50K of single and double-track trails, stream crossings, and rocky climbs. There is not too much more you could ask for in the Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania. Located on the west slope of Laurel Ridge in Westmoreland County, the 3,593 acre Roaring Run Natural Area features a complete mountain stream protected within its watershed. Most of the area is wooded, with second and third growth forests. There are a few recently abandoned fields, and some old fields which have completely reverted to forest. Roaring Run is formed by numerous springs near the summit of Laurel Ridge. The stream drops 1,220’ in elevation, over a length of 5 miles, before ending at its confluence with Indian Creek in the village of Champion.
I attempted to RD a race on this route in October of 2022, but the park service pulled the plug at the last minute. Pictures and the route description can be found at https://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=93321. This is a completionist route that covers all of the trails within the natural area + some additional miles in the bordering Laurel Hill State Park for extra mileage and vert.
Tip for any future attempts: Do it before July or after September due to the thick briars and stinging nettles on some of the less traveled trail sections.