Tucked away 40 miles southwest of Pittsburgh is a stream called Enlow Fork, a tributary of Wheeling Creek, on the circuitous border of Washington and Greene counties. Enlow Fork flows nearly 20 miles east to west, before entering West Virginia’s northern panhandle to later join the Ohio River at Wheeling.
This corner of Pennsylvania is known as the Waynesburg Hills. The exaggerated rolling uplands and steep slopes include pastures that once produced the most sheep in the state. Diverse patches of forest also still exist in this area.
Deep in the Enlow Fork stream valley, one is secluded from many activities in the surrounding landscape. The valley is probably best known for the rich display of spring wildflowers on its lush lower slopes and bottomlands. There is a Midwestern flavor to the flora, with a number of species that only occur in a few southwestern counties in Pennsylvania. Flowers that bloom at Enlow Fork include twinleaf, dwarf larkspur, toadshade trillium, large-leaved waterleaf and the striking, blue-eyed Mary. Birdwatchers may see a variety of forest birds, such as cuckoos, tanagers and woodland warblers.
A portion of this valley and adjacent uplands is found in the 1,500-acre State Game Lands 302. By starting out at one of the bottomland parking areas, one can stroll along some of the gated roadways that wind through the valley and hike alongside the wildflower patches.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy originally acquired the land in the 1980s and later transferred it to state ownership. A good way to plan an outing is to visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission website and utilize the new Mapping Center tools. This will assist you in navigating local roads to the parking areas.