Shangri-la or Trough Creek State Park?

“Rainbow Falls in September, Trough Creek”

Wednesday, Thursday Sep. 23 & 24  Trough Creek State Park   Walking along the scenic gorge along the Great Trough Creek which  meanders  through Terrace Mountain and empties into Raystown Lake one might think they have entered “Shangri-la”. Set in a deep dark forest of beautiful old growth trees and lovely flowering mountain laurel and rhododendron.  I loved painting here and it was not heavily populated.  We were only there for a short time, so we spent most of our visit wandering around the hiking trail along the creek.  You first cross a tenuous suspension bridge that my grandchildren would love.  Then you enter into a pristine Shangri-la.  You are surrounded by flowers and towering trees.  Unfortunately, the “rainbow falls”  was nothing more than a trickle.  I didn’t mind though, the rocks and cliffs were stupendous and I enjoyed sketching in the quiet deep beauty of the forest while Carl continued the climb up to  “balanced rock”, which looks like it is ready to fall at any minute.  

I love learning about the history of the place.  It is not hard to imagine the Native American inhabitants who hunted and fished in this area.  This all changed when they were  forced out by colonial settlers  after the American Revolutionary War. The land was cleared for farming and  a gristmill was built.  Many of the old-growth forest was cut down to provide fuel for the furnaces.   Later settlers built iron furnaces clearing the old-growth forests to provide fuel for the furnaces.  Edgar Allan Poe is said  to have visited the area and found inspiration in the ravens that lived on the cliffs along Great Trough Creek just prior to writing his poem “The Raven”.

In 1910 the lumber boom dessimated the forest .  “The mountains were stripped by the lumbering operation of Caprio and Grieco who had built a railroad into the area and built a sawmill at Paradise Furnace. The lumbermen took the logs to the sawmill where they were cut into lumber. Smaller logs were used to reinforce the mine shafts at the Broad Top Coal and Mineral Company mines in Jacobs, Pennsylvania. The only thing the lumbermen left behind was the treetops. These tree tops were left to dry. The passing steam locomotives on the railroads would ignite this dry brush causing massive wildfires that swept through the mountains and valleys. The Great Trough Creek area was left to waste. The forests struggled to regrow in the wake of the wildfire. The hills began to erode. The streams were dying and wildlife was scarcely found.”With the help of the hard working men of the WPA and CCC during the Great Depression the forest were revitalized.


There is much beauty here to explore and I will definitely be coming back!

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