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Swatara Creek runs through the vast woodlands of Swatara State Park in eastern Pennsylvania. Bear Hole Trail traces the eastern side of the waterway, while the Swatara Rail-Trail runs along the other bank. Together, they span over 15 miles. Because Bear Hole Trail follows the route of the former Old State Road, it offers a wide pathway and has a few gentle climbs. Along the way, look for remnants of Union Canal that was built here in 1827; the moss-covered ruins of a few stone canal locks can still be seen from the trail.
A trailhead and parking are available at the end of Old State Road at the east end of the Waterville Bridge. From the town of Lickdale, take Monroe Valley Drive to Little Mountain Road and on to Old State Road.
Additionally, other trailheads with parking and informational kiosks are available throughout Swatara State Park, as listed below from south to north.
- Trout Run Trailhead: located on Route 72; a new restroom facility is planned for this trailhead
- State Park Lane Trailhead; a good choice for accessing the park's mountain biking trails
- Sand Siding Road parking lot: located mid-way along Swatara Creek, south of State Route 443
- Swopes Valley Trailhead: located on the northeastern end of the trail, across from Wagner's Pond
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