Home > Appalachian Trail Section Hike: Rausch Gap, Yellow Springs, Stony Mountain, PA

Appalachian Trail Section Hike: Rausch Gap, Yellow Springs, Stony Mountain, PA

PA-443 south to PA-325

July 20, 2013



Point-to-point distance: 16 miles

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Today's hike can best be summed up by one word: bugs! There was never a time we didn't have at least some bugs around us, but the first five miles of the hike were especially plagued with them. Swarms of tiny gnats berated us to no end, and this "super-strain" of bug seemed immune to even our best bugspray. We passed 23 people along the trail at varying intervals, and they all were experiencing the same discomfort; many of them had netting for their faces and even they seemed unable to conquer the tiny beasts.

Aside from the unpleasantries, though, the trail itself was easy walking; there was a good bit of up and downhill over the ridges of State Game Lands 211, including Second Mountain and Stony Mountain, but the grade was mostly gradual and unnoticeable.

Iron Spring

Highlights include the old-and-no-longer town-sites of Rausch Gap and Yellow Springs. Besides these, plenty of other evidence of bygone coal mining days remain etched into the mountainside, including the rails-to-trails path through Rausch Gap, plentiful old mining roads, coal deposits, and even deep orange-colored iron springs a couple of places along the trail.

Much of the flora included thick stands of mountain laurel and plentiful oaks, some hemlocks in the lowlands, and some rhododendrons. The fauna along the trail on this particular day included one deer and one giant black snake.

After crossing back over PA-443 half a mile into our hike, we did not come to another paved road until where my car was parked, at 325. We did pass one shelter, Rausch Gap Shelter, and too many nice camping spots to count.