Summary: The trails of the Mt. Davis Natural Area are narrow and rocky, brushing through laurel and ferns. The loop goes down hemlock-lined Tub Mill Trail and then a steady climb up Timberslide Trail. Wildcat Spring is clearly marked on Shelter Rock Road (a wide grassy path) and is a crystal clear spring boiling up through the fine white sand in the bottom of a small pool.
The loop continues up Shelter Rock Trail to the primary feature of this area, the highest point in Pennsylvania, the Mt. Davis summit. The 40 ft observation tower on top of the 3,213 ft elevation gives you an expansive view.
Through some geological feature, the High Point Trail from the summit back to the picnic area always has water on it, even in the driest weather. The weather up here is often wet and windy.
One could make the trip shorter by going down Shelter Rock Road to Shelter Rock Trail (3.2 miles) Or longer by going down to Laurel Run and back up Wolf Rock Trail (8 miles).
Trailhead: From the Somerset exit of the PA Turnpike, follow Rt219 south past the business exit to Meyersdale. At the American Legion Post in Meyersdale turn right onto Broadway St. and then right onto Mt. Davis Rd. (SR 2004). This will wind up to the summit. The parking area will be on the left.
The picnic area at the parking lot has a wide open grassy area with plenty of picnic benches, a pavillion and a simple restroom. There used to be a water pump but it is currently disabled, so there are no other water facilities (unless you count Wildcat Spring down on the trail).
The trailhead itself is a short way further up the hill. Just parallel the road towards the summit.
The Mt Davis Natural Area (the 581 acres within the loop of this review) is open to limited primitive camping. Limitations include being 100 ft from any stream, 200 ft from roads, out of sight of the trail and leaving no trace. Contact the Forestry Office for details and a free permit.
Trail Guides for Mt. Davis Natural Area:
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Bureau of Forestry-Forbes District 4 724-238-1200
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Kevin Geiselman, who has posted 96 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by sg on 8/20/2008
Researching the route to reach Mt. Davis, it appears there is a mistake in the directions. Heading south on 219 going into the town of Meyersdale, one makes a RIGHT (not a left!) onto Broadway, followed by a right on Mt. Davis Road. Look it up on Google.
Reviewed by KG on 11/5/2006
On MDJ's suggestion, I have fixed the directions. When I visited Mt.Davis myself, someone else was driving and he drove all sorts of back roads on what he thought was the fastest route. Someone else following his directions could easily have missed turns and gotten lost. I hear that there is an eagle's next near the summit so keep an eye out for nesting in the spring.
Reviewed by MDJ on 11/5/2006
First off, the directions given by the author are horrible. Follow 219 south from the TPK, past the business exit. After getting off the Meyersdale exit, follow 219 north until you see the american legion post with the big tank out front. Take a LEFT at the tank and follow the road up to MOUNT DAVIS ROAD. I believe you turn right onto the road. This will wind up the mountain to the parking/picnic area on the LEFT. We took Shelter Rock road (just before the picnic area) into the woods until we found Tub Mill Trail (blue blazes) on the left. The trail was fairly well marked. The scenery was nice, probably nicer in early summer or fall (we went in early november as many of the leaves were on the ground).I'd allow about 3.5 hours to enjo
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