The McIntyre Wild Area, located near Ralston, is famous for its scenic beauty. Here you will find several streams with cascading waterfalls, rugged gorges, big rocks, ponds, and vistas. The wild area is also home to historical remnants from the mining era, including the site of a town with the same name. The town is long gone, but the cemetery remains.
I returned to the wild area with a different plan- to explore the south rim to check out some off-trail vistas. After visiting a pond teeming with tadpoles and salamanders in a grove of spruce, I parked at Band Rock Vista and took in the view. I then bushwhacked south through a beech and hardwood forest. The sun was bright and warm. As I continued, hemlocks and pine became more numerous, with some large trees. There were also many large, rotting stumps from the prior trees that were logged. Those trees must have been huge. As I neared the rim, the mountain laurel prevailed with thick jungles. I had to fight through it, but it wasn’t bad. I did get some scrapes and cuts. I reached the rim and was treated to several rock outcrops with views over Ralston, Lycoming Creek Valley, and Rock Run Gorge. It was quite beautiful in the hot sun.
There was a lower view that I wanted to check out. I followed a bear trail down through the ledges and over boulders. The terrain was very rugged. I reached this lower vista from a cliff, but the view was really no better than the higher vista. I could see Rock Run far below, as the roar of its rapids filled the gorge. I climbed back up through the heat, a little concerned the rattlesnakes might be awakening.
I returned to the top and followed an obvious trail along the spectacular cliff rim with numerous views of the gorge and valley. The final views felt the most wild, with the roar of Rock Run below. I headed northeast, into the vallley of a small, pristine stream where I washed off. Next was a beautiful, serene hemlock and pine forest. I headed east to a small pond hidden in the forest. It was deeper than the other I had seen. I swung west and returned to the hemlock and pine forest with carpets of ground pine. If the hemlocks can stay healthy, this will be a stunning old growth forest decades from now.
I returned to my car by following an old grade. I then set off across the Loyalsock State Forest in search of Ticklish Rock…
This is an off-trail hike and you should be an experienced hiker to attempt it, although the terrain is fairly easy.
- I began at Band Rock Vista, where there is a parking area. N 41 31.235 W 076 56.567
- Proceed south to the cliff rim and views. Continue east along the rim for more views. N 41 30.506 W 076 56.627
- If you want to see the lower view, a steep scramble is required. N 41 30.428 W 076 56.593
- The small woodland pond is at N 41 30.928 W 076 56.100.