All Outing Critiques - page 1
Name: Keith Robertson
Outing Critique: Due to getting a
late start, I opted to hike just the ridgeline portion along the
AT. I tried to find the northern most parking lot as marked on the
map but did not see it, so I parked at the middle one where rt. 638
makes a sharp turn right (coming from the west.)
Outing Critique: I went out on a solo
overnight hike on the LHHT and planned to make it from mile 0 to
mile 11.5 and turn around and camp at the Ohiopyle (mile 6.5)
shelters. It was warm for late April, with high temps near 80. The
leaves were just starting to come in so the sun was very hot too!
Outing Critique: My husband and I hiked this as a 1-night backpack. We started out from the parking area at Lake Perez going the direction described in the trail notes. The trails within the S.V.R.A. were blazed with different symbols than described (I think it was yellow stick people instead of yellow arrows, or some thing like that) but were extremely easy to follow regardless. We decided to dry camp on the ridge of Tussey Mountain, at the site marked 2.03 miles into Jackson trail, to even out the mileage for each day. We planned to fill up on water from the stream before the climb, but it was either dry or farther from the trail than we thought. Luckily we came across a trickle, although our water pump broke and we had to carry dirty water to camp and boil it instead. The climb up to the ridge was very steep but not too long, and the ridge was extremely rocky, as advertised. I'm pretty sure we stayed at the camp site described as hidden in the hemlocks, but we also may have missed that particular site, because the one we found was definitely not hidden. There were 3 fire rings and multiple spots you could put a tent, but it looks like it is a popular teen/college hangout based on the trash, broken glass, and obvious cutting of standing trees for firewood--we were pretty close to Rte 26 so I think a lot of people just walk in from the road. There were a few potential spots we could have stopped prior to this, but not many due to the rocks. Even so, the camp location was amazing and we were able to see the sunset, stars, moon, and sunrise all from the pair of overlooks. There was a burn ban, so we brought our stove to the overlooks for dinner and breakfast with a view instead of cooking on the fire. On day 2 we completed the loop. The descent and ascent were, again, very steep but having rock and log steps helped. Overall, we had a fantastic trip--highly recommend this one!
Name: Patrick B
Outing Critique: Did this as a two
night trip, starting at sunset Friday and hiking out noon Sunday.
Worked great as a first of the season backpacking trip, as well as
an introduction to backpacking for two of our companions. First
night we hiked to the base of the first steep climb and made camp an
appropriate distance off the trail. Second day started with that
climb, then a very pleasant mostly level hike along the ridge. This
track lacks great vistas, but otherwise has some interesting
passages through the old coal mine(s?) area. Second night spent
north of the resevoir.
Outing Critique: The primary
reason for this critique is to report that the blazing around
the lost pond is now complete and easy to follow, as is the
"sharp right turn" the previous reviewer missed, as long as you
understand traditional trail markings (two blazes, one above the
other, with the upper one on the right means "turn right"). I
don't doubt this is a recent addition; I did this hike not too
long ago and had the exact same problem. Yay for trail
Outing Critique: A beautiful hike on
a beautiful day! The bluebells were astounding along the river.
Just SO many! The trail intersections are all well marked. Do not
ignore traditional blaze turn signals (for new hikers: one blaze
above another, turn in the direction the upper blaze is on), or you
will miss the turn where the yellow trail cuts away from the river.
A very clearly defined trail continues straight beyond that point,
just after a stream crossing, but turning right is the right thing
to do there. Just follow the blazes!
Outing Critique: Just completed this
hike a few days ago, I also did it in 2 days/1 night, although when
I set out I had planned on 3 days / 2 nights - but decided to push
harder with some nasty weather moving in. Grindstone Campground was
closed so I parked in the small lot right across from the Mt Rogers
Trail Head. My vehicle was fine when I came back, but this parking
area is very close to the road so be wary. Most of the elevation
gain is experienced in the first few miles, and the views after
about 4 or 5 miles are well worth it. I would classify this as an
easy to moderate hike. The ponies were very cool, and it was very
Outing Critique: I hiked this on a
Friday in late September and had the park virtually to myself. I
enjoyed the multiple overlooks and did some rock scrambling on
Chimney Rock. I accidentally took a wrong turn and added a two mile
down and back to Camp Airy (the trail is not on the Park Service
Outing Critique: I hiked the Riprap trail clockwise starting at the
Riprap trailhead. I opted to do the ďboringĒ AT part first and work
up a sweat before hitting the swimming hole. The AT lived up to
expectations with only one slight overlook providing a preview of
the mountain that would need to be climbed at the end of the hike.
The Wildcat Ridge Trail was an easy descent into the hollow and had
a few overlooks. The last mile follows a small stream until the
junction with the Riprap trail. From there the last 3ish miles were
all uphill, although there was only one steep section.
Outing Critique: I attempted this hike with my husband and his aunt. She hasn't done a lot of backpacking, especially recently, so we thought the relatively low and flexible mileage on this one would make it a good choice. However, the first section of the trail (up until you reach hemlock road for the first time) has clearly not been maintained for many years. There were countless downed trees across the trail and areas where we had to search for blazes when the trail seemed to just disappear. That section, plus the steep descent on rocks covered with slippery fallen leaves once we reached the Tuscarora trail, put us so far behind schedule (despite having very generous time allowances) that we ended up camping at the shelter on the Tuscarora. It was a great shelter, with a fantastic fireplace that kept us warm in the chilly night & morning air, water source, and nearby privy. On day 2 we had way too much ground of unknown quality to cover so we decided to follow the Perry & Twig trails to hemlock road, then just walk on the road back to the car. Overall it was disappointing, but I would attempt it again, bypassing the initial section by walking on hemlock road to reach the Tuscarora trail. Seems like it would be a nice hike if we could have completed it, so my ranking might be unfairly low..
Name: Tony Van Vugt
Outing Critique: This area is
one of the last places that you can really call backcountry in the
mid-Atlantic. Just north is the Dolly Sods, while very beautiful, it
has become so popular itís hard to feel like youíre really out in
the wilderness alone. Roaring Plains is Dolly Sods 15-20 years ago.
But this is also for good reason. The trails are harder to follow,
and good map and navigation skills are a must. Donít take this
hike's author lightly when he says this area can be unforgiving. The
weather can change in minutes, and being ill prepared can make for a
Outing Critique: This was an enjoyable hike, but much of the early part (the Peninsula trail especially) was badly overgrown and COVERED in poison ivy. At two points we lost the trail--the point where you turn off across a small bridge to cross 381 is especially easy to miss. The pine tree trail at the end is labeled as the Tree Trail--in the last half mile of the hike, a laminated sign points you down a service road, while the trail blazes continue to the left, but both will get you back to the trailhead.
Outing Critique: This was a tough one to rate. It started
out as a bit of a let down, but finished with one of the
best trails I have hiked!
Day 3 was wonderful! Cow Pasture Trail is one of the best
trails I have walked. Peaceful, beautiful, easy grades, just
a joy to hike! One to take your time and be with the forest.
And it opens up to a beautiful meadow.
Outing Critique: Thank you so much to MidAtlanticHikes.com for the great directions for this hike. We followed them exactly and they were great! As mentioned, if you like awesome overlooks and killer rock formations, this is a great hike! Starting at Redman Run Trail and then finishing at the North End makes for a nice 9.6 mile one-day hike that is not too strenuous... and it hits some of the best features and builds as it goes. First you see a really cool overlook, then a nice rock outcropping and view at the summit. As you continue along, the Table Top overlook and then finally the Chimney Top are truly spectacular!! All the pictures in the world can't come close to what it's like. The trail itself is nice with only a few rocky sections. This is one of my favorite hikes I have ever done and is really a hidden gem. Go there and you will not be disappointed!! And the area is under 2.5 hours from DC. The local hotels are cheap too (Fort Hill Motel was clean and $60 a night!)... and Seneca Rocks is a great sister hike. We loved it so much I made a Rockumentary of our trip.
Outing Critique: I recommend
this one in spring or early summer. We went late summer--Labor Day
weekend--and despite a decent rainstorm on Thursday night, there was
very little water on the trail. You could hear water, but couldn't
see any at the falls. The only significant source of water was near
the Thompson Hollow connecter at the cascades. The water pooled
there enough for a small swimming hole. If you go at this time,
bring plenty of water and stock up when you find it.
