Charles Lewis Natural Area
The Charles Lewis Natural Area is named in honor of the man who was largely responsible for directing the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in its land acquisition and donation efforts that resulted in many of our present day state parks and natural areas. It is a 384 acre section of the Gallitzin State Forest located at the southeast edge of Indiana County just off of the gorge of the Conemaugh River. Two trails connect to form an approximate 6 mile loop hike: the Clark Run Trail (which is confined to the Lewis Natural Area) and the Rager Mountain Trail (which extends into Gallitzin State Forest and Cambria County). This trail takes a hiker up along a wild, rocky stream through a wet ravine forest of yellow birch, maples, poplars, and hemlocks and then into a drier forest of oaks and young re-growth tree stands. Ferns are diverse and abundant as are mosses and wildflowers. Rattlesnakes thrive in the rocky sections of the trail, and many hikers have reported seeing black bear on and around the trail path. This is a hike with a great deal of “up.” It is a hike full of wildlife and beauty.
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