This run leads up over a thousand stone steps to Ledge Quarry and a gorgeous view of the town of Mapleton and the Juniata River, as well as a spectacular view of the town of Mount Union! The steps were built in the 1930's and used by miners working at the Ledge Quarry. This trail is rich with history, wildlife, and natural wonders.
Parking and the trailhead are on the side of US 22, so be careful! The trail starts just to the east of the parking area. The Standing Stone Trail also uses the same route and is marked with orange blazes. At the beginning of the run is a display describing the history of the steps.
From the trailhead, the steps head right up the mountain and are numbered every 100 steps. The first 0.5 miles is basically all steps up a very steep grade, but there are many spots to pull off and take a breather. The top step is labeled as 1037! Everyone deserves a pat on the back for seeing that stone step; this run isn't for the faint of heart. However, once step 1037 is achieved, the run is surprising pleasant.
Take a right onto a blue-blazed trail (Mount Union View Trail
) which leads to a view of the town of Mount Union (0.3 miles). After taking in the view, turn around. Back at the intersection with Thousand Steps Trail
, continue straight onto the orange-blazed Standing Stone Trail-State Game Land 112 Segment
(don't turn left and head back down yet!). The trail heads to an old train shed and *surprise!* more steps. Further up is the Ledge Quarry and a gorgeous view of the town of Mapleton and the Juniata River.
The Ledge Quarry is not labeled as the end of the trail, but this is definitely an appropriate turning around point. The Standing Stone Trail heads past the Ledge Quarry and continues north through the forest. If time (and energy!) allows, continuing on the Standing Stone Trail past the Ledge Quarry for a mile or two makes for a mild and pleasant stroll through the trees; it is also a great stretch to trail run.
From the Ledge Quarry, return on the same trail back to the Thousand Steps Trail
. Take a right to head back down the steps. At the bottom, give yourself a high-five and your tired legs some much needed rest! This run is a great workout and an awesome spot to cardio train (if that's your thing). However, be careful as some steps might be slippery, and often during the winter are covered with snow and ice.
At the beginning of the run, a display describes the history of the steps. It explains that the steps were built in the 1930's and were the daily commute for miners as they went to work in the Ledge Quarry. The miners were removing ganister, a sandstone used in the production of silica bricks.