Loyalsock Trail- Mead Road to Worlds End State Park

Haystacks Rapids

Haystacks Rapids

The famous Loyalsock Trail stretches for almost 60 miles through the Endless Mountains.  It is famous for its vistas, waterfalls, and beautiful streams and has been recognized by Backpacker magazine as being one of the finest hikes over 50 miles in length in the country.

I was recently able to hike the 13 miles of the eastern end of the trail, between Mead Road and Worlds End State Park.  This is a particularly scenic section of trail.  Ed and his nephew Ben joined me.  It was a hot, humid morning as we pulled into the parking area, but it proved to be much cooler in the shade of the forest.  As we began the hike, we passed a young family with several small kids, about to enjoy a day along the trail.  With recent rains, the creeks were running well and Dutchmans Falls provided a nice display as it tumbled over some cliffs into the Loyalsock Creek below.

The forest was beautiful, as shafts of sunlight penetrated the canopy, illuminating mist that hung across the forest floor.  The trail stayed close to its namesake creek, offering great hiking.  We soon reached one of the highlights of the trail, the Haystacks.  The creek roared with rapids as it twisted around the maze of white boulders.  It was a gorgeous sight.  We had the place to ourselves as we got a bite to eat.

The trail climbed to an old railroad grade where we passed a few dayhikers intrigued by a wet-weather waterfall.  The trail followed the easy grade before descending back to the Loyalsock Creek, where it crossed a bridge.  A climb followed up along a small stream, where we passed some odd looking rock outcrops with small caves, a product of erosion.  Ben was impressed by the outcrop; I had seen it before, but for some reason, it did seem more interesting on this hike.

We hiked along cliffs and ledges and soon reached beautiful Sones Pond, where we ate lunch.  The water glistened in the bright sunshine as we sat in the shade of the hemlock forest.

Sones Pond

Sones Pond

The trail meandered through a beautiful forest of hemlock and ground pine, passing over creeks.  It was a great section of trail.  We passed three backpackers, who seemed to enjoy the trail.  The diversity of the forests was impressive as the trail explored hardwoods, meadows, streams, wetlands, and deep hemlocks. At Tamarack Run, the creek twisted into tight “S” curves creating peninsulas and pools that reflected the trees.

We soon reached Alpine Falls as it tumbled down its grotto of cliffs.  Sunlight speckled the forest floor as a soft breeze blew up the glen.

Alpine Falls

Alpine Falls

The trail passed a beaver meadow with tunnels of hemlocks that Ben and Ed enjoyed.  We soon reached High Rock Run where there was some flagging, I hope it wasn’t a sign of gas drilling on our public lands.  The trail descended to Worlds End State Park along High Rock Run with its cascades.  We soon reached the park and a nice view.  The park was filled with people swimming, having a picnic, or relaxing.  There are few better ways to spend a hot summer day than at Worlds End.  Ed and Ben enjoyed the colorful, spring stained cliff at High Rock and High Rock Falls as it plummeted  from its secret grotto.  We were soon back at the car for the ride home.

More pictures.

Map of the section of the Loyalsock Trail we hiked.

 

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