A Castle in the Forest on the Great Allegheny Passage

This Sunday as I was riding the Great Allegheny Passage near Confluence I decided to finally explore a dirt path leading off of the trail. After finding a page on geocaching.com and reading Bill Metzger's book, "The Great Allegheny Passage Companion", I learned that over 100 years ago this was the location of the Bidwell Lumber Company's logging railroad and loading area. 

This area is often referred to as Bidwell. The actual town of Bidwell was once located across the river. The area on this side of the river was the site of the Bidwell Lumber Company’s loading area for their logging operation. In 1904, prior to the building of the Western Maryland railroad through here, the Bidwell Lumber Co. had a sawmill on the other side of the river (the B&O side) and they used to haul logs across the river from here to their sawmill via an aerial cable system. After the Western Maryland came through on this side of the river, they began using the Western Maryland to ship their logs, eliminating the need for the cable system. There was a railroad station, of sorts, located here, but it was said to be nothing more that a small shelter. So, this area became known as Bidwell Station.
— https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1VPDC_the-bricks-and-blocks-of-bidwell-station

You may have also passed this path and wondered - what's up there?

Heading up the path the trail quickly becomes difficult to follow - not many people come up here. Lots of large spiderwebs, complete with large spiders! After only 50 ft or so, the path is completely overgrown. 

The trail that leads to the Bidwell ruins

I managed to step on a large smooth rock that was completely covered in green plant matter, and fell badly. My feet slid out from under me and I landed hard on my ass. I had my phone in my hand, and smashed it between the heel of my hand and the rock. I thought for sure it was shattered, but was surprised to find everything intact! 

I kept on going up and the path kept getting worse. I was very close to stopping and turning around when I emerged into a clearing and found myself standing at the foot of what appears to be the ruins of an ancient castle.

Castle Bidwell

If you decide to come up here, be very careful! The terrain is challenging and the spiders are many. I was sure to immediately check for ticks when I got back down to the bike trail. I think this would be a better place to visit in the early spring when there is less plant life and better lines of sight.

View of the Great Allegheny Passage (left) from the path

 

Bonus pic from the Ohiopyle High Bridge!


62.69 miles - Map by Cyclemeter