Vistas, Rock Mazes, and Waterfalls of Deep Hollow-SGL 36

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View over Deep Hollow.

 

I first met Geren several years ago. He was looking to paddle the South Branch Tunkhannock Creek and I was available at the last minute.  The creek was swollen, its powerful current boiling and twisting around rocks.  I had been whitewater kayaking for only a couple years.  I paddled out onto the water and the current swept me downstream with ease.  We rounded a bend to see the water constrict and then disappear over a ledge with a geyser of mist shooting up.  I was nervous and Geren was ahead.  Geren vanished over the edge but soon reemerged, fearless and relaxed in the chaos.  I followed into the torrent of whitewater and flipped.  I quickly rolled up, surrounded by the crash and froth of water.  The gorge of Little Rocky Glen surrounded us with its spring slicked cliffs as another rapids roared its presence downstream.  The creek would have its way with me that day, with two swims and a scratched helmet.  Geren would go on to paddle thirty foot waterfalls and Class V rapids.  I settled for Class V hiking.

We met back up to do some exploration of the Millstone Creek area in SGL 36, specifically Deep Hollow. While lower elevations had no snow, as we drove into the mountains, a few inches of snow covered everything.  It was beautiful, but also odd that we had to wait until mid-April to hike in the snow.  Our goal was a rock outcrop that looked promising from satellite images.  We drove up Deep Hollow Road to the game lands boundary and parked at the sign.  Across the road were some boulders that blocked an obvious grade and trail.  To our right was a small, unnamed creek.  The unmarked but obvious trail meandered up the slope.  I looked to my right, towards the unnamed creek, and noticed what appeared to be a cliff on the side of the glen.  I mentioned to Geren I’d like to explore the creek on our way down.

We had no idea what would be waiting for us.

The trail was eroded and wet in places as it tunneled through impressive jungles and tunnels of mountain laurel. This would be the hike too do when the laurel blooms in June.  The trail leveled and became wet in places from small springs.  To our right was the deep glen of the unnamed creek.  The shadows of trees stretched across the snow.  We looked to our left to keep an eye out for any rock outcrops, the goal of our hike.  We saw some outcrops and left the trail to begin a bushwhack through the laurel and to the rocks.  This bushwhack would prove to be completely unnecessary.  We scrambled up to some colorful, slanting boulders and a deep cave.  Above was a nice view across the valley, but nothing spectacular.  I was resigned to thinking that this was all the hike had to offer.

We explored some more ledges as we fought through the laurel. Then, suddenly, the trail appeared.  We took it to the left, hoping it would go somewhere.  And it did.  It explored the top of the plateau with meadows of lowbush blueberries and twisted oak trees.  The trail ended at two cairns and some, what appeared, to be scattered rocks on an exposed ledge (they wouldn’t be so scattered when I returned).  A trail to the left soon brought us to an impressive exposed ledge with great views to the south.  Deep crevasses surrounded us as a large round boulder was perched on the edge.  It was a beautiful spot.  While the view was not as broad and expansive as the one on Kellogg Mountain, it was still great, looking down into the deep hollows and tiers of ridges.  The large ledge sloped down to our right, bordered by more deep crevasses.

I walked back out to the cairns and saw the scattered rocks out of the corner of my eye. I then noticed a letter.  The rocks weren’t scattered, but formed words to say, “Love You”.  Mother Nature is so nice.

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Geren exploring the maze.

 

Geren was ahead of me, following herd paths to the west. He yelled for me, saying I needed to see something.  Below us was a rock maze, where the bedrock had separated into square boulders with deep crevasses and passageways.  We had to be careful where to step with the snow.  We were able to scramble down into one crevasse, where there was dripping water, moss, and lichens.  The mazes continued along the west rim of the outcrop, but dimished as we explored the north rim.  There were lots of animals tracks, including coyote and bear.

It was time to hike back out. We found the trail and decided to follow it.  It was a great walk.  The trail led all the way back to where we had left it.  An obvious trail leads all the way to the vista, making this hike easy and accessible.

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Deep Hollow Falls

 

As we neared the bottom, we left the trail to explore the creek. As we battled through some laurel, we reached the edge of a cliff and I could hear the sound of falling water.  I got excited.  I looked to see the top of a falls.  I couldn’t believe it.  This was a substantial waterfall in an impressive grotto.  Upstream were two or three more 10 foot falls.  Since we were at the top of the high falls, we had to get to the bottom.  We hiked through the laurel along the edge of the grotto to the bottom.  I was surprised to find a fieldstone grade for an old footpath; maybe at one time these falls were well known.  The setting was breathtaking with the falls and grotto.  All of this was completely unexpected.  I couldn’t believe it.  Never before have I stumbled upon such a substantial waterfall, without a hint or idea that it was there.  I find it hard to believe it is not well-known.  I named it Deep Hollow Falls for the nearby road, and the setting.  Below was another ten foot falls and a cascading slide.  We soon reached the road, bringing an end to our hike.  These falls are no more than .25 to .3 mile from the road.

Another Pennsylvania gem hiding in plain sight, waiting for you to experience it.

More photos and videos.

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Hiking to the vista and rock maze is easy!

  1. Park at the SGL 36 boundary and sign on Deep Hollow Road.  N 41 38.813′ W 076 31.198′
  2. Cross the road and follow the trail/grade blocked by boulders.  The trail is unmarked, but is obvious and well-established.  An unnamed creek is to the right.
  3. The trail climbs up the mountain.  It is eroded and wet in places.  The trail tunnels through extensive mountain laurel jungles and tunnels.
  4. The trail levels above the steep glen of the unnamed glen.  Encounter more wet areas.
  5. The trail bends left and begins a gradual climb.
  6. Reach a “T” intersection, turn left.  N 41 39.117′ W 076 30.340′
  7. The trail remains obvious as it crosses the plateau with laurel, lowbush blueberry meadows, and oak trees.  Reach two cairns, follow the trail a short distance to the left to the vista.  N 41 39.053′ W 076 30.536′
  8. To see the rock mazes, head west from the vista for about 700 feet, following herd paths.  N 41 39.067′ W 076 30.638′
  9. Retrace your steps back to the car.
  10. Watch for snakes in hot weather.
  11. Be careful at the mazes, there are deep crevasses.
  12. Do not explore the top of the mazes if there is heavy snow.
  13. Late June is an ideal time to hike this trail to see the mountain laurel blooms.
  14. The vista and rock mazes are located here.

Want to see the waterfalls?  It’s easy.

  1. Park at the same place as the hike to the vista and maze.
  2. Don’t follow the trail, follow the creek.
  3. Encounter a 5 foot slide, 10 foot falls, and then a stunning grotto of 50 foot Deep Hollow Falls.  N 41 38.832′  W 076 31.043′
  4. It is difficult to climb above Deep Hollow Falls.  We went on the left side of the creek, battling laurel.  Be careful, there are cliffs surrounding the falls.
  5. There are two or three more 10 foot falls above Deep Hollow Falls.
  6. The falls are less than a quarter mile from the road.

Enjoy and share this beautiful place.  As always, treat it with respect.

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