Kelly's Run - Pinnacle Overlook

 

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Description: I used to think this was a 7-mile hike. That was before the days of map software and GPS. The main loop is actually 3.5 miles. The additional up and back to the Pinnacle is about 1.5 miles making this a 5-mile jaunt. Perhaps it feels like 7 miles because of the steep climb, some of it in the sun, up to the Pinnacle.

Regardless of the distance, this is one beautiful hike. There is some boring parts, especially at the beginning, like a cornfield and an old maintenance road, but these become mere memories as you climb the Conestoga Trail to obtain sweeping views and then descend into the dark coolness of Kelly's Run.

As usual you'll see that I describe this hike in the reverse direction preferred by others. The reasons are obvious. 1) I think its best to get the boring part of this hike out of the way early. 2) The hike UP the maintenance road and through the cornfield can be grueling in the high sun of summer. 3) I think you've seen this before on this site but I prefer to hike UP pretty streams, not down. Finally, the hike up Kelly's Run will be the last thing in your mind, not walking through a cornfield at high noon in July!

The hike starts in Holtwood Park near the picnic pavilion and baseball diamond.

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Trail notes: From the parking area, walk west beyond the yellow forest gate and alongside the baseball field. Pass the red-blazed Loop Trail on your right (0.6 miles from the start). Continue straight.

 

The trail empties into a large cornfield. Follow the footpath straight across to the woods. A few posts with blue blazes will guide you. At the woods turn left following the edge of the cornfield until you come to double, angled blue blazes marking a trail on your right. Turn here and follow the trail down to the intersection with a PPL maintenance Road. There are some crude benches here under some evergreens for a nice break (0.8 miles from last trail junction).

 

Turn right onto the maintenance road and follow it downhill.

 

At 0.46 miles come to an old bridge crossing Kelly's Run. Due to the deteriorating condition of the decking it has been removed. It is not known if PPL plans on replacing it. For now ford Kelly's Run on either side of the bridge or use the railroad culvert to cross the run. Turn right onto blue-blazed Kelly's Run Trail. Very shortly turn left onto the orange-blazed Conestoga Trail.

 

Follow the Conestoga Trail steeply up the hill. Turn right on an old forest road (to be used in your descent). In a few yards turn left onto a footpath for some more steep climbing. Turn right and climb up a gas cable swath a short distance before turning left again onto a footpath. There are several views of Lake Aldred as you climb. At times the blazes are painted on the rocks you are walking on.

 

The Conestoga trail footpath will merge onto a forest road (Yellow blazed Fire Line Tr). Continue uphill following the duel blazes to Pinnacle Overlook (0.74 miles from Kelly's Run). This is a nice picnic area with pit toilets (in season). There used to be running water in the picnic area but I've been told that it has been turned off. Gates are open to this area for vehicular traffic. The best spot for lunch is not here but about 0.16 miles further down the Conestoga Trail at a nice rock outcrop.

After lunch return to the Pinnacle picnic area. Pass through the same forest gate you encountered on the way up but immediately bear left onto an old woods road with alternating yellow and white blazes (Fire Line and Pinnacle Trails, respectively).

 

The blazes are faded and sporadic. Keep an eye out as the white-blazed Pinnacle Trail will turn left onto a footpath marked by double, angled white blazes in 0.25 miles. Turn left, following the white blazes and descend to another forest road. This section can be thorny in the summer.

 

The white blazes will continue across the road and eventually lead to Kelly's Run. To see the best part of Kelly's Run proceed down the Pinnacle Trail a few more yards and come to yet another woods road. Turn right onto the forest road, leaving the Pinnacle Tr, and descend for about 0.15 miles to the Conestoga Trail (orange blazes). Turn left on the Conestoga and then left again at Kelly's Run Trail. The two trails share the same tread here so blazes will alternate orange and blue.

 

Continue upstream, soon crossing Kelly's Run on a diagonal. Pass several large rock outcrops on your right before descending onto a gravel bar in the stream with a huge rock face capped in ferns on the opposite bank. This is a great break spot.

 

The bank on the opposite side is steep and muddy. The PPL has recently shored up the trail and cut steps into a large boulder to allow for a safer climb after the crossing. Continue upstream passing white-blazed Pinnacle trail on your left at about 0.34 miles from joining Kelly's Run Tr. Cross a tributary and then re-cross Kelly's Run at another rock outcrop.

