This is an out-an-back 9.8 mile hike along the Mason-Dixon Trail in Pennsylvania along the Susquehanna River. Hike through Peavine Island, Mill Creek and Oakland Run on rocky and uneven terrain. Several short climbs are in the hike. Total cumulative elevation gain is 2849 feet.
DIRECTIONS TO HIKE SITE: From I-95 at Maryland Exit 80: Take MD-543 North/Riverside Parkway, go 2 miles. Turn right onto MD-126 North/Calvary Road go 16.8 miles. Turn right onto MD-165 North/Pylesville Road, entering into Pennsylvania for .8 miles. Continue on Pa-74 North/Delta Road for 2 miles. At traffic circle, continue straight to stay on PA-74 north/Delta Road for 2.3 miles. Turn right onto PA-372 East/Holtwood Road for 2.3 miles. Slow down after 2 miles and look for River Road on the left immediately following a road on the right with a brown sign. Go 184 feet and turn right into the parking area.
ADDRESS: Holtwood Road: Lock 12 historical area parking lot, River Road, Airville, PA 17302 / Map here: View Larger Map
TRAIL MAP: My Delorme Mapshare
HIKE DESCRIPTION: Following the blue-blazed trail, this hike begins at the historic Lock 12 of the Susquehanna Canal then heads south for a quick loop on Peavine Island. Access to Peavine Island is seasonable and a section of the trail can at times be under water. If this is the case, continue heading north on the blue-blazed trail back under the Norman Wood (blue) bridge along the Susquehanna River. The trail then turns left to River Road by an old saw mill. Cross over the bridge and take an immediate left to head up Mill Run.
Enjoy the beautiful waterfall views surrounded by rhododendron with a gradual incline. When the trail begins to head right and you see a fork, take the right and use the switchbacks to climb up the trail towards the power lines. Great views of the Susquehanna River, the Norman Wood Bridge, Holtwood Hydroelectric Plant, and Lake Aldred along this stretch with two overlooks.
Cross the power lines and head down back to River road and continue north until the next trail marker is seen on the left towards Oakland Run. This is a large loop with the turnaround point at a lovely and isolated perfect camping spot. Continue on the blue-blazed trail to return home.
COMMENTARY: The Holtwood Environmental Area is managed by the PP&L Energy Company. About 15 miles of the Mason-Dixon Trail go through the Holtwood Environmental Area.
On the west side of the Susquehanna, this section of the Mason-Dixon Trail offers historical and pristine woodlands views. Lock 12 is one of the most well-preserved locks of the old Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal, built between 1836 and 1839 for commerce between the greater Harrisburg area and the Chesapeake Bay. Lock 12 is located in York County along Route 372 near the Norman Wood Bridge. Nearby, several hundred feet up Anderson’s Run, is a restored double lime-kiln and the remains of a sawmill and its dam, pond and millrace. (source: Lock 12 Historic Area at Holtwood PP&L)
This hike is one of my favorite hikes that I’ve been on with the Mountain Club of Maryland. It offers incredibly verdant dells with babbling brooks and blooming flowers along the trail. It was a beautiful spring day and while there has been little rain in the area and pollen count is high, the wildflowers were fully in bloom. Along the Susquehanna, these blue bells are well-known for their glorious color.
Other wildflower views included these “Dutchman’s Breeches.”
While I’ve never seen what a Dutchman’s Breeches looks like, I guess they might look a little like these drying upside down on a clothes line.
Even though the group was hiking fast – as they always do, leaving me in the dust. I managed to catch this Trillium hiding behind a tree.
There were several of these Jack-in-the-Pulpits along the trail.
I had to look hard as they blended in so well in their environment.
I’m not sure what these yellow flowers are, but I loved how they led me through the Bamboo.
There were amazing water and rock views throughout the hike.
This is Mill Creek Run with an incredible stream and waterfalls.
rhododendrons filled the hills along the run and will be glorious when they bloom.
Views along the Susquehanna and Lake Aldred.
Where hobbits live – Oakland Run.
See you soon on the trail!