South Central Area
The Hook Natural Area
This is the only complete watershed preserved as such in the Natural Areas program. The 5,119-acre area was logged off in 1893-96. The land was purchased by the Commonwealth less than 10 years later. The original dense white pine, hemlock and white oak were replaced by 100-year-old black, red, white, scarlet and chestnut oaks; yellow, white and black birch; white pine; and red maple. The watershed is drained by the north branch of Buffalo Creek, a natural brook trout stream, which joins Panther Run to form the main water course. The water is dark amber because the stream is fed by ground water that leaches decomposing organic matter out of the soil.
The Hook is located in western Union County, between PA Routes 192 and 45, about 30 miles east northeast of State College and 15 miles west of Lewisburg. It would be advisable to get the Putlic Use Map from the Bald Eagle State Forest to locate it. Travel into the State Forest on Jones Mountain Road, which intersects Route 192 approximately 1.5 miles west of the village of Forest Hill and 2.5 miles east of Sand Bridge State Park.
This drive completely circles the Hook Natural Area. It begins at the intersection of Route 192 and Jones Mountain Road. The route goes south on Jones Mountain Road to the top of Shriner Mountain and the intersection with Brandon Road. The route continues west on Jones Mountain road, past a new vista that overlooks the entire Buffalo Creek watershed. It then continues on Jones Mountain Road and Pine Creek Road to the Stoney Run Road intersection. Turning left on Stoney Run Road, in travels south to Buffalo Flat Road. Driving east on Buffalo Flat and then Old Shingle Road it arrives at the Mifflinburg Water Intake. Turn left at the intersection of Old Shingle and Brandon Roads and drive to the intersection with Jones Mountain Road.