Mason - Dixon Shuttle

Description: This is a 5 mile moderate shuttle hike featuring scenic streams, views and fragments of history. This is just a small segment of the Mason Dixon Trail but perhaps the most beautiful. You’ll hike pass the remains of historic Lock 12 of the Susquehanna Canal and the ruins of an old saw mill before visiting two scenic streams, Mill Run and Oakland Run, with views of Lake Aldred in between.

The hike can be accomplished in either direction but I always prefer to hike upstream. This converts a relatively easy hike with only one climb of note to something providing a little more exertion as you have to make 3 400 foot climbs each over about a 0.5 to 0.6 mile distance.


Google Custom Directions (Posey Rd Car Drop-off)

Google Custom Directions to Lock 12 Trailhead


Directions from I-95 around Aberdeen, MD:

1. From I-95 take MD RT 543 North (Exit 80).

2. Turn right onto MD 165. MD 165 becomes PA RT 74.

3. Pass PA RT 372.

4. Soon turn right onto McCall’s Ferry Road. Immediately come to a fork. Bear left onto Blain Road.

5. At the end of Blain Road turn right onto Posey Rd and immediately turn right onto the first gravel forest road. Park at the pull over to the right but do not block the gate. Leave ½ of your vehicles here and retrace your route to the fork at McCall’s Ferry Road. Make a hard left here onto gravel River Road. Watch for occasional pot holes! River Road will descend to the river and follow it’s bank to PA RT 372. Just before reaching the highway turn left into Historic Lock 12 Parking Lot to begin the hike. After returning with the other vehicles continue through to RT 372 and turn right to get back to PA RT 74.



Printable/Downloadable Map

Printable/Downloadable Map

View 3-D Map!



Trail Notes: The Mason-Dixon Trail is blazed blue. From the parking area walk toward the river and cross Lock 12 on a bridge. Turn left and walk upstream, picking up the blue blazes as you reach the footpath. As you walk up stream you might catch glimpses of the old canal wall as you go by. In 0.59 miles reach the ruins of an old saw mill. The trail follows the outer walls up to River Road. Turn right on River Rd., cross the bridge and immediately turn left following Mill Run.


Mill Run will fork. Turn to follow the right fork but quickly turn uphill following the blazes to 2 nice overlooks. From here you can see the Susquehanna, the Norman Wood Memorial Bridge, Holtwood Hydroelectric dam and perhaps one of the resident Bald Eagles.


At 0.66 miles from leaving River Rd. reach the high voltage lines and quickly descend back down to River Rd. Here you will find the remains of a carriage house used by a hotel many generations ago. Behind it lies remnants of other foundations. Across the road is the spillway for the dam.


Turn left up the road. In about 0.25 miles the road will turn to the left and head up hill. Continue straight, following the blazes first along an old road that passes some cottages and then a footpath that follows the banks of Lake Aldred.


At the confluence of Oakland Run (0.76 miles from leaving River Rd) turn left (upstream). Shortly after crossing over a log from which a segment had been cut out look for a break in the Rhododendron along the stream bank. If you find it, use the roots of the rhododendron to climb down to an area I call the chapel. It’s a gravel bar and small falls where the water squeezes through a few holes in the rocks, a cool refreshing break spot!


From here continue upstream and watch carefully as the trail suddenly turns left and quickly climbs past some huge rocks to the top of a hill. For a while the stream will be out of sight although you might be able to here it down below you.

At about 0.75 miles after leaving Lake Aldred, or 0.25 miles after leaving Oakland Run, you will descend, crossing a small tributary, and again pick up the run. Continue upstream. In about 0.34 miles you’ll make the only significant stream crossing of the hike. It is usually a rock hop or log crossing but one should always be prepared for high water. After the crossing the footpath will eventually become an old woods road as it passes through Hemlocks, Rhododendron and Bamboo thickets. The road becomes grassy as the grade increases and the evergreens give way to a hardwood forest. In 1.24 miles from the stream crossing return at the vehicles near Posey Rd.

