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Centre County Pennsylvania Hiking Trails

Chuck Keiper Trail

Sproul State Forest

Length: 52.8 miles
Rating: Strenuous

This orange paint blazed trail in the southern part of the Sproul State Forest is organized into two loops, east and west. The east loop is 36 KM long and suitable for a two day backpack. The west loop of 54 KM can be traversed in three days.

The Chuck Keiper Trail traverses the Burns Run Wild Area, Fish Dam Wild Area, East Branch Swamp Natural Area and Cranberry Swamp Natural Area. A looped trail is located around the perimeter of Cranberry Swamp. This trail will be marked with blue paint blazed when time and manpower permits.

The trail is named for Charles F. Keiper who was the District Wildlife Conservation for Western Clinton County from 1951 until his death in 1973. Chuck Keiper was a dedicated conservationist and wildlife law enforcement officer. This trail is a tribute to his devotion to Pennsylvania's wildlife resource. There are many stream crossings without bridges so the trail should be hiked during low water.

On May 31, 1985, a complex tornado ripped through much of North Central PA. Over 8,000 acres of forest land in the Sproul State Forest was flattened. Fish Dam Trail and Denniston Fork Trail in the Fish Dam Wild Area were particularly devastated. As a result, the trail in this area has been relocated.

The Western Loop of the trail bisects the Two Rock Run Fire area. This wildfire was ignited by careless burning on April 18, 1990. Nine out of ten trees in the path of the wildfire died as a result of the burn. Timber salvage on a third of the 9600 acres burned has been completed. The wildfire cuts the Chuck Keiper in two places. These segments include Walker Trail and J. U. Branch Trail. Dead trees on both sides of the trail have been removed. Carsonite post trail markers have been used to mark the trail in some areas where all trees were harvested. Now, in the summer there is no shade on the burned segments of the trail.

In cooperation with DCNR, sections of this trail are maintained, in part, by volunteers from the Keystone Trails Association.

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