Outing Critique: This was a nice hike -- not too difficult, but strenuous enough to give two experienced, middle-aged hikers a pleasant workout. Several great views along the way, and the one from Mary's Rock was spectacular. The photo shows the Thornton Gap entrance to Shenandoah NP as seen from up there. Labor Day weekend is probably not the best time to do this hike if you're looking for solitude.
Date of Hike: 08/24/2015
Hike Name: Ketchum Ron-Scar Run Circuit
I found the old logging road for the longer part of the hike - i.e. the Scar Run takeoff point - and followed it for about a hundred yards or so. It was non-obvious, overgrown, covered with light dead-fall and did not seem to see much traffic, if at all. I would have enjoyed tackling it, but did not do so due to time constraints. The Ketchum Run part was worth it, even though the return leg along the Loyalsock Trail suffered by comparison.
Outing Critique: This was a great hike. My wife and I left the parking area and hiked counter clockwise. We saw many bear scats, but no bears. Somehow we missed the Cranberry Swamp trail, and ended up hiking all the way to the Boggs Run area on day one. The trail was well maintained, with the exception of some blowdown which is to be expected in this area. If you do this hike, wear pants! There are a lot of nettles in the Boggs Run area and a few other places as well. Lots of uphill jaunts, and very steep downhills. We didn't see many proper views, but what this hike lacked in views, it make up for in extremely pretty tall tree canopies, and solitude. We saw two hikers over our two days in the woods. Please watch out for yellow jackets in the Boggs Run area though! They are very prevalent. The campsite(s) in Boggs Run were nice, albeit damp. Very nice hike though. Can't wait to finish up the West Loop!
Outing Critique: Four of us hiked this loop exactly as depicted in the trail notes in late august of 2015. One thing to note is the trail starts BEHIND the visitor center. We went across the wrong bridge (near the snack bar) and went up the high rocks trail instead of the LT portion, but rejoined at the vista. Of note, all the streams were dry and there was very little water until we got to Sone's pond the first night. The 2nd day we dropped our packs near the bridge and did a slack pack out and in to the haystacks. After recovering the packs we camped along the creek near the hunter's cabin. No cell coverage there but if you hike up to the road you can get a signal. Third day we kept on the link trail with no problems. You can drop the packs at the canyon vista if desired and then return via car to recover them. All in all a really nice hike. Did not see much wild life, and there were plenty of day hikers and swimmers on the creek.
Name: Pete S
Outing Critique: I used to
visit the Otter Creek Wilderness frequently in the 90's. I always
enjoyed the area, even if it was sometimes over used and crowded. I
wanted to introduce some fellow backpackers to this wonderful
wilderness, which I hadn't visited in 15 years.
Name: Mountain Stream Flood
Outing Critique: We did an abbreviated version of this hike starting from the Raven Rock Trail parking and returning via the Rock City and Roadside Trail from the C.C.C. shelter, for a total of 6.5 mi. Overall it was an outstanding hike and we particularly enjoyed the unofficial Sunset Wall Trail; it was so much fun making our way through the maze of towering sandstone and exploring the many talus caves and passages. It must be truly magical in early July when the rhodos are in full bloom. We were a little upset to find the main overlook chocked with WVU students fresh off a bus (but this was to be expected as it was the first week of classes), still we had the Raven Rock overlook mostly to ourselves, which I found to be a better view anyhow. One note about the route description: cairns no longer appear to mark unofficial paths and the unsigned trail formerly marked by a cairn off of Raven Rock Trail is not easily passable due to a thicket of saplings growing along the edge of the power line cut. Instead one must backtrack to the McCollum Trail, bear left and follow it to the logging road. From that junction it is ca. 0.1 mi to the right to an obvious old road on the left, which in turn leads to an obvious footpath descending into the Sunset Wall area.
Outing Critique: The trails are
pretty well marked with cairns these days, only had to pull out the
GPS a few times. Lots of the trails were small streams, some water
proof footwear would have been appreciated. Pants and long sleeves
are pretty much a must at this time of year as the path is very
Got a bit of a late start and camped the first night at the campground at the South Prong and Hidden Passage Trails junction. It was a beautiful site with a large fire ring and stream. The jeep trail and lots of blueberries and raspberries to snack on. Hiked the next day around the rim and managed to scare up a large rattler in one of boulder fields. Made it through Tee-Pee with some fuss, it's a really wet trail, but decently easy to follow. Planned to camp at the site mentioned above, but couldn't find it, which made for a very long day and a nigh time hike down Boar's Nest and over the creek to get back to the car.
Overall, the views and variety of environments make this one of the best backpacking trips I've ever been on.
I found a small stuff stack with gear along the trail, if you lost one, contact a mod to contact me, tell me what's in it, and I'll mail it to you.
Outing Critique: A beautiful August day in Virginia, hot, but not as hot as it could have been. We were three women in our 50s, experienced and avid hikers. Still, I was a little nervous when I had a hard time finding anyone writing of doing the trail in a day! We set out from Brown Gap at 9:44 am returned at 3:41 pm. So six hours altogether including half an hour for lunch under the bridge on the lower portion of Big Run Portal Trail. Overall it was an awesome hike! Rocky Top trail was quite overgrown with weeds and seedling trees, and the water bars had suffered much damage from bears. We did see one young bear on Big Run Portal Trail. I would definitely do this loop again as a day hike. We found it to be easier than Three Ridges (AT- Mar Har Trail starting at Reed's Gap) which is about the same distance.
Critique:Beautiful area of SNP, among the best in the park.
Relatively underused trails; during the three day weekend I saw
Outing Critique: Great hike with diverse scenery! The only strenuous part was the descent starting at High Meadows - it's the last leg of the first day and was difficult. The directions, as stated in other comments, are a bit off, though it's pretty straightforward.. Once you hit High Meadows Trail (which was our favorite part), you'll keep going through three large meadows. After the third meadow, you'll come to a creek crossing - it's a small waterfall with water running over smooth rocks and then falls down some small levels. Be careful crossing - it's an easy one to slip on and seriously hurt yourself. After this crossing, the trail winds for a half mile down hill, with campsites on your right as you defend. There's no clear signs, but once you get to the bottom and the creek is right in front of you, you have two options. Go left, you'll immediately come to a creek crossing that's at least 20 feet long. Go right, and you'll follow the creek and pass by the falls and a lot of camp sites. If you camp, you'll need to cross the stream (this is the start of the Seneca Creek trail). There's also a few campsites on this side of the stream. We came out on the Seneca creek trail as we didn't want to do all the uphill and re-hike the huckleberry (but also had a car parked there...you wouldn't be able to walk back to your car at Huckleberry trailhead from Seneca trailhead without a ride). There are at least 4 creek crossings on the full Seneca Trail which vary, but you should be ready to take off your boots at least once or twice.
Name: Christopher Robin
Outing Critique: We did most of this hike last weekend, just did it a bit differently. We started out at Spruce Knob on Saturday morning in beautiful clear weather with temps in the 70's. Hiked down Huckleberry Trail and took Horton Trail after the 4-way with Lumberjack Trail. Huckleberry is a very nice trail, mostly in spruce, but with a few clearings that probably had great views 10-15 years ago. Took a quick left off Horton onto Judy Springs Trail, which opens up to some awesome meadow views. Soon you are back in the woods and cross the bridge at the intersection with Seneca Creek Trail. Seneca Creek is a very nice trail along the creek, with many great campsites. We found one we liked and spent our first night there. Sunday we headed to the falls and then up Horton to High Meadows trail. I would suggest watering up at the creek at the start of High Meadows, its the best on that trail and for the rest of the day the way we went. High Meadows is a nice trail through the meadows up to the top of the ridge, it does get steeper as you go though. We found Lost Meadows at the top of High Meadows, then took Lumberjack Trail back to Huckleberry Trail. Our last push was Huckleberry to the closest nice campsite near Spruce Knob. There we set up our camp, got water for dinner that we had stashed in the car and relaxed and watched the beautiful sunset. Since we had no walk out on Monday,we had time to visit Seneca Rocks! This is a great hike!
