We know visitors to the backwoods. backroads. backwaters. are in search of something different, something out of the ordinary. If taking the road less traveled is how you will write your story, these backroads explorations are the perfect choice. These routes will be especially fun at dusk for wildlife viewing and spotting for nocturnal wildlife.
Spotlighting is a unique opportunity that very few states allow. In the west, CO, WY etc. spotlighting is illegal and strictly forbidden, but not in PA. Spotlighting allows you to locate game that may only move nocturnally, and provides hours of recreational entertainment. This is a chance to locate a trophy game animal, for the small price of a spotlight and a little gas. Make sure you familiarize yourself with PA’s law on spotlighting which includes shining a light on any building, disturbing farm animals, spotlighting after 11 PM or during deer hunting season.
We chose routes which take you on a combination of dirt, gravel and paved roads that are decorated with sights that will become part of your eternal memory. All roads are passable in a car, but clearances may be low and road maintenance will vary by season. Choose your vehicle wisely. These roads are not always maintained regularly so signs and markers may be missing, facing the wrong way, set back from the intersections or made of wood, stone or metal.
Like all activities in the backwoods. backroads. backwaters. always put safety first. Be sure to review your trip ahead of time and don’t forget your camera, a Clearfield County map and a GPS if available. Visit Clearfield County’s GIS website for 3D maps of all the roads and landscape. Also cell phone service is limited in remote areas. You can check for coverage by visiting http://opensignal.com/network-coverage-maps.
Please share your experiences and photos on our website or social media pages. We love hearing from our visitors and are always looking to make your experience more enjoyable.
Elk Center from Clearfield Hotels
This route is 30 miles and about 2 hours of driving time on roads that are narrow windy and vary between gravel/dirt and paved. Leave additional time to enjoy the extravagant scenery, have a bugle burger and experience the Elk Viewing Center. Start at the hotels in Clearfield (Exit 120 off I-80). Drive on SR 879 East along the West Branch Susquehanna River towards Frenchville. Make a left onto Knobs Road (T636). You will be on Knobs Rd. for a while and the road will turn into a dirt and gravel. Make a left on Caledonia Pike (T873/T464) follow the Caledonia Pike to Shagger’s Inn, a shallow water impound with nesting for osprey. Just past the lake make a right onto Shagger’s Inn Rd. (The road marker is a stone marker and is set back in). This is a narrow road that runs along a deep gorge. At the Y in the road, go left on Medix Grade Rd. (There is a waterfall about .10 of a mile at the right of the Y. It is on the left side of the road, you will see a turnaround area here) Medix Grade Rd. is not clearly marked at this intersection but will be marked as you drive along. You want to stay straight onto Medix Run Rd. Next, make a left onto the Quehanna Highway (2004). Then, make a right onto SR 555. Before the Benezette Store, turn left onto Winslow Hill and follow this road to Homestead Drive. The entrance for the Elk Country Viewing Center is located at 134 Homestead Dr. You can have dinner at the Benezette or Medix Hotel and sample some local wine at Benezette Wines.
NOTE: Quehanna Highway is an alternative route that winds you past Marion Brooks Natural Area, an elk blind and Beaver Run. If you stay straight on SR 879 East, the Quehanna Highway is straight at the Karthaus Intersection. Finish the directions onto SR 555.
DuBois Harley Davidson to Bilger’s Rocks
If you like scenic views this 1.5 hour/ 31-mile driving tour is perfect for you. Start at DuBois Harley Davidson, located at 101 W. DuBois Ave., DuBois, and turn left onto W. DuBois Ave. Travel 3 blocks and make a left onto DuBois Street. When you see Nelson House, bear left onto N. Main St. You will stay on Main Street for about 1 mile, passing the historic Rumbarger Cemetery along the way. At the Hospital Ave. traffic light, stay straight to continue on S. Main St. Travel for 2.1 miles, and turn right onto Blinker Parkway (SR 119). Go straight through the light then veer left onto Stanley Road. After you cross the rail road tracks, stay to the left. The road will turn into Helvetia Road. At the U.S. 322/SR 410 intersection, go straight onto 322 then make a quick right before the Dan Henry Service Station onto Golden Yoke Road. You will pass St. Luke Church on the right as you follow Golden Yoke Rd. The road will split - stay to the left on Golden Yoke Road. This road is windy and narrow and will change to Schucker’s Orchard Rd. At the Y continue straight onto Saddle Club Road. Follow Saddle Club Road for about 1 mile. Turn right onto Hatten Rd. At the stop sign, turn right onto Irishtown Road, which turns into Walltown Rd. Then, turn right onto U.S. 219 South for a short time and make a left onto 6th St. At the stop sign, turn right onto Bilger’s Rocks Road. Make a left into the Bilger’s Rocks parking area, located at 1928 Bilger’s Rocks Rd.
