The Left Steele Run Trail at Tioga State Forest is a difficult 3-mile out-and-back trail that runs up a mountain in the forest. Please note that this trail is no longer maintained to how the state forest has depicted it on their trail maps like this map:
This trail begins at the trailhead for the West Rim Trail and the western terminus for the Bear Run Nature Trail. Hikers will first follow orange and yellow blazes. The West Rim Trail (orange blazes) will head off to the left and eventually the Bear Run Nature Trail (yellow blazes) will head off to the right-hand side. This is where the red blazes of the Left Steele Run Trail takeover.
After passing the Bear Run Nature Trail, the Left Steele Run Trail will start to really head uphill. This uphill climb is mostly moderate until you get closer to the top of the mountain where the elevation grade becomes steeper. In this section of the trail, hikers will either want sticks or trekking poles to make the hike easier.
Along the way up the mountain is a red-blazed trail that crosses the Left Steele Run Trail, but that trail is not mapped on the state forest trail maps as of 2020.
Once at the top of the mountain, the trail flattens out and eventually takes a left-hand turn heading due west toward the Dead Bee Road. Here is where the Left Steele Run Trail is supposed to continue straight and due north. This recording attempts to follow the old unmaintained trail, but fails. For hikers safety they should not follow this route, but for more details, read on...
At the section where the old trail ends, I bushwhacked through trees and found my way over to the Dead Bee Road. Here, I hiked down the road and passed through a large wildlife preserve fence area that had a sign stating "burn area". I continued to hike along the Dead Bee Road, in the burn area, until I reached the "end" of the road -- here I hopped out of the gated wildlife preservation area and followed the fence, looking for the old branches of the Left Steele Run Trail.
Eventually, the trail made it to the end of the mountain's peninsula, which is where I turned back. I was not able to find the lost branches of the Left Steele Run Trail, despite the fact that those trails bisected the Dead Bee Road.
Trail Condition and Recorded Route (2020)
As of Spring 2020, hikers will find that the Left Steele Run Trail runs up the mountain and about 0.3-miles before the trail is supposed to split at a fork adjacent to the Dead Bee Road, it splits at a different turn that runs west toward the Dead Bee Road. Also note that this recording bypasses that new left-hand turn and heads directly through overgrowth to try and follow the old overgrown section of the Left Steele Run Trail.
In an unsuccessful attempt to find the old sections of the Left Steele Run Trail, this recording finds its way over to the Dead Bee Road where the recording continues following the Dead Bee Road until it ends atop a mountain peninsula. Please note that I was unable to find either branch of the Left Steele Run Trail that connects to the Bee Tree Ski Trail to the west or the Bee Tree Hollow Trail to the east despite those connectors were supposed to bisect the Dead Bee Road. It's safe to assume that Tioga State Forest no longer maintains these two branches of the trail.
Dogs are allowed if leashed.
Camping and Backpacking
Backpackers will find camping is allowed off of these trails, but there are no designated sites. Please follow the Tioga State Forest rules and regulations regarding primitive/backcountry/dispersed camping.
Winter Road Conditions
Tioga State Forest does not maintain this road during the winter. Do not attempt driving on this road without proper equipment including snow tires and/or chains unless the road is clear. High wind storms may also cause trees to fall across the road, making the road impassible. If you plan to visit during the winter, plan accordingly.