The Scotia Barrens, located west of State College, is largely owned by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and is designated as State Game Lands 176. The Scotia Barrens derives its name from two features in the area. Scotia was a small iron ore mining village created in the early 1880s by Andrew Carnegie. You will find remnants of the iron ore era while hiking in the Scotia Barrens. The barrens is a natural habitat that supports plant species adapted to grown in severe conditions. Scotia Barrens contains large growths of pitch pine and scrub oak. A large variety of birds call this area home and bird watching is a popular activity for those visiting the Scotia Barrens.
There are many trails that criss-cross Scotia Barrens. All of these trails are suitable for hiking, with many used by bikers as well. Some trails are designated for equestrian use. Since these trails reside in the state game lands, fluorescent orange attire is required to be worn from November 15th to December 15th.
- Scotia Barrens
A sunny, early spring day had us heading out into the woods for the first hike of the year. We had hiked in the Scotia Barrens over 5 years ago and had wanted to come back to explore more but we never made it back. With a newly purchased Scotia Barrens map by Purplelizard in hand we decided to head back out to the gamelands and explore the trails around the site that use to be the iron ore mining town of Scotia.
- Scotia Barrens
With it's close proximity to State College and housing developments north of town, the Scotia Barrens is a good place for a casual hike during the weekend or even after work during the week. This was our first venture into The Barrens and Shari and I were not sure what to expect. I had heard many people talk of this location and decided one evening after work that we would head out and do a short hike of 2 to 3 miles. Ten minutes after leaving the house we found ourselves at one of the trail heads, just outside Circle Ville.