Name: Peter Gebhard
Outing Critique: For the past year or so I have been coming to this trail and running it a couple times a week, all 4 seasons. It is great exercise and makes trail running more interesting/fun with the intermittent rock scrambles. During the summer remember your Camelbak, etc. Also, the trail is nearly always busy (unless you're running it at 7AM in January!!), but folks are pretty relaxed when you politely say "excuse me" and pass them. One thing I will say is that the trail is not nearly as "difficult" as the NPS warning, so even if you're nervous about going or haven't done any hiking, don't let it stop you. Just go for it! It is really beautiful and fun, whether you're taking it slowly as a beginner or running it regularly. Wear trail shoes or athletic shoes with good grip and you will be totally fine!
We brought our youngest group of Boy Scouts for a one-night
introduction to backpacking. Properly fitting packs are difficult
to find for 60-70 pound 11-12 year olds! I know good ones in youth
sizes are out there, but it is difficult to justify the expense for
a pack that could be 6 months and a good growth spurt away from
being too small. Nevertheless, the trails are easy and ideal for
Outing Critique: My daughter and I just finished this hike, exactly as described, and loved it. We have very little experience and found these detailed descriptions extremely useful and accurate. It was very challenging for us, but very rewarding. We did encounter a rattlesnake near Half Moon. The thistles/thorns were very thick a little north of Big Schloss and we sort of wished we were wearing long pants on that day. Also, it rained very hard the morning of the third day, so as we climbed away from Trout Pond up Devils Hole the trail pretty much became a stream carrying all the rainwater down the hill.
Excellent hike! Here's what I'd like to share:
Outing Critique: This was mine and my wife's first backpacking trip. We decided to make it a two day trip instead of a 3 day. Day one we went from 44 down to Slate Run. We ate lunch at the suggested first nights campsite. We made our way all the way down to Slate Run curious if there was a usable bridge there. THERE IS A NEW HIKING BRIDGE THAT CROSSES SLATE RUN NEAR THE HOTEL. It is very nice, no need to worry about fording the run. I used this webpage as our guide for the trail, and it was spot on (thank you!!) It started raining @ 12:30 at night, and it rained for almost 12 hours (supposedly 3" that night!). The streams were so high and fast, we felt they we not safe to cross, so, we cut the trail short and walked the roads back to the car on 44. One other thing worth noting, there is another parking area on 44 (looks newer). Coming from the south, it's just before the "God's Country" sign on the right. Other then the rain cutting our hike short, our first 13ish miles were awesome!
Name: Ruthie Franczek
Name: Paul Fofonoff
Outing Critique: In mid summer the forest roads were very overgrown. We missed the sharp right turn following the Pocosin cabin - the weeds were so tall it didn't look like a road, and we had to wade through several hundred meters of knee high weeds to continue - I would not call the roads a pleasure to walk on this time of year. Also, we could barely see the cemeteries through the growth. The falls were nice but the "sketchy" trail from the river to the base of the falls was wet and slick so care must be taken. Regarding the climb at the end of the circuit, we thought it was not as hard as it sounds from the description. In the end, had we known the conditions of the trails we probably would not have done the entire loop.
Critique: Hiked the trail counter-clockwise beginning with the
southern loop. We found the hiking to be easy and we were able to
complete the entire 26 miles in two nights at a leisurely pace. It's
not challenging and has no great views, but this trail makes for a
nice weekend backpacking excursion.
The Tuscarora trail was very overgrown, like the last few people
have mentioned. Up to Geyer Trail you're in the forest, and at
times it there was so much cover it was difficult to follow the
trail. At Geyer it opens up into the jeep road, which isn't much
better - easier to navigate, but covered in knee-high grass. I went
while there was still dew on the ground and my boots were soaked in
minutes. Poles and long pants are an absolute must.
M.R. Hyker Note: The Geyer Tr is now open.
Critique: Overall a nice, not too strenuous hike. I did this
one earlier today, according to the map on this web site.
Critique: Without this site, my backpacking exploration
would be limited to state parks and the ever popular well
known local trails in Pennsylvania so thank you for having
Outing Critique: The Reddish Knob Summit is a really remote hike that all the animal life. We saw eagles, signs of bear, 7' rattlesnake, and much more. The bear markings where intense around the mile 5-8 and also one the way down. There was a den of bears somewhere at mile 6-7 in the rocks. The trees were marked by claw marks at 6' up. Trees were pushed over, and the brush was thick you were walking through. If you were doing this alone without making noise this is not a good idea. The camp sites were remote and the only one that looked like you could somewhat pitch tent was the car camp site off the dirt road near the top. (See trail notes) The trail is marked yellow until you hit jeep road, dirt roads, and follow the trail notes with map. About two miles going down the mountain the trail is nearly impossible to go through. We were wearing gaters to our knees and hiking boots. Our arms and knees had some major scratches. The trail is so thick you think you lost it, and then you see yellow. You will go 15 minutes to 30 minutes until you see another yellow marking. The trail notes refer to open field for camping the grass is about 2-3 feet tall. Rattlesnakes we saw were in it. We saw a 7' rattlesnake, that would not leave us alone when we stopped for lunch. We moved one. He was too friendly. You will need to drop water at the top. The best idea ever from the trail notes and website. Oh have fun driving up the mountain road to the top. You will learn to pray very quickly. Amazing views, and they are so worth it when you hike to the top. We hiked the whole loop in one day 12 hours with 40 lbs in the backpack. We were planning on camping on the mountain. We did not find any camp sites that we want to camp at, and the bear activity made us rethink it. I enjoyed the hike, my wife did not like the bear activity and rattlesnake.
Name: Bob Handelsman
Name: Ed D.
Outing Critique: The Dolly Sods has nice over night camping sites for backpackers. You will need to make sure to follow the trail notes, as there are no trail makers. There are trail signs at intersections. There are enough people hiking the trail that you should be able to follow tracks. We ran into a deer (eight feet away), which was not afraid of people. The trails were wet and had multiple stream crossings. The mud is at times up to you ankles. This was one of the muddiest hikes we have completed. The trails were cleared. Our gators that go up to our knees were covered in mud the both days we hiked.
Outing Critique: My wife an I took a hike on Friday 06/12/2015. The first part of the trail was ok, you need to be in good shape to climb the trail to the top. It has twists and turns and is very rocky. Once at the top we took a brief rest on one of the overlook areas. As we continued the trail was rather dangerous as the path was overgrown with greenery and foliage we almost fell several times twisted our ankle on a rock and cut my leg on a tree stump sticking out. The reason for this is because it was so overgrown we could not see our feet and where we were stepping. It felt like we were in the middle of a jungle. We did not want to get lost so we had to turn around and come back. never made it to the Geyser trail, because we could not find it .
Gap SP - Tuscarora Tr
Name: Sean Morrison
Hike: Brown Mountain - Rockytop Loop
Billy Goat Trail - Section A
Critique: I love this trail. The views are beautiful along the Potomac river, especially early in the season when the meltwater still has the river running high and fast. The best times to go are weekdays or late afternoon on a weekend, provided you know how much time you take on the trail and how much daylight you have left. There are many places where the rocks are intimidating, especially if you are afraid of heights (like I am). In most instances though, it's easier to jump from rock to rock than it is try to climb around them. Wear good boots and it's no problem. I regularly complete this trail in less than an hour, a little more if I stop to look at everything. It's pretty much my favorite place in the entire DC area and worth the effort.
Name: Terri V
Chimney Rocks (Michaux State Forest) Loop
Critique: There haven't been any recent reviews of this hike, so I wanted to put in my two cents. I went on this hike today, and I really enjoyed it. The climb up to Chimney Rocks was quite a workout, but the view was really nice. I ended up going another couple of miles past Chimney Rocks on the AT -- relatively level ground -- and then turned around and came back via the AT instead of doing the loop hike. I was hiking by myself and wasn't 100% confident of the trail that I was supposed to take to get over to the return route and I didn't want to walk through the (very long) grass at the pipeline throughway. But it was a really nice out and back hike. But the most important thing I wanted to share is that THERE IS NO BASEBALL FIELD at the Old Forge picnic area anymore!! I was very confused about where to find the trailhead, but fortunately there were a couple of AT through hikers who came into the picnic area as I was looking around and they directed me to the trailhead. For reference, if you are looking at the big open grassy area from where you park your car, the trailhead is to the far right hand side right near a small building that stores fresh drinking water. Aside from that initial hiccup, it was a very enjoyable hike.
