Dutch Hill Forest

Dutch Hill Forest supports diverse forest communities and varying terrain within the scenic Clarion River valley. The property consists of a gently sloping plateau dropping steeply east and north towards the river.

Extensive thickets of rhododendron and mountain laurel are located along these slopes, as well as large boulders and interesting rock outcrops. A unique hemlock wetland forest close to the southern border forms the headwaters of two small streams.

Background

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s acquisition of Dutch Hill Forest is part of a long history of land conservation along the Clarion River. Since 1977, the Conservancy has protected over 12,276 acres in the region, leading in part to the development of state game lands, Clear Creek and Cook Forest state parks, and Allegheny National Forest. In 1996, 51.7 miles of the Clarion were designated a component of the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Location

  • Heath Township, Jefferson County

Dates Acquired

1996 - 1998

Size

Approximately 490 acres

Notable features

Steep forested slopes, mountain laurel and rhododendron thickets, hemlock wetland, rock outcrops, Clarion River frontage

Recreational Activities

  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Hunting

Recreational Activities

Off-Trail Hiking

There are no maintained hiking trails on this property, so please plan your trip accordingly. Numerous old logging trails, a gas well access road and unauthorized off-road vehicle trails traverse the uplands and some of the steeper slopes.

Wildlife Watching

White-tailed deer, wild turkey and black bear are common on the property. Another species that may be encountered is the porcupine. Look for them high in the treetops, and for their “latrines” at the base of hollow trees and rock crevices.

Hunting

Hunting is encouraged as a tool to improve forest diversity. Only portable tree stands are permitted, which must be removed at the end of the season. Please exercise caution and wear blaze orange during hunting season. Hunting is not permitted on Sundays. Trapping is not permitted.

Plan Your Visit

GPS Coordinates: 41.350897, -79.005288

Directions to the Trail Head Parking Lot

Directions

Take Interstate 79 to Interstate 80, and head east. Continue on I-80 through Clarion to the exit for Route 949. Exit there, and follow Rt. 949 north, towards the town of Sigel. Continue on Route 949 through Sigel and into Clear Creek State Park/State Forest. Pass the Heath Pump Station on the right. Once past the pump station, continue 1.3 miles to an area called Dutch Hill and turn left onto Hidinger Road (labeled Church Rd. on some maps; T308). Continue down Hidinger Road to the end of the maintained section. The property is on the right, with parking along the road.

Visitor Tips

Watch this introduction to Dutch Hill Forest

There are no maintained trails on this property, and the steep slopes contain extensive thickets of rhododendron and mountain laurel. Be sure to bring a GPS unit or map along, and wear sturdy boots or shoes. Be prepared for your visit with the following resources. We recommend downloading these files to your device prior to visiting.

Visitor Guidelines

When visiting Dutch Hill Forest, please remember:

  • Only foot-traffic is permitted.
  • Camping and campfires are prohibited.
  • If you carry it in, carry it out.
  • Dogs must be on a leash or otherwise kept under control at all times.
  • Collecting (animals, plants, rocks, etc.) without permission is prohibited.
  • Review the Guidelines for Public Use of WPC Properties document prior to your visit.