 

Continue up the blue and orange-blazed trail. The red-blazed Loop Trail comes in from the right at 0.74 miles from the last trail junction. Stay straight on Kelly's Run/Conestoga Trail.

 

The rocky trail will climb up and cut across two power line swaths and two junctions with the yellow blazed Oliver Patton Tr before turning right through some evergreens and ending above the Holtwood Park rest rooms (0.77 miles from the red Loop Trail junction). Walk across the lawn to your cars.

Critique this outing! ___________________________

 

Name: Tony and Penny                                                                                          Hike: Kelly's Run - Pinnacle Overlook

Date: 5/11/13                                                                                                         Rating: 5

 

Critique: Took this hike yesterday. Weather was wet, rained night before, trails were in great shape but wet. Missed the turn after fording the creek at the bridge and took an unmarked trail to the Conestoga trail eventually to the Pinnacle. Ate lunch at the Pinnacle then took the Pine Tree Trail then continued with the rest of this trail. Trail was blazed very well in most places. Rained over lunch and about 2 miles of the hike. Overall it was a great hike, first one of the season for us, was long, I think we hiked about 9 miles with doing different trails etc. Thanks for the directions or never would have found our way around this! Look forward to doing it again in the future.

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Name: Matt Mc                                                                                                         Hike: Kelly's Run - Pinnacle Overlook
Date: 8/29/12                                                                                                         Rating: 5

Critique: Did this hike yesterday, thanks for the directions as they were spot-on. A lot of cool sights to see along the way, from the rock formations, abandoned/closed PPL road along the ridge, washed out bridge, nice winding stream, and of course the views from the overlook. Many, many hawks riding the thermals at the Pinnacle were an added bonus. All around a great day hike.

I've been doing mostly flat terrain hikes in the White Clay Creek Preserve in SE PA. This is certainly not a flat trip! I am hoping to eventually graduate to multi-day backpacking trips, and some of the relatively moderate climbs and grades on this one made me respect those folks lugging 40/50lb packs over rough terrain even more. Looking forward to the challenge of doing this again with a full pack as a test run for longer trips.

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Name: Amy                                                                                                               Hike: Kelly's Run - Pinnacle Overlook
Date: June 27, 2012                                                                                                Rating: 5

Critique: Appreciated the step-by-step guide! Been to the area several times, but never hiked this exact route. Appreciate going UP the streams and getting the cornfield out of the way!! Would have been lost without the guide.
Thank you!!

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Name: MountainStreamFlood                                                                               Hike: Kelly's Run - Pinnacle Overlook
Date: 06/16/12                                                                                                       Rating: 5

Critique: Absolutely great hike. Scrambling up the rock formation on the Conestoga trail above Kellys Run made for a fun climb. Spectacular views of the Susquehanna and countryside abound and last but not least, the wild and scenic hike up Kelly's Run gorge was amazing, especially since the wild rhododendrons were in full bloom.

We added the Pine Trail, which can be picked up from near the second Pinnacle overlook and loops around the Pinnacle's knoll and connects with Old Pinnacles Road for an additional 1.5mi of hiking.

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Name: Ransilfour                                                                                                     Hike: Kellys Run / Pinnacle
Date: 4/4/12                                                                                                           Rating: 5

Critique: Thanks SO much for piecing together the instructions for this loop! My wife and I are backpackers from "back in the day" and wanted a hike that would help our 14 and 11 year old boys see why we like hiking. Well, they LOVED it, and it was the perfect length to feel like we accomplished something, without feeling like you never wanted to come back. They want to come back next week :) The trail is a great mix of terrain, with lots of variety to look at. We'll definitely be back in other seasons.

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Name: Pasquale                                                                                                       Hike: Kelly's Run
Date: 8/23/2010                                                                                                     Rating: 4

Critique: We started opposite because when we arrived there were fellow hikers coming out so, unfortunately, we ended up getting confused towards the end. Where we suppose to technically get to the overlook (which unfortunately did not see due to our confusion) we didn't see any blazes until we got to a sign for kelly's run which is where the blazes ended.

All in all, what we saw was gorgeous. There was this little waterfall in the stream that I splashed myself with to cool off and, wow, it was simply amazing. SO refreshing.

Next time, I will be bringing a print out!