NOTE: Route 410 is home to several Amish Shops. This route is not far off the path and would be a nice drive before heading to Bilger’s Rocks.
McGee’s Mills Covered Bridge to Bloody Knox Cabin
This 27 mile/1.5 hr. adventurous driving route will wind you through country filled with tons of sights to see. You may want to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the attractions you will pass along this route. There are miles of fields to enjoy spotlighting. Most of the route is paved and should be OK for a car with slow travel. Start on Cover Bridge Rd. just off of U.S. 219 and follow the road through the McGees Mills Covered Bridge. Proceed straight at the stop sign onto Ridge Rd. At the next stop sign, turn left onto Town Rd. At the split in the road, turn left onto La Jose Rd. Cross the railroad tracks and veer to the right to remain on La Jose Rd. La Jose Rd. turns into Cherry Corner Rd. and then Irvona Rd. At the crossroads, make a hard left onto Ansonville Rd. Stay straight on Ansonville Road and cross SR 729. At the next stop sign, make a left on Douglas Rd. toward New Millport. At the next Y, turn right on Zion Road toward Curwensville. Take SR 453 South to find Bloody Knox Cabin. The cabin is located on the left in Kellytown.
Osceola Veterans' Memorial to Janesville Dam
This southern county driving tour is about an hour and 15 minutes or 19 miles. Start at 600 Lingle Rd., the home of the Osceola Mills Veterans Memorial and the Osceola Volunteer Library. Turn Left onto Curtain St. and proceed out of town. Veer to the right onto Bucket Line Rd. At the stop sign, make a left onto Scotch Hollow Rd. When the road splits, stay to the left on Scotch Hollow Rd. At the stop sign, turn right onto Coal Run Rd. Then you have a choice either continue on Coal Run Road then make a left onto Ashland road which turns into Parsonville road. (Or for a rougher bumpy scenic route make the first left in about 10 yards onto Cowfer Rd. This is a narrow dirt road that is about 2 miles long and takes you through the backwoods. Stay straight on Cowfer Road until you meet the paved road at the stop sign. Turn Left onto Parsonville Rd.) At Houtzdale, stay straight through first stop sign. As you start down the hill start looking for Hanna St. and turn right onto Hannah St. Make a left onto Kendrick Rd., this Street sign is hard to see but there is a fire hydrant and it is in a housing area . Stay straight at the intersection onto Miriam Street (SR 253 South) past the Pipe and Pistol Restaurant. At stop sign, go left to continue on Miriam St. At the stop sign, go left on Union St. Then, at the next stop sign, go right onto Main St. (SR 453 South). Main St. turns into Viola Pike. Veer right onto Walnut Street, then go straight past the VFW at the stop sign. Janesville Dam/Mountz Memorial Park will be on the left, at 194 Walnut St., Smithmill. Mountz Memorial Park is a great facility with a playground and picnic area.
St. Severin’s Log Church to Highest Point in Clearfield County
The combination of nature and history is one of the things that makes our area stand out. This driving route will take you 1.25 hours winding through 29.5 miles of photographic country-side. From the church turn right onto Kylertown Road (Rt 53) in about .3 miles turn right onto Sullivan Grove Rd. This road changes from paved to dirt and is lined with tall pine trees. At the stop sign turn left onto Rolling Stone Rd, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the red shed with a circus elephant on it. Make a right just past Paul Gable & Son’s Electric onto Second Street. Then at stop sign turn right onto Schoonover Road. Continue on Schoonover you will need to stay to the right be sure to not take Davis Road. You will pass the West Branch Sportsman Club then at intersection turn right onto Deer Creek Road (Deer Creek Road is not marked but you will know to go right here) . You will be on Deer Creek Road for almost 6 miles and will see a small John Deer tractor marking Fish’s Farm then there is a kayak/fishing area if you want to stop for a break this is a good halfway point. Turn left onto Congress Hill Road (this road is a sharp left and you can see SR 879 straight ahead) follow this road for about a mile then stay straight onto Short Cut Road then turn right at stop sign back onto Congress Hill Road. At the stop sign make a right onto SR 879 Then make the first left onto East LeContes Mills Road (This road may not be marked) you will see the old Girard School as you turn in. You’re only on this road a short time and you need to veer to the right onto Gillingham road. You will be on this road for nearly 4 miles then veer right at cemetery onto Odessa Road. Turn right onto Knobs Road and travel 2.6 mil to left onto Chestnut Ridge Road. (the marker for Chestnut Ridge is stone and is set off the road.) Follow Chestnut Ridge for 2.1 miles up hill to the parking area. You have arrived at the highest point in Clearfield County and Pennsylvania State Game Lands 94. Enjoy a hike or just sit and watch for wildlife.
Note: Make sure you plan your trip to and from these destinations before you leave. It will depend on where you are coming from but there will be additional travel time getting to and from the destinations.