Most of the trails here are short but very nice. The Rapid Run Nature Trail is used a lot in connection with the Environmental Learning Center located in the park and also with school groups. We got to take the trail today when there were very people in the park, almost none who weren't fishing.
It's a loop...a think a little over a mile that goes right along Rapid Run, over wetlands and bogs and across springs. There's a variety of wildlife you'll observe if you just stop and stay silent for a couple minutes. There's also an abundance of vegetation on this trail. Like all trails in the state park system, it is identified by "blazes"...in this case, white dots indiciate the route the trails takes.
It also connects with the Overlook Trail and the Boiling Spring Trail.
Probably the most popular thing at RB Winter, Halfway Lake gets very crowded on any given nice day. I can't really understand this because the water is always VERY cold with suspicious warm spots. (Go to nearby and much warmer Poe Valley for swimming) It is pretty on a day when it's warm but not part of the open beach season, such as in April or early May. Halfway Dam is on the opposite side of the lake and provides a good fishing area.
While the trails are well maintained, those that have a significant gain in elevation quickly become very rocky. Watch your footing as you are climbing up the trails--the rocks shift around a lot and aren't that stable. The Overlook trail is very short-- only 1/3 of a mile, but it seems to be the one with the rockiest path. In that time, you go up hundreds of feet to....an overlook. (Where did they get that obscure name for the trail?)
Just be careful--most trails in PA are like this.
If you look at this picture, which is a poster they have hanging in the camping area, you can see why it's stupid, thoughtless and just an overall terrible idea to feed wildlife. 1st--it's bad for you. If the animal comes to expect that you'll be there with food and you don't have it, they are going to get angry and could hurt you. 2nd--animals learn where there's food available, usually by having to search for it. When you supply their food for a week or a summer, they become unable to look for the food themselves and are dependent on humans. This is not good for a "wild" animal. Bears learn quickly, if there's food left out in the camp that every camp might have food. PA Dept of Conservation of Wildlife recommends you store it in your car. I think this warning needs to be a little more complete. IF you are going to store it in your car, make sure it's sealed or in an airtight container or cooler.
Information is available all over the internet about feeding wildlife. Also, there are brochures in the parks...national and state.
LEAVE THE ANIMALS ALONE
Jones Mountain Road is a nice little drive not too far from RB Winter. It's not paved, it's very narrow and goes straight up the side of the mountain. But in the early spring where there's not too many leaves on the trees on in the fall when the leaves are changing, it provides a beautiful breathtaking view of the ridges. This is only something I recommend doing in the warmer seasons as the road isn't maintained in the winter--mostly it's just an old state forest road that opened to motor vehicles.
To get here from RB Winter, turn left out of the park, heading east on 192. You'll pass a few hunting, rod and gun camps and then the sign telling you you're leaving the Bald Eagle State Forest. The road is on your right. If you come to a marked intersection, you've gone too far...it's about 1/4 mile before that.
I was always really fascinated with the "boiling springs" at RB Winter when I was little. No, I take that back. I am STILL fascinated with them. This particular one is right behind the public beach and concession area, but there's also a trail called "Boiling Spring Trail" that will lead you up to the old CCC springhouse. I suppose I should mention that the "boilng" springs here in PA aren't hot, they are cold...it's just pressure that makes them bubble up from the ground
The picture I took looks pretty unappealing because someone threw sand on it to make it more visable.