Red Creek/Dunkenbarger Loop
Name: Sara Hike: Jones Mt-Staunton River Loop
Date(s): 05/11/15 Rating: 5
Critique: My boyfriend and I completed this outing over two days in early May. We entered the park from Skyline Drive (warning, there's a $20 fee to enter Skyline Drive). Once you park at the Booten Gap lot, you veer left onto the AT (white blazed trail). It's a slight uphill journey until you quickly reach a trail marker that is a concrete post and very easy to read (they are available throughout the hike, you will have no problems staying on the trail or getting lost on this hike). Here, you veer right onto the Laurel Prong Trail which is for the most part downhill on the side of the mountain, crossing various neat rocks until you reach the very bottom of the mountain and another trail marker to turn right onto Cat's Knob Trail. This is probably one of the steepest inclines of the trip, but it doesn't last for too long and it is beautiful toward the top. You climb beautiful rocks and level out at the top. There isn't a "view" up here, but you can see mountains all around you in the distance. Continuing from here, you reach the Jones Mountain Trail. From here it is up and down, nothing too steep. You pass through rock gardens and woods, and there are no good spots to camp until you reach the very tip of the mountain. Here you will find a premade campsite on the left hand side. There are two large rock formations on either side, a fire ring in the middle, and behind are the strange swirly trees you have seen throughout the Jones Mountain Trail. It felt like a very safe spot to camp because it was enclosed on two sides, but it does get very windy, so be sure to secure your tent and rain fly. After spending the night, we began to climb down, only moments after leaving our campsite ran into a little side trail that opens up to a rock facing 5 layers of mountains. It's the most beautiful viewpoint on the trip. Continuing down, we eventually made it to another trail marker that included the Jones Mountain Cabin, which we opted to see. It was a downhill journey which led to a fresh spring and some log seating. After filling up on water, we climbed back up and onto the Staunton River Trail. One of the more beautiful trails, for the most part it follows and crosses the river, plus there were more than a few spots to hop into the water to cool off. Once you veer away from the river it is a longer trek uphill, and one of the toughest for me the entire trip. Eventually, you reach a gravel road that leads you back to the Jones Mountain trail, through cats knob, and back up the laurel prong to the AT. I rated this hike a 5 star because of its balance of beauty and difficulty. It was the perfect two day hike and the campsite was beautiful in the morning (we watched the sunrise). I might even suggest if you make it to camp soon enough, watching the sunset from the view point I mentioned that is just after the campsite, it is truly breathtaking, and if we knew about it beforehand we certainly would have watched the sunset there. The hike was amazing and I can't wait to try another trail like this soon!
Name: Sushant Hike: Conestoga Trail
Date: 05/02/15 Rating: 3.5
parked our car near Pinnacle Overlook and went all the way to
Martie Forge and then all the way back to Pinnacle Overlook.
Name: Pete Lynch Hike: Ricketts Glen Falls Hike
Date: 05/03/15 Rating: 5
I got there on a
Sunday and took a look around the park. I hiked the Bear
Walk/Highland/Cherry Run loop to get a feel for the place. Very
crowded so I decided to come back early the next day and hike
the entire Falls Trail, starting at the rt-118 trailhead.
Name: Travisw Hike: Big Mountain/Pine Tree Vista
Date: 05/02/15 Rating: 4.4
Critique: Started on map off tower road at the top of Big Mtn so I can understand how starting down on Aughwick road and climbing 900' would definitely get the ole lungs and heart working. I am surprised to see this trail, as steep as it is, is very well maintained and little to no wash out all things considered. I took my 19 yr old son this day as we had to sort some stuff out. We saw porcupine, turkey, deer and hawks. Big moutain overlook well worth it despite the element of graffiti. This overlook is most likely beautiful in any season. Only have a few items to watch out for. The old logging road, easy to follow but once it's ready to enter back into forest.....super marshy!! Need to walk up in woods to avoid sinking in 6 or more inches at spots. The sign at the fork for Fore trail appears to have dry rotted off tree and is is wedged between two trees pointed wrong direction. Unfortunately my son and I chose the wrong trail, which was Fore trail. This trail gets to be very interpretive at spots as seems to follow a temporary creek bed and it is super steep. The 500' climb up Klines (Kings?) trail was not as rewarding as I thought it would be..maybe best viewed when all leaves are off trees...this trail as well was straight up and a heart and lung metiator. All in all I have done all three hikes in this area listed and absolutely loved it. Well worth it!
Name: Kurt Hike: Pinchot Trail-South
Date9s): 05/09-10/15 Rating: 4
Critique: Friend and I did the south loop counter-clockwise, 5 miles on Saturday (3hr) and about 9 on Sunday (5hr). Very well-marked and easy on day 1, camped near the second-to-last of the 6 watered sites -- there's an unmarked adjacent site, very well-established, on a small island right next to the marked one. Requires hopping across a small stream, but has much much better tent spots, a row of stone chairs(!!!), and a nice firepit (which we sadly didn't get to use because of seasonal burn bans). Look just upstream from #5 out of 6 and you'll see it. #4 looked nice as well but was occupied. Day 2 was MUCH rockier but very peaceful, no people in sight the entire time, very varied surroundings that passes through lots of different areas. The trail was quite overgrown and blocked by deadfall in many places. We went up and down Stone Lookout at high noon, there was no shade and it was pretty brutal! Make sure you stock up on water for the last stretch, we didn't see any at all past the end of Birch Still Tr. and it's easily the toughest part. Excellent trail guide overall, much better than the printed DCNR one!
Name: Ber Hike; Roaring Creek Tract
Date: 04/18/15 Rating: 4
Critique: Good hike. We started around 9:45. First hill is no joke but ounce your up you can cover ground fairly quickly and youríe going to want to. There wasn't much going on along the big mountain ridge line a couple of coal pits but very lacking in vistas. Wildlife was quite plentiful; owls, salamander, snails, chipmunks, snake, butterflies, deer, coyotes, hawks, turkeys, ducks and geese that love to wake you up in the middle of the night. Being one of the first warm weekends this year it was quite busy, people riding 4 wheelers on the big mountain trail as well as mountain bikers and lots of folks of the main rd. maps or gps comes in handy for the fact that all trails are marked in red can get you turned around a little bit. Sign at entrance says closed for camping however all other resources we check said "primitive camping" was aloud with a open fire ban march 1- May 25 so we used a tiny stove. We ended up putting in 14 miles the first day due to the fact that good camp sites along the south branch roaring creek trail can be tough to find but if you keep going there is a great one. Terrain is rocky have ankle support. Overall if you put in some tough work the first couple of hours you can be at camp and relaxed next to the beautiful lake by 4pm with only a 4 mile walk out the next morning.
Name: Trailbuzzer Hike: Gunpowder-East Circuit
Date: 04/15/15 Rating: 4
Ccritique: The trail notes are a little bit dated but they are more than sufficient to follow the intended trail. This is a nice hike with some great scenery along the river. Very little contact with others along the way except for a few fly fishermen. The trail is mostly flat along the river but there is enough up and down in other places for a some cardio challenge. The scenery along the Panther Branch gorge (around 5.5 miles) is especially magnificent.
Name: Steve Hike: Otter Creek Backpack
Date: 04/14/15 Rating: 4
Critique: Awesome hike. The first two miles on Mylius are "straight up" (as told to us by a local that built the trail in 1969) and a good test to determine if your pack weighs too much. The Possession Camp Trail has several large fallen trees that will slow you down as you look for routes that will allow you to pass. In one case the only path was to climb the log and jump down. Crossing Otter Creek at Mylius can be a bit technical if it's rained recently. It was a gorgeous visit and I look forward to seeing more of the Otter Creek Wilderness. Thanks for the report.