Printable/Downloadable Directions and Trail Notes

Critique this outing! ________________________________________







Outing Critiques


Name: Neil                                                                                                                Hike: mason-Dixon shuttle
Date: 8/15/12                                                                                                         Rating: 4

Critique: Because of the posted warning at the upper parking lot, I parked at the lower lot. It wasn't clear where the trail began but I followed the yellow blazes down the sidewalk & steps, crossed a wooden bridge & picked up the blue blazes by the historic lock. Some of the steep descents were very hazardous because the rocks were wet from last night's rain. A solid 6-hour round trip for the 10 miles. Well worth the effort for the views of the river, the many rhododendrons, the lapping of the waves against the shore when you get close to the Susquehanna, a lot of waterfalls, scenic streams, quiet forests. Very well-maintained trail showing recent evidence of cutting overgrown foliage & sawing through fallen trees.




Name: Joel                                                                                                                Hike: Mason-Dixon Shuttle
Date: 8/3/2012                                                                                                       Rating: 4.5

Critique: I did this as an out and back starting at the north end. The hike started out on a wide road but quickly got into some nice single track. I enjoyed it all. You do have to watch out for the double blue marking indicating trail change when you get out along the river road in order to catch the nice single track paths. The waterfall and elevation changes (strenuous), on the section of path that goes through the power line cut make this a section you don't want to miss unless you don't enjoy switchbacks and hard climbing.




Name: Thomas                                                                                                        Hike: Mason - Dixon Shuttle
Date: 7/28/12                                                                                                         Rating: 4

Critique: We went on a really hot humid day and started around noon at the lock 12 parking lot. There is a note at the upper parking lot warning drivers that there have been many car break-ins so we proceeded to the lower lot which is more secluded from the roadway. The lot also has latrines nearby.

The lock 12 and lime kiln ruins were cool. Based on maps and other on-line descriptions of this hike there may be other ruins in the area. However, perhaps due to going during the time of peak summer foliage, we didn't spot any.

The description of the hike is very good up to the point where the trail descends to River Road at the dam. We turned left up the road and couldn't find where the trail headed. The description mentions an old road and some cottages but we couldn't find those. We ended up walking quite a ways up River Road to some farms. At this point we heard thunder and decided to start heading back to the lock 12 parking lot. On the return back down the road we did see a change of direction blaze that we missed earlier, but we still couldn't make out where the trail went.

The storm hit just as we made it back to the high voltage line towers. The storm actually made the hike even more fun as it was really sweltering hot and the cool downpour really was a relief. Luckily we made it back to the car without slipping on the rocks or getting struck by lightning.



Name: Sal                                                                                                                  Hike: Mason-Dixon Shuttle trail
Date: 5/8/2010                                                                                                       Rating: 4.5

Critique: This was a great hike. We made it a 10mile hike going out and back. Great views of the river and lake. And wonderful scenery of creeks and waterfalls. The last part of the hike and the portion on the road was uneventful and wished it was re-routed thru the trees. We saw baby snakes and a bird of prey nest in the electrical towers with baby birds chirping.



Name: Kathryn                                                                                                         Hike: Mason-Dixon Shuttle
Date: 4/18/10                                                                                                         Rating: 4.5

Critique: Great hike! We also did this one out and back as we are training for a trip to Yosemite in June. We enjoyed the challenge very much and there are so many beautiful places to stop and enjoy along the way. We only saw a few other people, but pretty much had the trail to ourselves. We were lucky enough to see a couple of hawks and a woodchuck. The streams and waterfalls really are beautiful and worth the hike.

We didn't think it was too hard, though the gradual rise at the end did seem to go on forever! All in all, it was a good day!



Name: Vern                                                                                                               Hike: Mason - Dixon Shuttle
Date: July 13, 2009                                                                                                 Rating: 4.5

Critique: Hard to imagine that no one has reviewed this hike. I had a fantastic day there yesterday. The weather was as good as it gets in July. It was around 75, and not a cloud in the sky. I did this one as an out and back, since I was by myself. It was definitely a full day of excellent hiking with sore muscles as a welcome side effect.

The only part of this hike that might be considered remotely boring, is the short walk along River Road. Even here, you have outstanding views of Holtwood Dam and Lake Aldred. I had lunch lakeside, with a beautiful view. The walks along Mill and Oakland Runs were outstanding. Mill Run had a particularly nice waterfall. Between the two streams, there was a good-sized hill which had some freshly cut switchbacks and two excellent overlooks. Even with the switchbacks, this hill was a real lung capacity test.

The M-DT is well marked in this section, and it is just "rough" enough to make it really interesting. I saw loads of deer, and a couple of copperheads. Only came across two other groups during the entire hike. This one is going on the "do again" list without a doubt.


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