Quebec Run Day Hike

Quick Information:
Activity Type: Day Hike
Trail Type: Loop
Trail Length: 5-6 miles
Location: Quebec Run Wild Area, Forbes State Forest
Nearby City: Uniontown, PA
Related Maps: Area Map, Topo Map
Additional Info: Pennsylvania DCNR

Our Trip:
Having not gotten out into the woods for quite a while, I wanted to put together a short day hike within an hour or two of Pittsburgh. Quebec Run looked like a good destination on the topo maps, especially with the number of side trails in the area. I opened the trip up to everyone in the club but as usual ended up with only a fraction of the initial sign-ups. The four of us that went on the hike ended up being a really good group.
So at 9:00 am on Sunday morning Robin, Sean, Marian, and myself met up in the usual spot by the Union. It had been snowing since late Friday more or less non-stop and the roads looked pretty bad. We piled into Sean’s car however and headed for Uniontown. The drive down wasn’t too bad until we got through Uniontown and on to less traveled roads. Luckily, the roads were plowed and cindered, and the four-door front wheel drive car did pretty well. Only one incident of note on the trip in: while carefully making our way towards the parking area, a few rather large scary-looking snowplows nearly drove us off the road. A pickup truck actually did, and we ended up stuck in a ditch. The fellow was very helpful, though, and pulled us pack on to the road.
We arrived at the northeast parking area and trailhead safely and geared up for the hike. It was obvious upon arrival that there was a considerable amount of snow on the ground. After munching a pre-hike snack we started the hike heading south on Mill Run Trail. Surprisingly, the knee-deep snow was not too much of an impediment to our progress, rather, the sheer beauty of the woods kept us meandering slowly along the trail. Even though the trail was unbroken for the majority of our hike, going was easy as the snow was very light and powdery. The woods were simply majestic, with snow covering every twig and rhododendron bush along the trail. Hemlocks and pines sagged over the trail, on occasion dumping piles of snow on the four of us.
We picked up Rankin Trail a mile or so into the hike and wandered westward for while, soaking in the sights of the snow-covered forest. The trail followed Quebec Run, which was still flowing but iced over in several places. We stopped for a lunch of bagels and cookies about halfway in before picking up Hess Trail and heading to the northern parking lot. That lot was pretty much inaccessible, as the road in and the lot as well were covered with nearly two feet of fresh powder. We finished the hike taking the Miller Trail south then dropping down the hillside (through thigh-deep snow) back to Mill Run Trail and returning to the cars.
All in all the hike was a success…we spent the day in the midst of winter at its best. My gear held up pretty well over the 5-6 miles…I managed to stay quite dry despite the snow working its way into every crevice. Gaiters proved to be a big help, and waterproofing my boots immediately prior to the trip would probably have made for completely dry feet. This trip provided valuable experience, especially prior to the snowshoeing trip next weekend.

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