Name: Doug McKenzie Hike: Fallen Timber-MST Loop
Date: 04/12/15 Rating: 4
long loop. Took 5 hrs. A bit rocky walking, especially on the
first half of the Mid-State on the way back. Not sure of the
directions at very end, i.e. LT onto Brush Hollow Tr. I
followed the MST and came out at the dam. All in all, a very
nice outing, all the trails in good condition with plenty of
Name: SL Hike: Kelly's Run-Pinnacle Overlook
Date: 04/12/15 Rating: 4
Critque: We hiked this on a beautiful April day with our 8, 11, and 13 year olds. Everyone had a blast. I definitely recommend hiking it the way it was laid out in the description. Everyone we saw was heading the opposite way. We had a tiny miscue where we were supposed to leave the Pinnacle trail down the woods road to join the Conestoga for the hike up Kelly's Run. The second "woods road" is only road-like above the junction and below it is narrow and a bit grown over. We thought we had made a mistake and backtracked only to end up staying on the Pinnacle Trail. In any case this is a great hike with just enough physical challenge to make it fun. I highly recommend it.
Name: Chris Hike: Quebec Run Backpack
Date: 03/21/15 Rating: 4
Did this hike
as a early season warm-up, gotta get out again starter hike. I
packed up for an over-nighter, but ended up just doing it as a day
hike for various reasons.
Name: lwtrekpa Hike: AT-Old Horse-shoe Trail Loop
Date: 12/24/14 Rating: 4.5
Critique: The is long hike, but not a majorly difficult one. Please plan time wise for this hike. I would venture to say at least 5 hrs if your going to take in glimpses of DeHart's Reservoir along AT, sign register at northern terminus on Horshoe, stop at Devil's Race Course, Water Tank, Stony Mtn Fire tower, lunch and water breaks and any other small venture you may encounter along way(i.e. Snakes, Deer, grouse, frogs, etc). I've done this hike the way described, backwards, used both the blue and H. Knauber trail to ascend and descend. Note, if you want more of a vigorous challenge, do this hike in reverse or use the H.Knauber to ascend up to Old Horshoe Trail. Either pink connector or H Kauber are real good climbs up Stony Mtn. If one wants to shorten this hike slightly and still see all the sights but the actual water tank, I have an alternate route. When ascending Old Horshoe Trail and you see the start of the red blazed H.Knauber trail..turn right onto it and take it. this takes you thru a bit of a marshy area depending on time of year but climbs to the crest of Stony Mtn. Once there you will see a rock cairn where you can turn right onto red blazed H. Knauber and continue down Mtn or go straight onto a blue blazed trail. Follow blue hashes along a trail that takes you along ridge of Stony Mtn and winds up at Stony Mtn Fire tower. After spending time at tower continue on regular road that takes you back to Old Horshoe trail(people also refer to this as Ellendale road). I absolutely love this trail for the variety and time away from "it all"! During hunting seasons please wear at least some orange.
Name: lwtrekpa Hike: Stone Tower
Date: 11/15/14 Rating: 4.3
Directions are pretty spot on. As far as trailhead goes, your are
more apt to see blue spots on tree off 325 heading east away from
Deharts reservoir then you will be coming west. A good guesstimate
would be that the trailhead is 1.5 miles away from inlet side of
reservoir. Parking is best on opposing side of trailhead about 50
yards past (going east) the trailhead.
Name: iwtrekpa Hike: Lebanon Reservoir - Sharp Mt
Date: 05/25/13 Rating: 4.6
hike was posted previously about 2 years ago as a new hike but
has been changed slightly since that time. The now posted red
blazed Black Spring trail that you pick up off the end of the
state game land road(where box car rocks/chinese wall branches
off) used to follow the gas line the whole way down to Evening
Branch creek. I haven't tried to find this trail but I can tell
you following the previously posted gas line down sharp mountain
was super wet and sloppy and the trail was like a deer trail
that at times I literally was crawling on my hands and knees to
navigate thru. Whether navigating the gas line or following
Black Spring trail, the challenge at the bottom is finding a way
to cross Evening Branch without getting soaked (you will get
Name: Merv Hike: Middle Creek WMA
Date: 12/27/14 Rating: 4
many PA trails, major portions of this trail go through active
hunting areas. It is highly recommended that all hikers wear
orange just like hunters in order to be highly visible.
Unfortunately, our group did not anticipate this, and when we
could clearly hear shots being fired, decided not forgo taking
the full circuit.
Name: Jason Dashbach Hike: Roaring Plains Base Camp and Day Hike
Date(s): 10/4-5/14 Rating: 5
Critique: Four of
us did this hike the first weekend of October 2014. It is a really
wonderful walk with amazing views at many points along the canyon
rim. We found ourselves staring the hike with snow flurries at the
trail head but no real snow ever came. The temps stayed seasonably
low both days but we didnít see much precipitation after that.
Name: Jason Dashbach Hike: Allegheny Front trail -West
Date(s): 11/22-23/14 Rating: 4
Critique: A friend and
I completed this hike the weekend of 11/22/2014. We started Saturday
morning and finished up Sunday. We followed the trail notes and went
counter clockwise as recommended. The notes were, as always, spot on and
the trail is very well maintained with wooden signs/posts at all the
intersections. Navigation is definitely not an issue on the AFT with how
well it is currently being maintained.
Name: WV Backpacker Hike: AT-Mauhar Trail Loop
Date: 11/10/14 Rating: 5
Critique: This loop was hiked over two nights, and three days as a low mileage, fun early start to the week. Approaching the AT trailhead close to sunset, day one was an approach to the Maupin Field Shelter. Nice easy beginning hike in. Being Veterans Day weekend, there were plenty of campers, surprising for a 40įF day.
Day 2 began ascending to Bee Mountain, and on to the first ridge. I feel this is the best overlook over the entire trip, primarily overlooking the Priest Wilderness to the south. The trail continues along the Appalachian Trail, shortly ascending to the second ridge, the highest elevation of the journey. This ridge has little exposed areas for viewing. Following the ridge line, it is another easy reach to the third ridge. I found two separate areas with stunning viewpoints, both peaceful and powerful. Note: both the second and third ridges have primitive camp areas, but with NO WATER. Next comes a long descent. This time of year makes this easily the most challenging part of the hike. I highly recommend close supervision of new hikers, especially those backpacking with weight on their shoulders. Considerable amounts of leaves hide EVERY nasty rock on the trail. Lots of Oak trees here drop their acorns, and it happens to be a very sheltered, quiet area for bears to dine. Harpers Creek Shelter is also sheltered well, both from the wind and the sunshine.
The hike out is easy going southbound on the AT, as well as the beginning of the northbound Mau-Har hike. Beyond the waterfall/swimming hole area, it becomes a hike that requires patience, and several short breaks. All uphill. Once you start seeing a few firs, you will find yourself approaching the Maupin Field shelter.
Name: Jake Hike: Trout Run Valley Circumnavigation
Date(s): 10/17-19/14 Rating: 5
Outing Critique: Great hike, many beautiful views. The trail notes are spot on, and easily followed the trial. One thing to note is that the white-blazed short trial down to the vista at the first night campsite is not really blazed anymore, and we actually couldn't find the trail at first. From the intersection with the sign, turn left and pass between the two fire rings. Head straight down over the hill and you will start to see a small trail. I would also mention that there are not many good campsites on the Long Mountain Trail, other than the large field that was noted here (I couldn't find the spring it mentioned). There are spots that could work, but didn't really see any additional developed sites.
Name: Andrew Hike: Otter Creek-SE
10/24-26/14 Rating: 4
Critique: I organized this for the Mid-Atlantic Bacpackers meetup, and we turned it into a basecamp utlizing the big campsite 1.1 miles north of the Condon Run trailhead. It was a big flat site next to the creek that could accomodate all 8 tents. On Saturday we conducted as described on MrHyker's site, and it was gorgeous to say the least. Although foliage was a little past it's peak, there was some marvelous stream scenery and beautiful mature hardwood forest. My only warning would be that the Shaver's trail south of Mylius is a little hard to detect at times. My guess is this section of trail is a little less trodded. Although the wilderness area is not signed or blazed (I saw one sign at Hedrick camp, signage for Otter Creek trail at Condon has broken off) cairns still clearly mark intersections and change of direction. Enjoy this wonderful place.
