Bar Bottom Hollow Run has carved a gorge about 800 feet deep into the plateau of the Loyalsock State Forest. Isolated and out-of-the-way, it sees few visitors, but the hollow is home to fine natural beauty that would make it a superb hiking destination anywhere else. It is remarkable how many of these secret places exist in Pennsylvania.
I had known of waterfalls being in the hollow for a few years, but only had seen a photo of one of them. I decided the time had come to see this place for myself. I drove up Butternut Grove Road as it climbed up a glen with a small stream and rhododendron. The road leveled and I parked at the gate of Dad Dad Chapman Road. I had initially thought it would be more direct to bushwhack east across the plateau to Bar Bottom Hollow, but the thick jungles of laurel soon made me change my mind. I hiked along Dad Dad Chapman Road along scenic pine forests and numerous vernal ponds filled with croaking and peeping frogs. It was a nice walk as the road meandered across the plateau. I then reached a spruce and pine forest at a logging area, here I turned right onto a grassy forest road. The road ascended and then dropped into a drainage; the old road was easy to follow, but eroded in places. I then heard ominous howls- were there coyotes in the woods? I then saw a small flock of snow geese flying north. They sure make a lot of noise. The open hardwood forests were serene and beautiful. I then reached another forest road, a camp road that is used, where I turned right. The road ascended the side of the mountain a little, passing above the headwaters of Bar Bottom Hollow Run where there were impressive carpets of moss. The walk along the camp road was easy and enjoyable.
Of course, I also had a different plan in mind- to see a meadow at the top of the ridge. So I left the road and bushwhacked up the ridge to the meadow. It was nice, but no views other than the top of Smith’s Knob just over the trees. There were some trails up there that someone appeared to be maintaining with fresh cut twigs and branches. The trail followed the ridge to the south, near the steep escarpment of the plateau. There were also thick tunnels of laurel, and even side trails marked by small cairns. I wondered what was up with all these trails. I soon reached the end of the ridge and the trail promptly ended. So, I made the steep, rocky, rugged and not recommended descent to the hollow. Overall, this side jaunt was not worth it.
I reached Bar Bottom Hollow Run and it was beautiful and serene as the clear stream babbled down at the bottom of a steep gorge; the walls of the gorge rose steeply on both sides. I wish I had been here ten years ago when the hemlocks were still healthy, it must have been incredible. Today, what was once an impressive hemlock forest now struggled against the adelgid. An old grade was on the east side of the creek, making the hiking easy. Due to my side hike, I was hiking up the hollow, instead of down it, as most people would who venture to the hollow. Ledges rose above me with slopes of talus. The first falls came into view, about ten feet tall with an overhanging ledge and a pool. Soon there was another falls- about fifteen feet tall with a cascade and long bedrock slide. I continued up the hollow and the gorge became very beautiful with moss covered boulders, cascades, pools, and tiers of overhanging ledges. I entered a distinct and narrow gorge and I soon reached an impressive grotto with a twenty foot falls and a side stream that showered down with its own falls. This place must be amazing in high water, or in the winter. It was truly beautiful and worthy of the miles of hiking. Above was a small falls, less than ten feet tall, and more cascades and pools. I returned to the old grade and hiked out of the hollow. I wanted to see more of the stream, but daylight was fading. I passed a white hunting cabin and retraced my steps to the car.
Since I was so close to Jacoby Falls, I decided to do the quick three mile hike in and out to see it. This is a great trail and I saw several other people hiking. By the time I reached this 35 foot falls it was twilight. I had the place to myself as the grotto became more dark and ominous with the fading daylight. Jacoby Falls is so graceful, if not delicate, as a veil of water dropped down into the amphitheater of rock. I turned around and hiked out in the dark, as Jacoby Run was a ribbon of silver in the deep, dark gorge.
This hike is dedicated to the memory of Hua Davis, who recently passed away while hiking in the Adirondacks at the age of 61.
Don’t be intimidated by Bar Bottom Hollow’s lack of official trails, or its “out of the way” nature- it is fairly easy to navigate and explore thanks to old logging roads, grades, and forest roads.
- Park at the gate of Dad Dad Chapman Road. This gate may be open during hunting season.
- Hike Dad Dad Chapman Road; be sure to continue straight where the gravel road bends left to a drilling pad.
- After about 2 miles, reach a logged area with forests of pine and spruce. Turn right onto an obvious grassy old forest road.
- After about another mile, turn right onto a forest/camp road. Follow this forest road to a white hunting camp. The road becomes a grade that descends into the hollow. Most of the waterfalls can be seen or heard from the grade, but it is worth to hike along the stream as well. At the bottom of the hollow, the grade passes into private property.
The waterfalls are located at the following GPS coordinates:
N 41 22.987′ W 076 52.160′
N 41 22.753′ W 076 52.044′
N 41 22.664′ W 076 52.029′