With the cooler weather, I’ve returned to SGL 57 to explore more of its hidden places. My recent hike took me to South Brook, an isolated stream valley deep in the wilderness of the game lands. My plan was to explore South Brook, a tributary with a falls, and some cliffs and rock outcrops with the hope of finding a view.
We hiked along a gated road until we reached a large wetland through which South Brook flowed. We entered the woods and hiked the perimeter of the wetlands and reached the outlet of the swamp where there was a surprisingly scenic seven foot falls. Downstream the creek was beautiful, but surrounded by thick spruce. This place did not feel like PA. Boulders and rapids filled the gorgeous stream and we had to be careful since all the rocks were slick. The spruce proved to be too impenetrable, so we found an old grade west of South Brook that we followed until the forest opened up. We then resumed hiking along South Brook as it bounced down the valley with rapids, pools, and boulders.
We reached a sidestream and hiked up it, where a 30 foot falls soon came into view as it tumbled down a fractured ledge. It was a beautiful spot. Ryan claimed he smelled birch, so we called this Birch Falls. We then followed the edge of the plateau, passing some rock outcrops, but no views. Ahead was an odd blueberry meadow that appeared to be a very shallow bog with water over the bedrock. We made our way through the blueberry thicket and returned to open woods. A descent to a stream valley followed. Soon, giant ledges and cliffs loomed above us with overhanging slabs of rock. It was impressive. The place appeared to be filled with natural rock shelters. Above was a partial view across the plateau and valley. Most of the trees were bare, but the understory was still filled with color. We continued along the edge, with more cliffs and outcrops, but no more views. We made our way down. If I were to hike this again, I would stay at the base of these cliffs to see all the caves and overhangs.
Next was the descent back to South Brook. We soon returned to the stream ad hiked up it. This is a beautiful creek, filled with boulders, pools, and rapids. Cascades slid from boulder to boulder. Surprisingly, there was little damage from the floods that struck several years ago. This was a serene, beautiful place that was a pleasure to hike and explore.
I returned to the old grade to bypass the thick spruce and retraced my steps back to the car. A great day in the woods.
If you’re feeling adventurous, this is how to explore South Brook. There are no official trails, and some old forest grades.
- Park here. The road gate to reach this parking area is open from mid-September to February. 41.412984, -76.164307
- Hike gated forest road to here. 41.394719, -76.184189
- Enter woods, hike around wetland to falls located near here: 41.396824, -76.185766
- Hike down South Brook, very scenic but the spruce is thick. You can use an old grade on the west side of the brook to bypass the spruce.
- Reach tributary at: 41.405330, -76.194365
- Birch Falls is at: 41.405914, -76.193010
- Wet blueberry thicket with cliffs and partial views: 41.410916, -76.198505
- Vista with beautiful rock outcrops, cliffs, and overhangs. 41.416315, -76.196322
- Cliffline extends to about here, explore the base of the cliffs, no more worthwhile views. 41.417184, -76.202086
- Descend to South Brook about here: 41.416439, -76.209972
- Hike up the beautiful stream with its boulders, rapids, cascades, and pools back to where you left the road. (No. 3 above).