Shamokin Pennsylvania November 14, 1999
Offroading in Bear Valley

Shamokin PAWhen you enter the town of Shamokin for the first time the thing that might grab your attention literally above all else is the massive piles of mining debri called slag. These mosterous piles shadow the town of Shamokin like a dormant volcano, waiting. When one takes into consideration that fact that this town as with many others in the anthracite  coal region are here because of the coal mining boom and the industrialization of Pennsylvania and the United States that took place earlier in the 19th century, it then begins to make sense that this is why the small town is nessled in this valley and around these ominous landmarks.

Depending on your perspective, you may preceive these features of the landscape from different points of view. Some may think they are ugly scares from careless, destuctive pillaging of the ground by big money. Others may see the fuel of the industrial Revolution by means of hard labor or the memory of an older relative who worked these mines to make an honest wage to support the family. Someone aware of the forces that created the coal which is mined from this region of PA may look around and see fossils of ferns everywhere and an opportunity to explore and search for the perfect specimen to add to their collection.

But this is not an enviromental awareness web site, nor is it a paleontology forum to discuss your findings, this is a site for the offroader. And when I arrived in this sleepy little town of Shamokin in a convoy of 23 Toyota Tacoma's and various other 4x4's I had one thing on my mind. Trails. Looking around and seeing these massive piles, I and the rest of our group saw opportunity for exploration. This place was a gold mine. Somewhere in the back roads that branch off of this little town there were old mining trails that lead to strip mined tracks of land with hills, slopes, trails and mud holes just waiting for the aired down 4x4 to find.

Whaleback in Bear Valley

Directions from Centralia:

Take 61/54 west from the speed shop through Mt. Carmel, through Kulpmont, and into Shamokin. Make a left on rt 125 south in Shamokin ( 125 connects with 61/54 at about the center of Shamokin), and take it south out of town. When you get out of Shamokin on 125, you'll enter a hard curve to the left. Look for a sign on the right side of the road at the curve (if the sign is still there) for a stripping or a mining operation or whatever... should be the first mining operation you see outside of town. Make a right turn at the road next to the sign... that road goes into Bear Valley, through the first and second patches. Continue on the same road... it will eventually turn into a rugged dirt road. GPS and a map


The Whaleback Anticline is about a quarter mile down the dirt road, on the left hand side - worth a look. Anyone in Shamokin or in the Bear Valley patches can tell you how to find these trails.

      Next ----->