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Name: Icebeard                                                                                                       Hike: Kelly's run/Pinnacle Overlook
Date: 7/24/10                                                                                                         Rating: 5

Critique: Hiked this one @sunrise to beat the heat! {supposed to be 103 today} Great hike, beautiful scenery. I like to do this one to keep myself in shape for my Appalachian Trail section hikes. Good climb up the pinnacle. Entire loop takes about 2.5 hours including breaks. Highly recommended!

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Name: Vern                                                                                                               Hike: Kelly's Run - Pinnacle Overlook
Date: August 1, 2009                                                                                              Rating: 4.5

Critique: I've been thinking about doing this hike for several weeks, but avoided it, because I thought it might be a little too short. Well, was I ever wrong. As Mike indicated, this one seems a lot longer then the advertised 5.5 miles.

The only problem I ran into, was after crossing Kelly's Run at the bridge. I'm not sure if I was right or wrong, but I followed an unblazed trail along the railroad tracks, rather then continuing on Kelly's run. Eventually, it turned up hill, and connected with the Conestoga Trail, right at the underground utility line. From that point, it sure was a fun climb to Pinnacle Overlook. The views along the way were outstanding.

After lunch at the overlook, the hike along Kelly's Run was beautiful. There were several pools of water that looked really inviting, since it was in the high eighties and humid. By the time we arrived back at the ball field, I was thoroughly worn out and thoroughly soaked.


It's easy to add a little distance to this one by continuing up the Conestoga Trail after the overlook. I personally did not see any need to do that and I had a real ball.

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Name: Matt Janes                                                                                                   Hike: Kelly's Run-Pinnacle Overlook
Date: 6/19/09                                                                                                         Rating: 5

Critique: Awesome hike! The views of Lake Aldred and Kelly's Run were great. I did this hike a day after some rain, which made the hike up the Connestoga Tr., and crossing Kelly's Run, a little precarious. My suggestion would be do this hike at least 2 or 3 days after rain, so the rocks have time to dry. I managed it alright regardless, but a less experienced person may have problems. The only down point was the short stint on the Pinnacle Tr.; which was very thorny as it mentions in the notes. Overall, I think this was the most beautiful hike I've done this season!

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Name: Anne                                                                                                              Hike: Kelly's Run- Pinnacle Overlook
Date: 6/13/09                                                                                                          Rating: 4

Critique: Great hike!

Some areas were poorly blazed, which made things confusing, and the cornfield is now filled with wheat, but it was certainly a fun day-hike.

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Name: RMS                                                                                                                Hike: Kelly's run/Pinnacle overlook
Date: 5/9/09                                                                                                            Rating: 5

Critique: What a great hike! Good job on the description. Kelly's Run was very high due to the recent rains making the crossings very interesting. The hike is of varied terrain and is strenuous when taken at a good pace.

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Name: Jordan & Allison                                                                                          Hike: Kelly's Run - Pinnacle Outlook
Date: 3/27/09                                                                                                          Rating: 4

Critique: We took the advice of this site to do this hike in reverse, and it was a great decision! We were really able to take in all the great scenery going that direction. The overlook at Pinnacle is amazing. We set up our hammock and made some hot chocolate on the picnic tables after cooling down from the steep hike up. The second half of the hike along Kelly's Run was definitely the highlight. We were glad that doing the loop in reverse allowed us to end with Kelly's Run. The mileage given seemed pretty accurate. We were definitely tired after this one, but it was totally worth it! Thanks for the great info!

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Name: Guru                                                                                                               Hike: Kellys Run- Pinnacle Overlook

Date: 21/04/07                                                                                                       Rating: 4

Critique: About the trail:

This is one of the very beautiful trails around this area. We followed the instructions on this website and completed our walk across the corn fields before we started the ascent.

Then we took the Conestoga trail which was steep and rocky. It wasn't long, so if someone is looking for moderate climbing on steep slopes, this is a good place to try.

We reached the Pinnacle overlook where you can get a good view of the lake and the river. We expect this view to get better as summer approaches with all the leaves sprouting out and the scenery turning green!

Our return trip needs special mention. The hike upstream along the Kelly's run is one of the very memorable trails. The trail criss-crosses the run which adds up for good fun.

Overall a memorable hike.

Special thanks to the information on this website:

The information on this website was very helpful. With the detailed description of each milestone we could find our way along the trail and that helped us a lot in not getting lost!

Kudos to the person who put up this information.

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