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Historic Blair Limestone Company Kilns at Canoe Creek State Park

Section 1: Canoe Creek - Mile 0 to 4.7

4.7 miles.| 561 feet climb; 564 feet decline

3.5 miles of trail; 0.9 paved road or trail; 0.2 crushed stone

Runners will start from the large open field between Pavilion 2 and the lake, running northbound to Limestone Trail, past the historic kilns, then taking Hartman Trail to the top of Moore’s Hill and past the caves on your right that are home to the Indiana Bat and a view of Scotch Valley to the west (left). Runners descend Moore’s Hill Trail, crossing over Canoe Creek, then southbound on Beaver Pond Trail to the lake. If any of you yinzers ran the Dirty Kiln, then you would be familiar with some sections of this course, After crossing through the East Shore Day Use Area, participants will take a left on a service road to paved Beaver Dam Road (right turn). This will proceed to the newly-built Canoe Creek Connector Trail and under Route 22 via the Terry Wertz Memorial Underpass and along Route 22 to Flowing Springs Road, over the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River, and to the first aid station near the beginning of the Lower Trail. This aid station is called Flowing Springs Station. 


Mattern Trail at the top of Moores Hill. If you look back over your right shoulder, you will see this view of Canoe Creek Lake.

History: The area in and surrounding Canoe Creek State Park is rich in limestone. The limestone was quarried and used for many purposes like providing needed raw materials for the iron and steel industries of Pennsylvania. There are several abandoned quarries on the park lands. Two limekilns also operated within the boundaries of the park during the 1900s. The Ironstone 100K will past through two of these sites. The remnants of the first kiln was once owned by the Blair Limestone Company stand today as a reminder of the industrial past. Wildlife: The Frank Felbaum Bat Sanctuary is the home of the largest nursery colony of little brown bats in Pennsylvania. This one-time church, now known as the Canoe Creek Bat Refuge, attracts visitors interested in observing the bats as they emerge each night for feeding. The park is also the site of a hibernaculum for more than 30,000 bats of six species, including the endangered Indiana bat.


Lower Trail (pronounced like  "Flower") is a 17-mile multi-use raiils-to-trail which Ironstone participants will run from end to end. The Lower Trail is now a part of the September 11th National Memorial Trail.

Section 2: Lower Trail to Williamsburg - Mile 4.7 to 9.8

5.1 miles | 0 feet climb; 36 feet decline

5.1 miles of paved trail or crushed stone

Participants will run on the Lower Trail - a multi-use, 17-miles of crushed limestone rail trail (unrewarded bonus points if anyone can tell me how many fence posts are along the "Never-ending Fence"). At the borough of Williamsburg is AS 2 Williamsburg Station. This is a crew-accessible aid station.

One would think, "17-miles of slight downhill grade on a rail-trail would make for fast running". Ha ha! Not so fast! Depending how you spend your time training, spending a few hours on crushed limestone makes for a unique challenge. As Chris Traeger would say, "Ended with a 5 1/2-minute mile, my personal low. I think the pavement in this town is soft."

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At 7.6 miles on the course, runners will reach a bridge crossing over Piney Creek. This used to be Springfield Junction at the village of Franklin Forge. The village would then change to Gannister. On both sides of the river were iron ore and limestone quarries.  

History: Much of the Lower Trail, paralleling the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River, was part of the Pennsylvania Railroad as the Petersburg Branch of the PRR. In 1979, the rail corridor was abandoned. Over the next 8 years, the rails were sold for scrap and the corridor put up for sale. In 1989, Rails to Trails of Central Pennsylvania Inc. purchased the first 11 miles of the Lower Trail from Williamsburg to Alfarata from the Penn Central Corp. Another 5 ½ mile extension from Flowing Spring to Williamsburg was added in 2004. In 2022, The Lower Trail became a part of the September 11th National Memorial Trail, a network of trails and roadways nearly 1,300 miles long connecting the Flight 93 National Memorial, the Pentagon Memorial, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

The first four aid stations on the Ironstone 100K course are named "stations" as a nod to the train stations that were along the former rail line.


Lower Trail (pronounced like  "Flower") is a 17-mile multi-use raiils-to-trail which Ironstone participants will run from end to end. The Lower Trail is now a part of the September 11th National Memorial Trail.

Section 3: Lower Trail Mt. Etna - Mile 9.5 to 20.5

10.7 miles | 0 feet climb; 126 feet decline

10.7 miles of paved trail or crushed stone

Participants will continue to run on the Lower Trail. At 5.9 miles, runners can refuel at AS 3 Mt. Etna Station before another 5.1 miles to the terminus of the trailhead at AS 4 Alfarata Station.


A canal boat along the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal. A total of 86 locks were required to overcome the change in elevation from Duncanan along the Susquehanna River to Hollidaysburg. One of the remains of these locks can be seen near mile 12 of the course. Look for a short trail on your left.

