Uncharted Lancaster: Haunted Indian Gold Adventure
Distance: Approximately 3.25 miles round trip with parts requiring trekking up and down steep paths.
What to bring: (1) Appropriate footwear. While the hike is almost entirely on a trail, locating the passcode boxes typically requires hopping off the path by 10-20 feet, often over rough terrain. (2) An internet-connected device. My service provider is AT&T, and I had phone reception during the entire hike. (3) Paper and something to write with. You will need to record the four digits of the passcode as you collect them. Your phone’s camera would work, as well.
If you want to learn more about the buried gold hidden in Safe Harbor as well as several other lost treasures from the French & Indian War before starting the adventure, click here. But perhaps the real motivation for the massacre of the Conestoga by the Paxton Boys was not revenge but gold in this historical fiction short story. Read it here. You can read the original newspaper articles for the 1870s detailing the activities of the Safe Harbor treasure hunters here.
We’re headed to Safe Harbor, but not where you think. We’re headed to the Manor Township side of the Safe Harbor Nature Preserve. The address is 87 Observation Site Road, Conestoga, PA 17516. Click here for directions. GPS does not always take you far enough. When you get to the gate across the road, you’ve reached the parking area. You can’t miss it.
Unlocking the Location of the Haunted Indian Gold
To unlock the treasure’s location, you first need to find the four passcode boxes. Each box has one of the four digits you need. Their positions and suggested routes are highlighted on the map below. Of course, you could do them in any order along any trail.
Walk down Observation Site Road following the blue trail markers painted on the road.
Eventually, the blue markers will lead you off the road and onto a trail on the right. Don’t worry, you can’t miss the turn, it’s clearly highlighted. The blue path heads down to the Enola Low-Grade Trail.
More than halfway down the slope approximately half a mile from the parking area, you will come to the first checkpoint. It’s under a large rock outcropping to your right twenty feet up the slope.
The spot you are looking for is just past this large rock face.
The Enola-Low Grade and a gate to keep ATVs out are both visible from Checkpoint 1’s location. A metal pipe in the ground is another clue that you are in the right spot.
Once you find the box, open it and record both the number and position of the digit in the passcode. Be sure to return the box where you found it so future adventures can locate it.
Walk the rest of the way down the path to the Enola Low-Grade, turn left. Traveling east towards the Safe Harbor dam, walk to where the Enola Low-Grade Trail currently ends at the trestle bridge. To the left of the fence that prevents you from crossing the bridge, you will see a steep path down to the iron girders that support the superstructure. Head there.
Climb onto the cement support pillar and look behind the triangle-shaped piece of steel.
You will find the box on a ledge of steel. Once you find the box, open it and record both the number and position of the digit in the passcode.
Turn around and head up the hill along the grassy path that’s large enough to accommodate a car.
As the trail enters into the forest, you are getting close to the third checkpoint. On your left look for where the hill’s slope is covered in large mossy stones. Find a small outcropping. Look inside.
Here’s what the trail looks like when you are in the correct spot.
This is what the trail looks like behind you when you are in the correct spot.
Once you find the box, open it and record both the number and position of the digit in the passcode.
Continue up the path all the way to the Safe Harbor power substation. The power of the electricity here is fantastic. You can easily hear the hum. You even feel it in the air as you approach. It seems like a Marvel superhero…or more accurately supervillain origin story waiting to happen.
At the top of the hill, you will see a small two-story brick tower. Head there. Below the tower along the short chainlink fence are some observation areas with informational signs in various states of disrepair.
Check each post until you find the box. It’s currently attached via a bungee cord. No promises it will be that way when you get there.
Unlock the Treasure’s Location
Once you have the four digits, put them in the correct order. When you are ready, click here.