50km of trails
A ski touring dream destination. Trails,lots of them. Wykoff Natural Area, Marion Brooks Natural Area, Trails leading to Crawford Vista, and trails near Mosquito Creek provide great skiing. Will have snow late into the season most years. Ski with a friend or group, and have proper safety gear. A winter camping destination, a wild and peaceful place.
The Quehannah Wild Area located in Moshannon and Elk State Forest (Clearfield, Cameron, and Elk County) is a prime place for ski touring. High elevation, good snow cover in most winters, and plenty of space, provide skiers with the ingredients for quality ski adventures. Deer, elk, and coyote roam the 50,000 acres.
The Quehanna Wild Area straddles the Quehanna Highway between Piper and Medix Run. Medix Run is about 8 miles NW of the wild area border, while Piper and the Quehanna Boot Camp are on the eastern boundary. A Moshannon State Forest Headquarters is located off the Quehannah Highway near the western border of the wild area. Several parking areas near the highway give starting point for ski trips. It is a good idea to carry a snow shovel as it can make parking and un-parking easier during heavy snows. Snow can pile up quickly in the isolated wild area. Maps and registers are available at a pull-off on the eastern side near Piper or at the Moshannon State Forest Headquarters entrance. For skier safety be sure to have the essentials (a way to make a fire, food ,water, first aid etc.) along in an small pack. Register your trip. The Quehanna Wild Area can be a lonely place. Touring alone is not recommended and since it is "make your own tracks", having friends along can make the skiing more enjoyable. It is possible to do ski camping but check the Moshannon and Elk State Forest rules on camping.
The best skiing is primarily the blue blazed trails (yellow on the map). The 75 mile oval Quehannah Trail itself has some skiable sections however, most of the skiing is on the inner blue blazed trails within the Quehannah Wild Area. Using the East Cross-Connector Trail and several blue blazed trails a skier can create numerous loop routes or out and back routes. Out and back routes have the advantage of being able to ski back on a broken in trail. Large groups of skiers can break into two smaller groups and ski a loop in opposite directions. Each group will then have a nice ski surface for part of the trip.
The parking area near the junction of the Quehanna Highway and Wykoff Road offers access to the trails in the Wykoff Natural Area section of the wild area and to trails south of the Quehanna Highway. There is a toilet at this location. Several loops can be skied from here. A loop trip would be Wykoff Trail to Baily Log Trail to Old Hoover Road and back to the parking area or reverse. Another trip on the south side of the highway could be David Lewis Trail to the parking area on Reactor Road (shovel needed if parking here) then Red Run Trail, to Meeker Trail, then Dry Marsh to the Crawford Vista and return. The vista is a great view of the Mosquito Creek Valley. There are other trails in this area Crawford Vista Extension (travel up hill on this trail is recommended) and the East Cross-Connector Trail that can be used to create loop routes. Some short hills may require walking up or down depending on the skill level of the skier. Ski conservatively in the wild area as help is far away.
Two other places for access include the parking areas near the Beaver Run Shallow Water Impoundment and Marion Brooks Natural Area. Again using the East Cross-Connector Trail some scenic loop routes can be skied. The Mosquito Creek Trail is off of the Quehanna Highway just outside the wild area boundary near the Moshannon State Forest Headquarters. Mosquito Creek Bridge was out in 2012 keep that in mind in planning a trip in this area. The Quehanna Wild Area offers 50 KM + (31 miles +) of skiable trails, solitude, wildlife, and history. The landscape is unique and winter is an ideal time to explore it. This is one of Pennsylvania's best places for pure ski touring adventures.