Worlds End State Park

Double Run

Double Run

I’ve been to numerous state parks across the nation, but Worlds End is among my favorite.  Nestled in a deep gorge, surrounded by the vast Loyalsock State Forest, it conveys a sense of place that makes it feel special.  Standing along the beautiful Loyalsock Creek and looking up the towering bluffs and graceful white pine trees, it is hard not to appreciate the beauty of this park.

And Worlds End is a hiking wonderland.  An extensive network of trails explore secret glens with cascades and waterslides, deep hemlock forests, great views, and giant rocks.  The parks trails also connect to those in the state forest, creating a nearly endless number of hiking opportunities.  This hike is a shortened version of hike No. 37 in Hiking the Endless Mountains.

Leigh Ann and I returned to Worlds End and parked at the Double Run Nature Trail.  I was happy to see the Worlds End Chapel was still around.  The original site was swept away in the floods, so a new one was built across the road.  It would be hard to find a more peaceful place of worship.

Worlds End Chapel

Worlds End Chapel

The Double Run Nature Trail is beautiful as it explores the glen with moss covered ledges and countless cascades.  The trail has undergone a lot of work (thanks to Warren Renninger), and it was a pleasure to hike.  We passed Cottonwood Falls and its crystalline pool.  The hike took across a footbridge and up a ridge.  We soon returned to Double Run and proceeded up a side branch of this stunning stream as we followed the Link Trail.  This is an excellent trail (and is far more scenic than the section of the Loyalsock Trail that it bypasses).  The trail wound around boulders, meandered above waterfalls, and traversed mossy ledges.  We soon reached the road and crossed it, following a new section of the Link Trail that climbed up the mountain and then leveled off along the bottom of a series of ledges.

The trail returned to its old route and began the climb up to Canyon Vista, the green expanse faded with the haze as shafts of sunlight pierced the clouds.

Canyon Vista

Canyon Vista

There were some people at the vista when we arrived, including a family.  An adorable older woman, probably a grandmother, slowly walked down to the vista.  She gasped in awe at the view, saying it was so beautiful.  I got the feeling she was the too-rare type of person who was impressed with just about everything.

She then asked her family, “I know this might sound stupid, but are these the Smoky Mountains?”

“No, they’re further south” came the answer.  A few minutes passed.

She asked, “Are these the Kittatinny Mountains?”

“No, they’re in New Jersey.”  A few more minutes passed.

“Are these the Alleghenies?”

No response.

I was half impressed with everyone’s relative knowledge that those mountain ranges even existed.  Although Grandma’s final question might be considered correct, I was tempted to ease her boundless curiosity and tell her these mountains are popularly known as the Endless Mountains, but I didn’t.

We left the vista and continued on the blue blazed Canyon Vista Trail as it followed the edge of the plateau.  The highlight of the trail are a series of large boulders and ledges between which the trail explores.  Along the way the moss revealed a peace sign.

Peace

Peace

We soon passed two families hiking up the trail, the woman said, “That hill nearly killed me.”  And the trail did get very steep as it angled down the mountain.  We hiked across the road and followed the trail along the gorgeous, crystal clear Loyalsock Creek.  Families were swimming in the water or relaxing on the rocks.

One “tradition” I’ve noticed at Worlds End over the years is that people often make cairns along the creek.  The come in different styles and sizes.  Some are quite artistic.  They will be swept away in the next flood, but will surely return time and time again.

Cairn

Cairn

We walked the road back to the car, ending another visit to Worlds End.

More pictures.

 

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