This is hands down my favorite Uncharted Lancaster adventure. This epic expedition has you crisscrossing through five different tunnels and culverts as we journey from Shenks Ferry to Safe Harbor and back again.
What to expect
Anyone who participates should be prepared for a strenuous but gratifying experience. This moderate to challenging hike is approximately 4 miles round trip.
Dress for the weather and wear closed-toe shoes. There’s a high possibility of wet feet as we cross streams and traverse through dark culverts (so be sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp). Packing something to drink and a snack isn’t a bad idea, either.
I will have some Uncharted Lancaster swag, such as stickers, magnets, lapel pins, and 3″ patches for participants to choose from as souvenirs.
You are headed to Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve. Do not use Google’s street address. It is not accurate. Here are the GPS coordinates: 39.905861, -76.368222. Here’s a Google link with the GPS coordinates: https://goo.gl/maps/Q5s4fsjVT3z2BLn27
Park and check in at the Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve parking lot located at the bottom of Green Hill Road off Shenks Ferry Road off of River Road. As you approach, you will drive through a large tunnel on your way to the bottom of the hill near the Susquehanna River.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Here are some highlights of locations you will visit and things you will learn:
Together, we will traverse through five tunnels and culverts of various sizes and designs. What’s the difference between the two, you ask? A culvert has water flowing through it. A tunnel does not.
Safe Harbor Christmas Train Accident
We will answer the eternal question of what happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force when we visit the site of the December 23, 1981, Conrail train accident. On that day, an 82-car freight train collided with a massive boulder below Safe Harbor dam.
While on location, you can explore some wreckage from the horrible accident.
Forgotten Cold Cellar
Our trek will take us past a nearly hidden cold cellar, which old-timers called a “working spring house.” Those who are brave enough can venture inside to take some incredible photographs.
Unique View of Safe Harbor Dam and Big Indian Rock
Our adventure will take us to seldom-visited locations offering unique vistas of Safe Harbor Dam and Big Indian Rock.
Big Indian Rock is home to one of the most significant archaeological sites in the entire northeastern United States. Along with Little Indian Rock, the two islands have 1,000-year-old petroglyphs carved on them. They are accessible only by water and depict animal tracks, human figures, and mystical thunderbirds.
Safe Harbor Trestle Bridge
With the Safe Harbor trestle bridge now complete, we will extend our expedition across the 1,560 feet long, 150 feet high structure. It is the third-highest trestle bridge in the U.S. and the second-longest trestle in Pennsylvania.
We will finish our journey by walking through the haunted tunnel of Shenks Ferry, home to the ghost of a woman known as the “White Angel.”
Here are some great photos by Pat Dougherty from the January 22, 2022, Tunnels of Enola hike. It won’t be icy when we trek through these architectural gems.