Visiting Meeker Run in the Quehanna Wild Area
New year, new destinations. On January 2nd I made my first trip to Meeker Run in the Quehanna Wild Area. After viewing some images online by fellow hiker/photographer Bill Mertens, I decided this part of the PA Wilds would make for a great day trip.
Riddle Road Parking Area: 41.228617, -78.213300
My hike started out at the Riddle Road parking area, located along Reactor/Lost Run Road. Approaching from the east on the Quehanna Highway, Reactor/Lost Run Road will be the first paved road on your left after passing Wykoff Run Road. Approaching from the west on the Quehanna Highway, Reactor/Lost Run Road will be the first paved road on your right after passing the Beaver Run Shallow Water Impoundment.
NOTE: The sign along the Quehanna Highway says Lost Run Road, but on the DCNR maps and on Google Maps the road is listed as Reactor Road. In fact, the dirt Lost Run Road does branch off of the paved Reactor Road just a bit past the parking area I've indicated on the map above. Reactor Road is gated just after Lost Run Road splits off, and the paved portion leads to what was once the sight of the Curtis-Wright Corporation's nuclear reactor. You can read more about this rather dark era of local history HERE.
One of the interesting (at least to me) things about this hike is that it takes you through 3 counties in the span of an hour or so.
The trek starts out at the parking area in Cameron County. The Riddle Road parking area is a dirt lot on the left as you drive in on the paved Reactor/Lost Run Road.
The hike itself starts out on the Red Run Trail, located directly across the road from the parking area. The trail begins as a gravel path but quickly changes over to a more narrow dirt footpath winding through some fairly level terrain and open hardwoods. Not surprisingly, given the name, this trail is blazed in red.
After hiking NW approx. 1/2 mile along the Red Run Trail, you'll come to a fork in the road. You'll want to stay to the left and follow the Meeker Run Trail, which is well blazed in yellow.
Following this trail you will cross a power line clearing, and then start to gradually descend into the hollow where Meeker Run flows. This descent takes you through some magnificent stands of hemlock.
Emerging from the hemlocks, you will first hear Meeker Run and then see a small footbridge that crosses over it.
At this point I departed from the path and made my way downstream along the banks of Meeker Run, which can be done without too much difficulty. If you are feeling less adventurous, you can stick to the trail which does run parallel to (but not always in sight of) Meeker Run.
In either case, you will ever-so-briefly be passing through Elk County before continuing south into Clearfield County.
Proceeding downstream a few hundred yards, I came to what I will refer to in this post as Meeker Run Falls #1 (there are no official names as far as I can tell).
Meeker Run Falls #1: 41.228267, -78.237900
This nice little two-tiered fall is the one I had seen a picture of online and the reason for my visit.
After shooting a few frames there, I made way way downstream.
I came across Meeker Run Falls #2 at the following coordinates: 41.226617, -78.238683.
This one had a lot going on visually , with water traveling in multiple directions and several ice formations surrounding it.
The third falls I came to (41.224383, -78.240250) was a small but wide cascade descending into a long trough of crystal clear water below.
The fourth falls (located at GPS coordinates 41.224217, -78.240500) was probably the most impressive in person. The water plunging over a singular large boulder reminded me of nearby Table Falls, also located in the Quehanna Wild Area.
Running out of daylight, I made my way up out of the stream bed after the fourth falls and onto the Meeker Run Trail for the loop back to my car. On a future trip there I plan to follow Meeker Run all the way downstream to where it spills into Mosquito Creek.
If you enjoy a day of solitude now and again without too strenuous a hike, I highly recommend this trek through the southern portion of the Quehanna Wild Area.
Until next time, happy hiking!