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How not to get to Seven Springs Mountain Resort

In this technological age, many of us turn to MapQuest, Google Maps or our GPS devices to get directions when traveling to a new destination. If Seven Springs Resort is your destination, and you are driving from the east (via Somerset) drop the technology because MapQuest and GPS’s direct you the shortest way to the Springs but that route is certainly not  the best one.logo for Seven Springs Mountain Resort

In all fairness, I must point out that both Google and MapQuest show the correct route as a secondary choice. However, who among us chooses the alternate route over the primary one unless we have a specific reason? Well, I’m about to give you several reasons.

All listed routes will get you from the exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike through the town of Somerset. Simply go straight after exiting the toll booth until you come to the first STOP light. (Ignore the FLASHING light unless you choose to stop at McDonald’s for a Big Mac.) At the light, make a RIGHT onto N. Center Avenue (RT 601 S) and proceed .5 miles to the intersection of Main St. (RT 31 W). Make a RIGHT on Main St. Here’s where they go wrong, and we’ll follow the route just to show you how bad it really is.

Harrison Ave Somerset PA
The poorly marked turn onto Harrison Avenue from Main St

After turning right onto Main St., both Google and MapQuest direct you to proceed .7 miles and make a left on to Harrison Ave. The left turn onto Harrison Ave is often missed because there is no sign to mark it. If you’re paying attention you will see several signs for RT 281 south, but there is nothing with the name Harrison on it. If you decide to follow this route in spite of what I recommend, make sure you’re in the left lane long before you get to the intersection or you may get cut off from doing so. Following this route, after turning onto Harrison Ave, you will take the first RIGHT onto Tayman Ave. (RT 281 south). Keep a close eye on your odometer, especially if you’re following the Google route, or you’ll miss the next turn.

 

 
The wind blown Weimer Flats on RT 281 south of Somerset
The wind blown Weimer Flats on RT 281 south of Somerset

Several miles outside of Somerset you’ll come across a straight stretch of road called Weimer Flats. If your trip to Seven Springs is in the winter, Weimer Flats alone is a good enough reason not to take this route. Weimer Flats in the winter can be one of the most vicious, wind-swept sections of road in all of Somerset County, and other sections of RT 281 S can be nearly as bad. Even with minor snowfall, white outs, drifting snow and accidents are common along Weimer Flats and other sections of this route.

If you are following the Google route, 5.6 miles after turning onto RT 281 S you will make a RIGHT on Cross Road. Never mind the fact that there is a sign directing you to keep going straight to get to Seven Springs. After all, are you going to believe your lying eyes or the omnipotent Google? If you’re following the MapQuest route you will NOT turn onto Cross Rd, but will continue another mile to the village of New Centerville and make a right onto Copper Kettle Highway.

New Centerville, PA
The turn onto Copper Kettle Highway in New Centerville

About 100 yards before the intersection there is a sign for Seven Springs indicating the turn. This sign is often missed and there is no sign at the intersection itself. In fact, this turn is so easy to miss that 3 miles further south on RT 281 you’ll find a gas station, the New Lexington Market, that actually posts directions to Seven Springs outside for all of the people who missed the turn.

New Lexington Market on RT 281 S
If you see the New Lexington Market, you missed the turn.

The Google route now directs you to proceed 1.5 miles to State Route 3029. SR 3029 is actually Copper Kettle Highway so at this point the Google and MapQuest routes are the same. State Routes are not well-marked, so after you have turned onto Cross Rd the directions should say “proceed 1.5 miles to the first stop sign and turn right”. Copper Kettle Highway (SR 3029) will turn into County Line Road in 1.9 miles, if you’re following Google, or 4.1 miles using the MapQuest route. Continue on County Line Rd for 4.1 miles and you will come to the entrance to Seven Springs on your left.

Now, for the best route we go back to the point where both Google and MapQuest direct you to turn left onto Harrison Ave (RT 281 S). When you’re on Main St (RT 31 W) stay in the RIGHT lane and instead of turn onto Harrison Ave, keep going straight on RT 31 W and continue for 7.1 miles. A large Seven Springs sign will direct you to turn LEFT onto Trent Rd.

Trent Road to Seven Springs Resort
The well marked turn onto Trent Road from RT 31

Proceed 3.8 miles to the first STOP sign and turn right onto Copper Kettle Highway. In 1.1 miles Copper Kettle Highway turns into County Line Rd. Proceed 4.1 miles to the entrance of Seven Springs on your left. This well-marked route is only about half a mile longer than the MapQuest or Google routes and offers several other advantages. For winter travelers, road condition is probably the most important reason to take the RT 31 route over that via RT 281. RT 31 is not nearly as wind-swept, so white outs and drifting snow is not nearly as big of a problem. Services are another reason to take the 31 route. If you follow the Google route, there will not be even one gas station or store until you reach the bump in the road at Trent which has a very small convenience store. The MapQuest route is only slightly better with New Centerville offering a pizza shop, one restaurant and one additional convenience store. The 31 route offers numerous services including gas stations, a major grocery store, several convenience stores, a beer distributor and a bar that serves great pizza. In addition, you have Moo Echo Dairy, a great country store which makes cheese, ice cream, fresh-baked goods and a wide range of deli products. And perhaps most importantly is Route 31 Bike, Board and Ski, the area’s largest and most experienced  outdoor sports retailer. If you need your skis or snowboard waxed or serviced or if you need equipment rentals, this is the place to stop. The retail store offers everything you’ll need on the mountain including: Oakley goggles and sunglasses, Under Armour base layers and outerwear, and top winter sports brands like Burton, Fisher and Solomon. And finally, in the event I wasn’t clear enough, the Google and MapQuest routes are very poorly marked compared to the 31 route. So, unless you know the turns, it’s not snowing and you’re sure you don’t need to purchase anything, go ahead and follow the “short” route. Otherwise, I suggest you follow the alternate route via RT 31 W.

Route 31 Bike, Board & Ski, Somerset PA
Route 31 Bike, Board & Ski, Somerset PA