Butler County High Point Trip Report

Date: April 1, 2000
Author: Michael Schwartz

USGS BM Kelley (1,600+ ft)

The currently listed high point, USGS BM Kelley, is a reclaimed strip mine. The BM is gone, probably since 1961, and the hill contours have undoubtedly changed, likely lower. Since the original elevation was only 1,600 (on map) or 1,601 (on data sheet), any lowering of the hill would bring it into the 1580+ ft. category. Other points in the area at 1,580+ ft also need to be visited.

From Kohlmeyer Corner on PA 58, go NE on Venango Road (SR 1003). Bear left at 0.5 miles. Cross Kelley and Pisgah Roads at 0.8 miles and reach gravel driveway at 0.9 miles. The landowner, who lives in the house up the driveway to the right, welcomes hikers. He was surprised and amused to find out he owned the county high point. He bought the entire reclaimed strip mine for a pittance. Hike up the driveway toward the house to the left (vacant) and use its driveway to start the climb. Work through tufty grass and weeds to the top. The BM is gone, but I did find a marker from L.R. Kimball and Associates, a large engineering firm. They were unable to shed any further light on the current elevation of this hill.

2 areas - 1 mile and 1 1/2 miles SW of Eau Claire (1,580+ ft)

For the eastern point, take PA 38 south from Eau Claire for 1/2 mile. Go right (west) on SR 4012 for 0.7 miles and turn right onto gravel road (unsigned Walheim Road). Go to the crest at 0.9 miles. Crawl under electric fence and take short stroll to pasture hill. I met the landowner, who has no problem with highpointers and warned that this is a bull pasture. He is willing to lock the bull(s) out of the pasture when they go to the water trough.

For the western point, hike the field road shown on the topo heading west just north of the SR 4012/Waldheim Road junction. The gate is not electrified, but all other fences on this hike are. The same farmer owns both areas, although the last few feet of approach to the western point are off his property. When the field road reaches a low point, there are pastures ahead, both right and left, separated by a tree line. Go left, crawl under fence, and cross the pasture diagonally left toward higher ground. Shortly after entering the woods on the far side, crawl under the fence, and continue bushwhacking uphill through the sassafras, reaching a final electric fence. Highest ground appeared to be just on the other side of the fence.

1 area 1000' north of Annisville (1,580+ ft)

Park at the Trader Horn discount store, the large building shown on the topo 0.2 miles south of North Washington School near Annisville on PA 38. Walk up the highway to the road cut at the crest. Scramble up the embankment and work your way to high ground less than 1/4 mile west. The patch of woods between private homes allows convenient access.

1 area 1 mile east of Annisville (1,580+ ft)

From the junction of PA 38/58 in Eau Claire, go south 4.1 miles on PA 38 to the hamlet of Annisville. Go west 1.2 miles on West Eldorado Road to crest and park at pullout. House shown on topo just past crest is abandoned. Walk field to broad flat summit, which has the look of having been part of the strip mine shown on topo.