Trinity Church Road to Otter Creek Campground
From the Highpoint Park parking lot to the Otter Creek Campgrounds, the Mason Dixon pathway travels 19.1 miles along country roads and rugged trails, through Klines Run Park, Native Lands Park, Long Level, Apollo County Park, Otter Creek Nature Preserve and PA State Game Lands #83.
Exiting Highpoint Scenic Vista, the trail follows Trinity Church and Klines Run Roads approximately 1.3 miles, progressing into Klines Run Park, a 60 acre park the includes picnic areas, playground equipment, a creek and trails.
A half mile walk through Klines Run Park leads to the grassy, mowed Native Lands Heritage trail that travels southbound through the 160 acre park. The trail passes 2 historic York County sites: the Dritt Family Cemetery and the Susquehannock Indian Settlement Site. The Heritage Trail splits away from the Mason Dixon Trail on the north side of the Settlement and leads to the Zimmerman Center for Heritage, a historic center featuring Native American artifacts and Susquehanna River history.
The trail moves to Route 624 for a mere .2 mile, then returns to dirt pathway, that ascends to a ridge line and back down to the main road near the river.
For 1 mile, the Mason Dixon follows Fishing Creek Road (Route 624), through a busy recreation area and then onto a less traveled section as seen below. This area include Shanks Mare, a boat launch, picnic area and a large parking lot. We walked through this section on July 4th, and it was quite busy with boat-towing-trucks and people milling about. And there were bugs as size of silver dollars. I have no idea this species. They swarmed and covered our bodies (and the dogs) as we walked. I stopped at a road sign to snap a photo. Miraculously, they disappeared when we departed the recreation area.
Where the public road of Fishing Creek ends, the Mason Dixon trail makes a hard left and climbs, via switchbacks, to a rocky ridge. The trail weaves over and around boulders, making this section one of my favorites of the M-D T.
Continuing southeast, the trail passes an overlook of the Susquehanna near Greenbranch Road. The view is lovely and luckily I walked this section mid week, so I avoided the crowds that picnic in this area. Unfortunately, those who party on this rocky outcropping don’t appear to follow the Leave No Trace principles. I filled a grocery bag with bottles, wrappers and other trash while descending to the road.
The trail follows the Greenbranch Road .4 mile and then climbs 415′ over the course of a mile to the rocky ridge line. From the peak, the trail descends stone steps to a river inlet that meets Cuff’s Run. As hard as I tried, I could not capture the beauty of this area in a photo. From the right, water tumbled over rocks and met the water of the Susquehanna coming in from the left. River kayakers rested on rocks as we continued our walk over the water and uphill toward the crest.
Walking the ridge line south of Cuff’s Run was fun: big boulders to climb over and through. For 2 miles, there are “little ups and downs”, my husband’s regularly used phrase for 300-400′ elevation changes. From the crest, the trails drops 410′ into Apollo County Park, where water once again meets the trail (Wilson Run).
Apollo County Park, 340 acres, was created in 1969 and named for the Apollo moon landing. The area where Wilson Run and the Susquehanna meet is listed on topographical maps as Lockport. The Village of Lockport no longer exists and the park is situated on the land formerly part of that tiny town.
The trail weaves through Apollo Park and into the Otter Creek Nature Preserve. Urey Overlook is a popular destination for those who want a short hike and a view of the Susquehanna River.
The Mason Dixon Trail winds along Otter Creek and through the Otter Creek Campgrounds.
Sadly, along the shores, debris remains from the September 2018 flood. Refrigerator, patio furniture, shopping carts and more have piled up along various areas of the creek edge. With no easy access by vehicle, I am unsure of the best way to remove these large items. We packed out what we could carry, but I had no no way to lug out large items from the middle of the game lands. <crying face>
Parking and restroom options west to east
Mile 0 – Intersection of Knights View and Trinity Church Roads
Mile 1.7 – Klines Run Parking lot off Route 624
Mile 5.5 – Parking lot (near Shank’s Mare) on Route 624, Long Level Road
Mile 6.0 – Road side parking on Route 624 near the Fishing Creek Bridge (public roadway ends at this point)
Mile 7.5 – Road side parking along Greenbranch Road
Mile 11.2 – Apollo County Park lot on Boyd’s Road holds approximately 6 vehicles. From the lot is a .2 mile connector trail to the Mason Dixon Trail.
Mile 13.5 – Parking lot on Shenks Ferry Road.
Mile 16.3 – Urey Overlook Parking Lot on Route 425 holds approximately 6 vehicles.
Mile 19 – Large parking lot at the Otter Creek Bridge on Route 425, near the Otter Creek Campgrounds. There is a fee during summer season. The lot is roped off during off-season and unavailable for parking.