History: The Lower Trail, paralleling the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River, was part of the original towpath of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal which operated in the mid 1800’s. The Juniata Division Canal was approved in segments starting in 1827 with a canal from near Duncan's Island in the Susquehanna River to Lewistown, 40 miles (64 km) upstream. Subsequently, the state agreed to extend the canal to Hollidaysburg and the eastern end of the Allegheny Portage Railroad, 127 miles (204 km) from the Susquehanna. A total of 86 locks were required to overcome a change in elevation of 584 feet (178 m) over the full length of the canal, which opened in 1832. One of the remains of these locks can be seen near mile 12.


Benjamin Emmett of Randolph, New Jersey makes it to the top of Spruce Knob and the first major climb on the Mid State Trail. (Mile 25.4)

Section 4: Spruce Knob - Mile 20.5 to 27

6.86 miles | 1929 feet climb; 734 feet decline

3.8 miles of singletrack; 2.8 miles of dirt road, 0.25 feet paved road

Now on the Mid State Trail and crossing a paved road immediately after the aid station, runners will take a dirt state forest road (Brickyard Road) to a switchback where the Mid State Trail  leaves the road on the right. Now a singletrack, The Mid State Trail will descend into a shady hollow and then along Norfolk Southern railroad to the corner of Barre Road and Neubauer Lane (turn left). Participants will cross the railroad and run through the small village of Barre, cross the Little Juniata River and make a left turn onto a road on Mountain Road (gravel). After 0.6 of a mile, runners will reach the Mid State Trail Barre Trailhead at the Little Juniata Natural Area. From here, it’s a 1.6 mile climb of 1400 feet on technical singletrack to the top of Spruce Knob with most participants arriving just before sunset. Be sure to step off the trail to your left for one of the most spectacular views in Central PA. 

Now on top Tussey Ridge and after 0.8 of a mile on technical yet flat singletrack, the course will descend the ridge to the west (left) on Rainbow Trail to Colerain Road. Don't let the name, "Rainbow Trail" fool you. In fact, we are renaming it, "It's Not All Sunshine and Rainbows" since it is a steep scree slope and it will most likely be dark when you make your descent. Make a right turn on Colerain Road, uphill,  and to AS 5 Colerain positioned at Canoe Mountain Vista. Here, you can see Spruce Creek Valley, Tyrone and Canoe Mountain (behind this mountain is Canoe Creek Lake from where you started.) Onward.

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The view from Spruce Knob on Tussey Mountain on the Mid State Trail. The Tussey Mountain Ridge is popular with soaring birds and glider pilots ridge soaring along its slopes. This ridge is part of a chain of ridges that stretch south to Tennessee. Tussey Mountain has been designated a Pennsylvania Important Bird Area, based primarily on its importance as a spring raptor migration site, but also as a long corridor of intact forest habitat, over 50% of which is publicly owned.

Geology: The Juniata River is one of the oldest existing rivers in the world, being dated as 320–340 million years ago, older than the mountain ridges through which it flows. This is truly evident here at Alfarata and at the Little Juniata Natural Area.  These ridges resulted from the Alleghenian orogeny uplift events, when Africa (as part of Gondwana) slammed into the Northern part of EurAmerica. 

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Mike Delorso II, makes it to "The Gate" on the Mid State Trail at mile 28 of the course. Ahead is the section we call, "The Ankle Graveyard." 

Section 5: Tussey Ridge - Mile 27 to 36.6

8.9 miles.| 741 feet climb; 1122 feet decline

8.7 miles of singletrack or doubletrack; 0.2 miles of dirt road

After the aid station, runners will return to the Mid State Trail via Colerain Road and back on the Mid State Trail as runners will continue northbound on Tussey Ridge. Here, things get real. After crossing the Stone Towers, the narrows will the terrain dropping off on both sides of the trail. Promontory offers 270 degrees of views. Then it is more technical terrain until Henry Gap Vista (there is a bench and stone chairs about 15 yard below you on your left and is our featured photo on the homepage of the website). This entire section from Stone Towers to Henry Gap Vista we have dubbed, "The Ankle Graveyard". 

Next, not to be outdone, is "Tiltrock Tantrum" where sheets of rock have been tilted 30 to 40 degrees upward from the Gondwana and Laurasia collision forming Pangaea supercontinent during the Carboniferous. "Don't blame me, blame plate tectonics!" Eventually you will reach Pennsylvania Furnace Road. Turn right, downhill on Pennsylvania Furnace Road. Runners will turn slightly left at the first switchback and onto Pump Station Road (double track). After 1.07 miles down Pump Station Road and a left on Harry Valley Road. Aid Station 6 Indian Steps is at the bottom at the intersection of Harry's Valley Road.

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Mike Delorso II on a damp training run at Tiltrock Tantrum. "Don't blame me, blame plate tectonics."

Geology: Tussey Mountain is in the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian Mountains. The surrounding mountains like Brush Mountain, Mount Nittany and Bald Eagle Mountain ridges, are part of the same Paleozoic anticline rock formation consisting of older Ordovician Bald Eagle Formation Sandstone and Juniata Formation Shale, and younger Silurian Tuscarora Formation Quartzite. During the Appalachian orogeny, these layers folded up with the underlying and overlying layers into the Nittany Arch.

When atop the ridge, look out to the west. Now, imagine the valley below is all that remains of a towering Himalayan scale mountain that towered above what is now Nittany Valley, where the oldest rock layers from deep within the eroded mountain are now exposed.

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