Hike #34 of 52 – Sellars Farm Trail – Sellars Farm State Archaeological Park

Despite being managed by Long Hunter State Park, Sellars Farm State Archaeological Park is located over 30min away by car in a completely different city.  I had never heard of the park and only recently found out about it when researching nearby trails.  The site was home to a Native American Village from approximately 1000AD to 1300AD.  I was fascinated by archaeology as a child and (very) briefly considered becoming an archaeologist as an adult, so I was interested to see what the park had to offer.  Plus, there was a 1.5-mi trail going through the park, which made it even more appealing.

Unfortunately, the trail and the park weren’t quite what I had hoped.  The trail led from numbered post to numbered post where visitors could read about different aspects of the sites and settlement.  However, the trailhead was out of maps and even after a park ranger (who just happened to be there) gave me one, the map was so incredibly vague, that it was a touch difficult to navigate around.  Ultimately it reminded me of the time I hiked in the sand dunes of White Sands National Monument – I made my way to one post and then if the path or map weren’t clear, I would just look for the next post somewhere in the distance and head in the direction.  At one point I had no idea if I was still on the trail, but then I came across an equally confused couple hiking in the opposite direction and we confirmed with one another that we were all still on the right path.  Thankfully there were a least a few sections were the trail was more obvious due to the wooded surroundings.

As for the park itself, it was very difficult for me to picture what the settlement used to look like, partially because the depiction on the map/handout was such poor quality, and partially because (as even the ranger admitted) parts of the settlement, especially the palisade, have become overgrown.  The ranger did inform me, however, that he works with volunteer groups regularly to try to restore the site; although he is the only one allowed to work the power tools during those sessions.

Ultimately whether or not you’d enjoy Sellars Farm depends mainly on your expectations.  I was underwhelmed, but the one couple I ran into during the hike were quite thrilled with the entire park.  I guess it’s all about perspective.

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