Name: .Com Hike: White Oak Canyon-Cedar Run
Date: 01/226/14 Rating: 5
Critique: Ol' rusty bucket & i had a free day together & chose white oak canyon loop for our hike. weather was magnificent, although that brought out the crowds. we started at the base of the canyon, hiking up white oak trail & taking in the great views of the many waterfalls. we decided to extend out hike a bit, so we hiked up to skyline drive, and walked about 1/4 mile south to the next overlook where we could access the AT. we took the AT SOBO for about 1/2 mile or maybe a bit longer, to the next parking lot on skyline drive. we crossed the road and started down cedar run trail. less crowded than white oak trail, a bit steeper as we descended. all in all, we think our hike was about an 11 mile loop. it was helpful to follow the map from www.midatlantichikes.com, as well as a good map of the shenandoah park.
Name: JNK556 Hike: Laurel Fork Backpack
Date(s): 10/17-18/14 Rating: 4
this hike as posted with Arfcomhkr, and one other friend.
Trails were clearly marked, and for the most part in good shape
except for parts of the Bearwallow trail, which is poorly marked
in spots, and narrow and rough. The small connector trail where
the Locust Springs Spur, cuts from the RR grade, and connects to
the forest road is hard to find, we ended up missing it, and
just bushwacked the 100yds up the hill to the road. Rest of the
hike was nice, except for the high winds that kicked up our
night on the fork. Laurel Fork trail looked to have been
recently blazed, and had zero trouble following it. Two tough
spots where the RR grade has been washed away, and you're trying
to tiptoe through were pretty tough, but not impossible.
Crossings weren't too bad, water was up just a bit, and running
fast, but nothing over knee high. Hike out on Buck Run was
long, and in some places pretty strenuous, but we've hiked
worse. All in all good trip, the bad spots on the fork give it
a 4 out of 5 rating.
Name: Ted E. Bear, Shortstack, Wooly Bully, .com Hike: Iron Stone Loop
Date(s): 10/11-13/14 Rating: 4.5
After watching the weather reports all week, it looked as if Accuweather was giving us a window of opportunity for this Columbus Day weekend hike to happen. Leaving from two locations in fairly heavy rain (Frederick and Timonium) at 8 AM we arrived at the "Day Use" parking area about within 5 minutes of each other at 11:15 to clearing skies. Finding our way around the lake without too much difficulty we arrived at the environmental center to screaming children having fun at a early Halloween party and were befuddled as to which way to go. After a ranger/employee pointed out the obvious retaining wall, we were on our way again only to miss the hard unmarked right before a residence and road. Back tracking and making an early turn, we had to backtrack some more before we found the missed unmarked start of the trail. (There were blue/yellow marks once you made the turn but not before.) All in all we lost about a half hour. The rest of day one was an uneventful nice walk in the woods with the exception of Ted E. Bear's realization that he left his much talked about (on the way up) Turkey sandwich in the car! Making do with an energy bar and knowing it was only 5 miles to the campsite no one perished that afternoon. As the 1st site mentioned was occupied by 6 college age folks we decided to go on and stayed at a somewhat abandoned campsite just off trail and across the stream from the hunters cabin about 3 PM. After setting up tents, and filtering water, the gathering of loose wood from around the site and rebuilding of the fire ring really spiffyed up the site. Other than the rocks the site was flat and soft. A blazing campfire and s'mores with good company made a cold night warm.
Day two started by breaking camp at 8:45. Despite the cold and "sleeping in" til about 7 we all moved pretty fast after breakfast. The warm up mile and a half or so before the "big climb" of the day was appreciated. Up until then, the "PA rocks" weren't too bad. Steep as it was we all made it up without the use of ropes and after getting to the top and taking a needed break we took the hard left to the rocky and view filled Jackson trail. (Note: the color coding of the map to the trail color changes was helpful.) Several great vistas and two small rattlesnakes occupying our path (One rudely removed by Ted E.) later we came upon the crowds of Jo Hay's vista at Rt. 26. We were still one week prime of autumn foliage. (Note: none of us felt the trail was a "jeep road" prior to the obvious communication tower access road on both sides of 26.) We didn't count but there were over a half dozen of the ugly sky scratchers. The trail did get slightly less rocky (as advertised) as it turned back into the MST. As we got to Indian Steps and took a break before the long decent there was a group of about 20 just starting to come to the top from a hiking club out of Altoona. They were doing some kind of loop or shuttle thing which didn't seem well planned based on the conversation with the individual we talked to, but he was not the one in charge. The one in charged seemed to be wanting to "hurry" the folks up the hill. (Ha Ha) After breaking for over 20 minutes we decided to pass the rest of this group "on the fly" as we descended the bugger. Everyone had aches in either toes, calves, or thighs or some combination, but no one fell! We chose the 2nd campsite on the left after the decent and road just before our nicely flowing stream water source. Another nice evening with fire and the last of the s'mores and not quite as cold.
Day 3 started overcast with low lying clouds making it dark, but for the second morning no dew as well surprisingly. We were on our way by 8:45 again and refreshed by the night's sleep and good breakfasts we all made it up the steep hill in 10 minutes! The rest of the morning was pleasant with clouds getting darker but this seemed to bring out the fall colors more especially on this "jeep road" section. All trail intersections were obvious or clearly marked and color coded. We arrived at our cars before noon, cleaned up or took advantage of the $1.00 shower and headed to a ranger recommended BQ place not far from the park. Unfortunately we found it was closed on Mondays. Splitting back into the East and West group, the West group found a good lunch at Boxer's Cafe in Huntingdon, PA and the East group found lunch at a local grocery store/sandwhich shop with indoor seating about 5 minutes from the BQ on 26. (Sorry we forgot the name.) Leaving our lunch spots the rain started which bookended our near perfect trip.
All had a great time.
Name: Joel Hike: Loyalsock-Link Loop
Date(s): 10/04-06/14 Rating: 5
Critique: Great Hike! this is the second time I have done this with my sons, and we love it here. The directions are great. My only changes would be to note that there are plenty more campgrounds that are not shown on the map (particularly along the loyalosock creek after the bridge, and also between High Rocks and Ken's Window. Also the point at which you leave the Loyalosock creek to go to rt 154 is a bit unclear. If you chose to not ford the first stream crossing, you must cross two bridges on 154. Ignore the various un-blazed paths that try to leave the road to the left.
Name: John Yancey Hike: Rocky Top-Big Run
Date(s): 10/03-05/14 Rating: 3.7
I just finished hiking the Rocky Top/Big Run loop with another
father and our 11 year old sons and let me start by saying it
was a great trip. Your map and trail notes were spot on and
very helpful. I printed the map and notes and gave them to the
boys and let them guide us along the trip. It improved their
map reading skills and gave them a sense of where we were and
where we needed to go throughout the trip. We made the trip a
three day/two night back country experience. We camped the
first night at the bottom of the Rocky Top ridge at the junction
where it meets the Big Run loop at the campsite you listed to
the left after the steel bridge. It was one of the best
campsites I have used in a very long time.
Name: Bill Hike: Hemlock Natural Area
Date: 09/27/14 Rating: 3
and my friend Don hiked the Bowman Hollow trail looking for the
homestead ruins, we did eventually find them, but the trail was
very hard to identify and follow. Some of the trees were marked
just fine and then you go a bit further and could not tell if
you were still on the trail or not. Anyway, the ruins turned out
to be an old spring house. We tried to find any remains of other
structures but the areas on all sides were overgrown, I am sure
there is a site there somewhere. We also came across something
else interesting, about 100 yards from the spring house, along
the small stream to the NW there is a strange man made retention
wall along the creek. This makes me think at one time there was
a mill or steam tannery there at one time.
Name: Emily Hike: Tuscarora-Standing Stone Loop
Date(s): 09/27-28/14 Rating: 5
started this hike in the early afternoon, clockwise from Cowans
Gap State Park, intending to camp in the Narrows, as mentioned
by Ben in a review above from January 2012. Departing the State
Park around the southern side of the lake, we found the Standing
Stone Trail and began our ascent to a rocky ridge top trail that
gave way to vista after vista. After 4-5 miles we came to the
end of the ridge and followed the Standing Stone Trail west down
a switch back to the Narrows (as seen on the map) instead of
heading east to the Tuscarora Trail as the hike notes suggest.
