of the Powerline Loop is the intersection of the Gore Loop. You can either make an immediate right onto the loop, cross the powerline to the left to join the Bailey Log Trail, or continue straight on the Powerline to reach the other end of the Gore Loop. We stopped here for lunch, and then sauntered onto the Gore Loop.
Again, a beautiful section of mixed hardwoods that works into pinewood. Sections of this loop can be a little bit of up-and-down over slightly rocky ground, but it mostly sticks to the ridge.
If you’re looking for vistas and waterfalls, this trail is not it (except for the back-end of the Powerline Loop). Evidence of logging from the yesteryears abounds, but it does not impact the peace and beauty of a forest that has grown back.
The trail crosses a small stream and meets up with the Gore Draft Trail. This is a connecting trail that meets the Sevinsky Trail at the base of Gore Vista by following…you guessed it…the Gore Draft.
I told you Gore was all over this section, didn’t I?
In any case, I have yet to follow the Gore Draft or the Sevinsky Trails. When I do, I’ll make sure I update this article. The Gore Loop connects back to the Bailey Log Trail.
Bailey Log Trail
There are multiple ways to follow this trail out. If you make a right, you will pass the Gore Cut-Off Trail before reaching Old Wykoff Run Road. Farther down the road is the parking area but, again, you’re walking on an improved dirt road. If you make a left, you will meet up with and cross both ends of the Powerline Loop. We went left.
This section of the trail has a nice “country dirt road” feel to it. Through the forest you catch glimpses of the powerline and long rows of old mounded dirt that now look more like burial mounds or bunker works than dirt piles. (They currently have trees growing out of them, so it’s been awhile since they were made.)
After crossing the powerline, you’ll travel through a section of hardwood forest to meet back up with a familiar sight- the first intersection. Take a right to return to the parking lot.
Now, if you were to go straight and continue on the Bailey Log Trail, you’ll find yourself going through a spaced out hardwood forest at a slight downhill slope. You only descend 150 feet over the course of a mile and a quarter, but it is a nice walk. We saw a ton of butterflies when we hiked it.
The downside, of course, is the parking situation. It’s little more than a turnoff from Wykoff Run Road. If you parked in the “hidden” lot, you have to walk back another mile and a quarter along an improved dirt road that can see a bit of traffic. If it was more secluded, I’d probably hike it more, but I’m not a big fan of hiking along those roads.
It’s your call, though. Hike your own hike!
Gore Vista Road – Gore Vista Trail
I really like this Gore Area trail, and it only clocks in around 3 miles.
To get there, you have to do a bit of driving, though. On the map it doesn’t look like much, but- as is the case with improved dirt roads- you’re also not going 60 miles an hour. There are two ways, depending on where you are on the Quehanna Highway. Follow Lincoln Road to Hoover Road, and turn right to the first pull-off on the right (about 3/4 of a mile). You can also go from Wykoff Run Road to Old Wykoff Run Road until it turns into Hoover Road. Hit the first pull-off on the right (about 1 mile from the Hoover Trail).
The map has the Gore Vista Road gated, but the gate here is actually a big pile of rocks. It also does not list a parking area, but there is one here, just no sign board.
Gore Vista Road turns into Gore Vista Trail at the Gore Cut Off Trail (the same one mentioned above). This section is a shared use trail until it meets Foley Trail (another shared use trail), then it turns into a yellow-blaze trail. This trail marches on about a mile to Gore Vista. It’s easy hiking with very little elevation change (maybe 50 feet), so it was perfect for my 4 year-old.
Except for the vista, much of the scenery is like the Gore Loop. This vista overlooks the confluence of Gore Draft and Foley Draft, about 500 feel below. We hiked it in late fall, so unfortunately most leaves had already fallen. I can only imagine what it looks like in the full-color of Pennsylvania autumn (we’re planning on doing this one again this year). The vista also features a hiker-made fire ring and a decent place to have lunch.
From the vista, turn around and hike out. Pretty simple, right?
Okay, so where do you get these precious maps of the Gore Area? Unless you’re a local, you likely have no idea what the hell I’m talking about with all these trails. I’ve provided a section of the map, but there are better sources:
- Elk State Forest provides maps on their website in .pdf format.
- Moshannon State Forest also provides maps on their website.
- Trailheads marked with parking, almost always have Quehanna maps, as well as Elk State or Moshannon State maps. Look for large, roofed sign boards. For this area, there is a parking area up Old Wykoff Run Road, just off of the Wykoff Run Road highway. You can also find maps at the Hoover Farm Viewing Area, which is pretty close.
- District and Park Offices have a variety of paper maps available. Check with the Moshannon State Forest Headquarters (off of Deible Road), Parker Dam State Park (close to I-80), the Elk State Forest District Office (in Emporium), or the Elk County Visitor’s Center (in Benezette).
- Purple Lizard Maps are my local go-to maps that rarely leave my pack (unless I’m looking at them). They’re packed with information, are durable, and waterproof. I’ve spilled coffee all over them, and it wiped right off without a mark (the smell did linger, but not a bad thing). I probably wouldn’t have found Table Falls if it wasn’t for this map. Pick up one of these maps here.