I returned to the Mocanaqua Loop Trail for an evening hike to see the sunset from a view above the Susquehanna River. The trail system has about 17 miles of interconnecting loops, with the green trail being the perimeter loop, and longest.
This is a unique trail system. Blazes consist of colored dashes on a white background painted on trees; trails can have multiple colored blazes. There are a few signposts at trail intersections. This is also an area that has been mined, and the result of that is obvious with massive culm piles and deep trenches, pits, and chasms in the ground. But don’t be completely dissuaded from hiking here- on some trails the forests have healed and these mining relics actually are fascinating, creating an odd topography.
This is a rock lover’s paradise, with ledges, cliffs, and big rocks everywhere. Mocanaqua is well-known to climbers. There are several nice vistas.
Much of this is now part of the Pinchot State Forest, and is known as the Mocanaqua Tract.
I followed the green loop clockwise from the parking area, to the ridgeline above the river. This was an out and back hike. The trail meandered up and around ledges offering views through the trees of Shickshinny. The trail followed an old grade, passing pits and chasms in the ground as ledges rose overhead. The forests were scenic and the trail was a nice walk. I passed more open views from a meadow with a great view of the surrounding mountains and ridges as the river flowed far below. I climbed up the ridge and left the trail to the vista I was looking for, which was less than a hundred yards from the trail. The vista was from a huge, sloping ledge of white conglomerate with superb views up and down the river. Pitch pine grew from the crevices. I sat and watched the sunset as the valleys fell into twilight. Sloping rays of light were the boundary between the sunlight and twilight. Orange and red spread across the horizon. I loved the views to the southwest with tiers of ridges that stretched deep into the horizon.
I retraced my steps and hiked out in the dark.
Trail map of Mocanaqua Tract:
These trails are also described in “Hiking the Endless Mountains”
How do you get to this off-trail vista?
- Park here and follow the road behind a sewer plant. 41°08’53.8″N 76°08’41.1″W
- From the sewer plant, walk the gravel road for about 500 feet and turn left onto a narrower trail, blazed green. This turn is easy to miss.
- Hike this trail up the ridge, stay on the green trail and pass two vistas.
- The best vista is about 100 yards off trail, located here: 41°09’41.1″N 76°07’47.7″W