Clearfield County, located in the Pennsylvania Wilds region northwest of State College and Altoona, offers a wealth of ways to get away from it all. Whether you want to spend a day on the water canoeing, kayaking, or fishing, or learning more about the history and the heroes of the area while exploring its geocaching trails, the area offers an escape to nature.
Those who want to stay on land can spend days or even months looking for caches along the county’s five geotrail routes, which in February became part of the worldwide Geo Tour.
“We’ve reorganized all of the trails, updating them with new boxes, equipment, and swag to make them brand new again,” said Josiah Jones, who heads the county’s tourism effort.
With between 28 and 36 geocaches each, Clearfield’s trails include:
- Cemeteries, noting graves of local and historical importance
- Parks and Recreation, which covers popular outdoor areas throughout the county
- Waterways, exploring local ponds, creeks, rivers, and lakes
- Hometown Heroes, paying tribute to the area’s soldiers and servicemen
- Forgotten Clearfield, which is a great way to learn about mining and military history and even discover ghost towns along the way
While some people choose to complete a route over a weekend, others come back time and time again to fill up the CCGT Passport to redeem it for collectible geocoins. Those who complete all five trails receive a trackable geocoin.
Exploring by water
The West Branch of the Susquehanna River offers a number of options for those wanting to explore the area’s attractions by water. Depending on location and water level, canoers and kayakers can choose to spend time meandering peacefully alongside the shore or challenging themselves on Class 2 whitewater.
Boaters can bring their own equipment, or gear up at McCrackens Canoe Sales and Rental, where the owners offer a wealth of river information as well as transportation to and from put-in points, some of which can be pretty remote.
“At some points where you get in, you are dedicated to the trip — it’s another 22 miles before you can get out,” said Lynda McCracken, adding that people spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days enjoying the world-class river.
Fishing by boat, anglers attempt to catch perch, catfish, crappie, walleye, and small and largemouth bass. More than 20 species of fish live in the West Branch, which attracts everyone from fly fisherman to boat anglers.
Insider tip: Fishing with kids? You can fish the West Branch from shore at Lower Wittmer Park by the Shaw Public Library, or drop a line from any number of Clearfield County bridges.
“One of the more popular areas is from Anderson Creek down to Moose Creek, which is stocked with trout by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission,” said Terry Malloy, of Jim’s Sports Center in downtown Clearfield. “It’s easily accessible from bridges and parks, and there’s parking alongside the road.”
Anglers looking to stock up on bait or obtain resident and non-resident licenses and other supplies can visit Aletta’s Farm Market in Curwensville, Jim’s Sports Center in Clearfield, or Bob’s Army & Navy in Clearfield, among other outlets.
For more information
Clearfield Co. Tourism: visitclearfieldcounty.org