Name: Steve E. Hike: Roaring Creek Tract
Date: 09/13/14 Rating: 2.5
Critique: I did not heed the advice of an earlier reviewer and failed to call ahead to check the camping status. I arrived in the morning to discover the area is currently closed to camping. I had intending to stay one night, however decided to hike the loop in one day and substituted the Roaring Creek Trail for the South Branch Trail. Blazes are not the most obvious on Big Mountain Trail and there are numerous other paths leading in other directions. I went on a rainy day with low visibility and had a difficult time keeping the trail. There are some nice views of the reservoir, but make sure to call ahead!
Name: k8tlevy Hike: Old Loggers Path
Date(s): 08/30-31/14 Rating: 4
did this as a two day fast and light backpacking trip over Labor
Day Weekend - loved it, even though it rained like crazy one of
the days! Didn't see the road to Masten was out until we tried
to drive in on it Friday night. Luckily, the detour was easy to
Name: Wooly Bully, Shortstack, Christopher Robins Hike: Otter Creek Backpack (modified)
Date(s): 08/16-18/14 Rating: 4
Critique: Having a base camp in mind we changed this hike to proceed
directly to the waterfall area. We originally planned to camp at the
Otter Creek / Moore Run / Possession Camp Trail junction, but ended up
proceeding further north to find an open site. Busy day, lots of
campers. But easy to why so many come here, the falls and deep pools of
Otter Creek make for great swimming in about as scenic a place as can
be. At this point we decided to ditch the base camp and proceed with a
regular backpack. We stopped at a really nice site, where Moore Run
joins Otter Creek. We spend most of our time hanging out on the large
flat rock, real nice views upstream, downstream, and to the side with
Moore run flowing toward us. Pretty cool having dinner practically in
the middle of the creek! Chris made a great campfire, and we hung out
real late to
9:30 or so.
Name: Eric Hike: Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop
Dates: 08/31/14 Rating: 4
Critique: Long rocky hike with good views as the payoff. Took much longer than anticipated due to rocky terrain. Bring plenty of water and watch for snakes... we saw two timber rattlers (a first for us in PA!) at the Pinnacle and some other hikers saw copperheads at Pulpit Rock. I would not recommend it for kids less than 8 or 9 years old unless they are accomplished hikers.
Name: Navig8tr Hike: Green Ridge North Circuit
Date: 08/16/14 Rating: 3
Critique: I took this circuit as an overnighter to test some new gear. I started near campsite 1. I was glad to find that the blazes were recently painted, and Pine Lick in blue, Twin Oaks in purple, unlike the description above. I ended up doing most of the circuit the first day, and camped in campsite 11. I was surprised to find all the small streams dry, and 15 Mile Creek was an occasional stagnant, muddy , shallow puddle. I took 2 liters of water and took the last gulp when I reached the car. Overall a nice walk in the woods, but maybe better for late spring when the water might still be flowing.
Name: Tim Hike: Morgan Run Loop
Date: 06/17/14 Rating: 5
day is it? Work it, work it...
Name: Ed S. Hike: Pond Run-White Rocks
Date: 05/18/14 Rating: 4
Critique: This was a good long hike, worthy for its good views and cascading runs. I think the Tuscarora/Pond Run summit vista is the best vista along the loop, though White Rocks itself also gives an expansive view of the Shenandoah Valley, Massanuttens, and Blue Ridge. Due to recent rain, the Pond Run section creek crossings were easy cold fords, with other areas of the trail becoming flood channels. The long climb up Pond Run gave me a good workout. The logging road section of the Tuscarora was basically a stream until the Racer Camp Hollow Trail, where the stream became a broad alluvial fan. Pink ladyslippers were prevalent throughout the highland parts of the hike. Waites Run was flowing very well, allowing good photographic opportunities, and it was very good the plank crossing along the Old Mail Trail was there, as fording there would be through thigh deep fast flowing water.
Name: Ed S. Hike: Kings Gap
Date: 06/01/14 Rating: 3.8
Critique: I made a variant starting from the pine plantation, perhaps a mistake as that area was rather buggy. It's a nice area, but there are plenty of better hikes in the greater Michaux area, and thus the lower rating. Most of the overlooks, except for at the mansion and Ridge, are all somewhat grown over. The mountain laurel was starting to bloom, and the ornamental Catawba Rhododendrons around the mansion were in full bloom; as were assorted flowers in the garden. Its lily pond had plenty of frogs plus some blooming lilies. The mansion was open, so I took a quick trek inside. (The photo is the fireplace mantle.) A bluegrass band was performing on the lawn outside, mostly Stanley Brothers covers. With the exceptions of the mansion area and the Scenic Vista Trail, few people were out on the trails.
Name: Shortstack and Wooly Bully Hike: Alleghenny Front trail-West
Date: 08/02-04/14 Rating: 4
Outing Critique: DAY 1: After checking in at the park office, we parked at the "upper lake lot", and proceeded north on the Shingle Mill Trail. The trail follows the Black Moshannon Creek. Even with the dark tea-colored water this creek provides for a great walk, with lots of twist and turns, some deep pools, and lots of rhododendron, Cardinal Flowers, and Joe Pye Weed along the banks. The large flat rock at around 3 miles makes for a great lunch spot. Farther along the trail we saw a dark, mucky spring with a few spots of contrasting white sand jetting out from the bottom. Moving sand this fast requires a substantial flow of water. At the end of the Shingle Mill Trail the AFT heads west, thru an active logging zone, past some overlooks of the I-80 viaduct, and then down to the bank of the Red Moshannon. We continued along the "Red Mo" to Sawdust Run, but couldn't locate the "DAY 1 campsite". No evidence of a road to the right leading down to the Red Mo. We found a pretty good tenting area around 0.1 miles past the run, on the left side of the trail, complete with a big flat rock for cooking and a conveniently located fallen log. 10.1 miles for the day. DAY 2: The day started with steady rain. At 6:30 the rain tapered off enough to let us cook breakfast and enjoy the wood thrush song , but then picked back up before we could break camp. We took advantage of the next lull to pack up our wet gear and head out along the AFT, in heavy rain at times. Six Mile Run made for a scenic section of the trail. The relatively consistent width and slope of the creek bed make it appear man-made in places, but the deep pools and fast flowing water made it very scenic. Lots of wood thrush song in the background, and some high pitched ďscreamsĒ from the treetops. Possibly porcupine calls? The trail veers away from the creek, thru some pine plantations, and past Wolf Rocks. Aside from a geologist's dream of impressive scale, rounded edges, layers, slots, and overhangs at Wolf Rocks, there was an equally impressive mound of porcupine scat under one of the rocks. Upwards of 1/2 cubic yard, enough to demonstrate the angle of repose! At 13.5 miles for the day we stopped at a campsite under the hemlocks. Set up camp, waited out some more heavy rain, and turned in at 8:30. Lots of mourning doves, and a brief appearance by a whippoorwill. DAY 3: No rain! A few miles on the AFT, and then on to the Moss Hanne Trail. Great views from the extensive network of boardwalks over the marsh. Water lilies, cat tails, and blueberries! Lots of grazing along this section. Also saw some bushes that looked like blueberries but had red fruit. More wood thrush song, that same bird must be following us around the loop. Continued northward, thru more pine plantations, over a drier marsh area with expansive views, and then along the lakeshore back to the car. Blazing and signage made it pretty easy to stay on track. Over three days we saw no other backpackers on the trail. Just one trail runner, and then one family along the boardwalks. Even after factoring out the rain, the AFT-West was OK but not as nice as the other side of the loop, the AFT-East.
Name: Peter Fleszar Hike: Mid State Trail-Little Pine State Par
Date: 02/01/14 Rating: 4
Critique: I hiked part of this loop after completing my quest to hike the entire Tiadaghton Trail. When referring this hike to someone in a Facebook group I noticed a couple of things. First and perhaps most important, Happy Acres Restaurant has been tested and found excellent several times since I submitted the 2011 critique. Second, Spike Buck Hollow Tr south of MST does NOT continue straight west of MST, instead it quickly turns left/south heading down the drainage almost parallel to the narrow ridge, turning again at the bottom of the intermittent stream hollow to follow along left bank of Boone Run for a bit. The trail comes out on Boone Rd at an I-beam bridge over Boone Run, about at the 820' contour.
