I have hiked at Worlds End State Park and the Loyalsock State Forest for close to twenty years. Even after seeing parks and trails across the country, the Loyalsock and Worlds End remain as among my most favorite places.
We hiked an 11 mile loop south of Worlds End State Park, where we followed the Worlds End, Loyalsock, and Link Trails. This is a wonderful loop with a lot of diversity. It can also be an easy one night backpacking loop. We began at the park office and walked down to the Loyalsock Creek and High Rock. The creek was running strong and the roar of the rapids filled the canyon. Springs plummet from the top of High Rock cliff and in winter impressive ice columns form. There were no ice columns on this day, but numerous springs fell down to the creek, creating a moving rainbow in the bright sunshine. It was beautiful. We then turned around and climbed up the yellow blazed Worlds End Trail to the top of the plateau. At the top, we turned left onto an old woods road that is part of the cross country ski trail system. This trail meandered through several hemlock forests with some large trees.
We turned right onto snow covered Coal Mine Road and then right onto the yellow Worlds End Trail as it went through a scenic red pine plantation as hemlocks covered the forest floor. There were some nice campsites here. The trail continued until we reached the Loyalsock Trail, where we turned left. The trail explored green hemlock forests and passed a cliff off to the left. I decided to explore the cliff and soon found an old mine entrance which contained unique ice formations. The mine shaft was narrow and disappeared into the darkness. Massive rock overhangs rose above us.
Next was a deep, green spruce forest where we took some time to explore. It was beautiful as shafts of sunlight pierced the canopy, illuminating the ground pine below. The mature trees had straight trunks, looking like columns. This grove of spruce had a peacefulness about it. The scenery continued along both branches of Double Run where we enjoyed more hemlocks, rapids, and cascades. The trail passed the orange Mineral Spring, which smelled like rotten eggs. Just further was Mineral Springs Falls, a beautiful sliding cascade in a rocky grotto. An easy trail took us to Canyon Vista as the sun set, filling the canyon with angled shadows under the deep, blue skies as the Loyalsock Creek twisted below.
From here, we followed the Link Trail down. I love this trail as it explores Double Run with its many waterfalls and big boulders. It is such a beautiful stream. The trail was re-constructed a few years ago and is a joy to hike. The Link Trail took us along the large, deep Loyalsock Creek as Canyon Vista rose over us, still holding the last light of the day. Rock carvings with initials over 100 years old were along the trail. This section of the Link Trail was also newly built with sidehill above the flood torn creek. The new trail ended behind the state park office.
It’s always a joy to return to Worlds End and Loyalsock State Forest.
A map of the loop is here. Our sequence was as follows: Park office-13-14-11-10-6 (Loyalsock Trail)-Canyon Vista-Link Trail back to the Park office.