Quebec Run Wild Area

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Quebec Run Wild Area
Quebec Run Wild Area.png
Map showing the location of Quebec Run Wild Area
Map showing the location of Quebec Run Wild Area
Location of Quebec Run Wild Area in Pennsylvania
LocationFayette County, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, United States
Coordinates39°45′30″N 79°40′59″W / 39.75833°N 79.68306°W / 39.75833; -79.68306Coordinates: 39°45′30″N 79°40′59″W / 39.75833°N 79.68306°W / 39.75833; -79.68306
Area7,441 acres (30.11 km2)[1]
Elevation2,021 ft (616 m)[2]
Governing bodyPennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Quebec Run Wild Area is a 7,441-acre (3,011 ha) section of Forbes State Forest located in Fayette County, Pennsylvania just north of the Mason–Dixon line and the Pennsylvania border with West Virginia.[3] Situated on the eastern slope of Chestnut Ridge, one of the westernmost ridges in the Appalachian Mountain Range, Quebec Run is heavily forested and contains several miles of maintained, interconnected trail.[4] As is the case with all Pennsylvania state forest wild areas, no development of a permanent nature is permitted “in order to retain the undeveloped character of the area.”[5] Quebec Run is the largest wild area without a road in southwestern Pennsylvania and serves as a destination for various outdoor activities including hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.

Quebec Run Wild Area is one of two wild areas most recently added to the Pennsylvania state forest system in 2004 (the other is Hammersley Wild Area in Susquehannock State Forest).


While surveying the Mason–Dixon line in 1767, the English astronomer George Mason and a team of colonial surveyors ascended Chestnut Ridge and passed within three miles of the southern tip of Quebec Run. Mason described the area in his journal as "a wild of wildes: the laurel overgrown, the rocks gaping to swallow up, over whose deep mouths you may step. The whole is a deep melancholy appearance out of nature.”[6][7][8] At this time Quebec Run was blanketed by old-growth forest dominated by American chestnut, eastern hemlock, oak, and maple.

Quebec Run Wild Area has since seen extensive logging activity. The area was most recently harvested between 1938 and 1940 by the Summit Lumber Co. of Uniontown. Evidence of this activity lingers to the present day, as seen by the remnants of old logging roads and the presence of brown sawdust piles. The vestiges of a building foundation situated along Mill Run marks the site of a saw mill which was built in the late 1930s or early 1940s.[9]

A local legend exists about a group of Confederate soldiers who buried a large cache of gold, allegedly stolen from nearby Union banks during the Civil War, just north of the stream known as Quebec Run. While no evidence has been found to support this story, several excavation sites believed to be attempts to recover the gold still exist and are accessible from Hess Trail.[7][8][10]

Quebec Run Wild Area has been managed as a wild area since 1972[11] but was not officially designated a Pennsylvania state forest wild area until 2004.


Waterfalls along the Quebec Run stream
One of many water falls found along Quebec Run

Today Quebec Run Wild Area is a healthy third-growth forest in the Appalachian mixed mesophytic ecoregion. The woods are composed of chestnut oak, red oak, red maple, black cherry, eastern hemlock, and pine. Mountain laurel and northern maidenhair fern are common along the higher slopes and ridges, while wood nettle and rhododendron thickets line the banks of many streams. Wildlife includes white-tailed deer, beaver, skunk, wild turkey, red fox, coyote, timber rattlesnake, bobcat, and American black bear.

Several fast moving, rocky streams flow through the area, including Hess Run, Tebolt Run, and Quebec Run. These streams intersect many of the area's trails, and all are tributaries of Big Sandy Creek.[9]

The limestone solutional cave known locally as Barton’s Cave lies within the upper reaches of the Quebec Run watershed. The cave is used by bats for hibernation and is frequently visited by cavers.[11]


The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources states that "a wild area is an extensive area, which the general public will be permitted to see, use and enjoy for such activities as hiking, hunting, and fishing."[5] Hiking is therefore permitted on all trails in Quebec Run Wild Area, while cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and horseback riding are permitted on designated trails. A permit is required for camping only when staying in the same location for more than one night. As a state-designated wild area, bathrooms and rest areas are not available at Quebec Run. Patrons are advised to carry an adequate supply of drinking water.


The Quebec Run trail system consists of at least 11 interconnected trails with a combined length of more than 26 miles.[12] The trails are maintained by Forbes State Forest and by volunteers. The trails are short, blazed in blue, and can be combined with what remains of the old logging roads (which are not blazed), allowing for custom loops to fit a variety of experience levels. The longest trails are Hess Trail and Tebolt Trail at 4.1 mi (6.60 km) and 3.9 mi (6.27 km), respectively.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Forbes State Forest". Wild & Natural Areas. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  2. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Quebec Run Wild Area". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. November 1, 1989. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  3. ^ "Forbes State Forest". Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
  4. ^ Tom Thwaites (2000). 50 Hikes In Western Pennsylvania. Countryman Press. pp. 74–75. ISBN 9780881504736.
  5. ^ a b "ECOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS". Natural Areas and Wild Areas. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
  6. ^ Peter P. Hill (1988). French Perceptions of the Early American Republic 1783-1793. American Philosophical Society, 1988. p. 371. ISBN 9780871692269. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  7. ^ a b W.E. Hamilton, D.Y. Sillman. "Between Stones and Trees: An Ecologist Hikes Western Pennsylvania" (PDF). Quebec Run Wild Area. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  8. ^ a b BOB DOWNING (2010-09-28). "Pa. Wilderness Doesn't Give Up Its Gold, But Hikers Will Enjoy Trek In Area Where Loot Is Believed Hidden". Akron Beacon Journal. Archived from the original on 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  9. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry: Forbes State Forest" (PDF). Quebec Run Wild Area. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  10. ^ Donna L. Ruff (2006). 60 Hikes within 60 Miles, Pittsburgh: including Allegheny and surrounding counties. Menasha Ridge Press. pp. 207–210. ISBN 9780897325912.
  11. ^ a b "FAYETTE COUNTY NATURAL HERITAGE INVENTORY" (PDF). Upper Quebec Run Watershed BDA. Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. July 31, 2000. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  12. ^ Jeff Mitchell (30 December 2004). Backpacking Pennsylvania: 37 Great Hikes. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. pp. 214–216. ISBN 9780811731805.