Name: Boondoggle Hike: Jeff Mitchell's Waterfall Wonderland
Date: 08/02/14 Rating: 4.75
Critique: A Great hike, very slippery, very demanding. The faster you try to go the more you get hurt... so just take your time. The bridge that had washed away has been replaced so it's much easier to get to. This is the 2nd time I've done the hike. The first time we got caught in a thunderstorm and had to take the haul road for the 2nd half of the hike all the way down. This last trip we were able to complete the entire trip. It took 7 hours total, but we did stop to look for a few geo caches and took 2 other breaks for eating and a 10 minute "let the feet dry out a little bit" break. The bugs were somewhat bad, and the plateau walk had some incredible mud pits, one which consumed my leg up to my knee...
Name: Reese Salen Hike: Pinchot trail
Date(s): 07/30-31/14 Rating: 3
Critique: Trail notes very helpful for the most part. It may be good to note that the trail does not follow alongside Sand Spring Creek, it parallels it but never descends to it. Water in Choke Creek and Butler Run in late July was slow moving and I didn't trust it enough to drink from the looks of the water. The footpath as you turn off Tannery Road toward Choke Creek is now signed with "Choke Creek Nature Trail"
Name: Mike G. Hike: Trout Run Valley Circumnavigation
Date(s): 07/18-20/14 Rating: 4
Critique: We did this hike in the direction laid out in the narrative. Our first day, we left Wolf Gap at 9 am, and headed north. Be forewarned that the well pump at Wolf Gap is broken, and has been since last fall. After a steady, but not too grueling climb, we reached the side trail where the vista was awesome from Big Schloss overlook. Back on the main trail, we reached the Sand Spring area, which was the first water we spotted that day. The water was flowing well, but had an odd chalky taste despite being filtered. We then reached the Tuscarora trail intersection, where there was no sign pointing out the TT, but it was obvious to go straight since the blue blazes were easily spotted. There was a confusing intersection where a steep jeep trail comes down from the left. Do not go that way. Just a little ways past that jeep trail (perhaps a half mile tops), we arrived at Day 1 camping at the intersection of Half Moon and TT. Good campsite, and as noted below in another critique, plentiful water flowing just before the bridge you cross before getting to the camp. Day 2, we went on down the Half Moon Trail and a couple of us hung up our packs on nails in the tree at the intersection and went off on the Half Moon overlook trail, which was an easy mile each way...there was some sort of small outlook structure up there built of stone, and the view was nice, although not as good as the Big Schloss view. Continuing on, generally downhill, we reached a really nice campsite with a creek..this was the intersection of the Bucktail Connector Trail. I think this would be a great alternative Day 1 campsite if you wanted to push on a little further than where we camped. We followed the directions given, and reached the end of the Bucktail Connector. The left onto the orange blazed Bucktail trail is more like a merge, and that trail is a very wide grassy fire road. Go down just a quarter mile or so, and reach a nice set of benches and take a break! Once we got across Trout Run Road, we began a big ascent up Long Mountain Trail. Much of this trail is an old fire road, and there are lots of grassy clearings, as described...the rock field is pretty daunting, yet lots of fun. Eventually you will reach a creek (I believe the one MR Hyker says is the last creek .64 miles before the Ben's Ridge site). There is a really nice site on the right just after that creek, back in the woods a ways, with a big fire ring. It would be a great Day 2 site if you are too weary to make it to his Day 2 site at Ben's Ridge. We went on to Ben's Ridge, which was pretty decent. A big clearing, but definitely slanted slightly, with a fire ring to the right. No sign of a spring anywhere, but a nicely flowing creek is just south of the clearing. Not obvious, but as you walk south, you will see the creek getting a little closer to the trail (it never crosses the trail). Day 3...from the Ben's Ridge site, it's a pretty steady and long climb, but eventually we came to a forest road and turned left...there is a nice campsite at this junction, but no water. Hike about 2 miles on this gravel road, and you will come to a very unceremonious trail head for the Tibbet's Knob trail on your left. A trash filled fire ring, and space for tent are there. The trail is pretty rocky and gets sketchy, but it is well blazed...eventually you reach the Knob, and it is one of the best views I can remember. You then descend, very steeply for a while, then the trail becomes more gradual. Just when you think you are about to reach Wolf Gap, you have to make one more pretty steep climb up a hillock, with great views as your reward. Then a short downhill hike afterwards puts you back at Wolf Gap. A great hike overall, and I think going in the Fall for color, or in the early winter or late winter before the trees leaf out would make it even better as you would have great views from the ridges.
Name: MSF Hike: Volkswagen Circuit
Date: 07/20/14 Rating: 4
Critique: Overall a very enjoyable hike. The highlight has to be the cascading stream in Clifford hollow, whose trail crossing make for good lunch spots. The abundant mountain laurel suggest late May/early June would be the best time to hike. Although the weather was beautiful for late July, we only saw 3 mountain bikers the whole hike. One note, the sunken jeep road is severely washed out and a few bad blowdowns significantly impeded the path. Mountain bikers have cut a parallel path to the south and west of the road that would be advisable to follow instead (can be picked up by following single track path to left of Catoctin Trail on the south bank of the sunken road crossing).
Name: Diane and Dave Hike: Hammersely Wild Area
Daye(s): 07/04-05/14 Rating: 4+
Critique: My wife and I did this backpack and dayhike over the July 4th weekend. We followed Mikeís directions completely. I even downloaded his GPX route onto my GPS. It made finding the start of the bushwack real easy. Being the holiday weekend we did encounter 7 other backpackers, 2 dayhikers, and a trail maintenance volunteer. The pool was beautiful, deep, and cold. The gas pipeline was rather steep at times. The views from the wild fire meadow were great. The ferns in the meadow were hip high. The blazes along the Twin Sister trail were a mixture of rectangles and circles, either orange or yellow or both (one on top of the other). Finding the start of the bushwack was made easy as the 3 rock cairn is now a 5 rock cairn and itís right in the middle of the trail. The bushwack down the Dry Run was trying at times since the valley was chock full of Stinging Nettles. We tried hiking along the side of the run and at times down the middle of the creek. Whichever route had less nettles. There were also a lot of blowdowns which made the going more difficult. After the backpack we enjoyed the bubba burger at Debís Cross Fork Inn and ice cream at the general store across the street. Iíve attached photos of the parking area in front of the DCNR garage, the start of the trail along Rte 144, the start of the gas pipeline, the end of the pipeline at the gravel road, the 5 rock cairn signifying the start of the bushwack, the bushwack down Dry Run, and the humongous bubba burger.
Name: Michael Hike: Mid State Trail-Old Tram Trail Loop
Date: 07/05/14 Rating: 3
Critique: This is a fairly nice hike, exhibiting typical central Pennsylvania terrain (ridge and valley, mountain laurel). Probably best done in early June when the mountain laurel is in bloom. We did the loop as a quick backpacking trip to try out some new gear and found that the trails (other than MST) are somewhat poorly maintained, though all trails described here were easily passable as of hike date. One MAJOR inaccuracy of this hike description is the absence of the described campsite at the junction of Old Tram and Cracker Bridge trails. We had planned on camping there, but when we reached the trail junction (no sign), we found that it was impossible to turn right onto the trail, as described. I took off my pack and bushwhacked in a ways finding a bridge, as though there had once been a path there, but it has truly and utterly disappeared. Continuing on along Old Tram trail, we did find a small campsite on the left after a short distance, as described. This site was basically "carved out" of the laurel and offered space for maybe one tent, but was a bit claustrophobic feeling with little available wood for a campfire (you'll need one to deter mosquitoes if nothing else). We passed up this site and found the grassy clearing on the right a little further along. You'll have to keep your eye out and walk off of the trail a few steps to the right before it opens up, but this is the largest laurel free and relatively rock-free space you will find on the hike. It is actually a beautiful grassy area with some tall trees, downed trees, and scattered rocks. There is a good space for one two person tent near the fire ring, which we rebuilt from an old one. There is probably space for one to two more tents, as well. Best of all, there is actually a bit of decent firewood in this clearing (otherwise hard to find in this hardwood/laurel/wet terrain). We left a few pieces stacked so as to stay dry near the fire ring ;) It is a decent, quick, overnight with an ok campsite (grassy area) if you want the trail to yourself... Plus, you can swim when you get back to the park!