A few months ago I learned of a vista on SGL 133, near Trout Run. Google Earth confirmed the existence of a rock outcrop. So, I made it a goal of mine to check it out.
I parked at a game commission parking area along Susque Road. I knew the vista was directly east of the parking area. I crossed a meadow, a wet area, and hiked into a pine forest. This was all off trail, but with a heading of east, I knew I couldn’t get lost. But I did get sore as I crawled up a steep slope with slippery, fallen leaves. The white markings of the game lands boundary soon appeared on my left. I continued up and soon reached a grey blazed trail, where I turned right.
Nearby is Camp Susque and its trail system extends into the game lands. I guess I could have asked permission and started at the camp, which would have been much easier, but I decided to stay on the game lands and bushwhack. The trail climbed gradually under hemlocks along sidehill. It neared a private property line and turned left up the ridge. The ridge was beautiful as it was narrow, offering views through the trees on both sides. Rock outcrops adorned the ridge. Ahead was a large outcrop and I knew it was Lookout Rocks. The setting reminded me very much of Ravenshorn on the Golden Eagle Trail.
A steep climb brought me to the rocks and I was immediately impressed. Not only were the rock formations beautiful, but so was the view. The view looked right down the Lycoming Creek valley to the mountains of the Bald Eagle State Forest, almost 20 miles away. Instead of the typical plateau scenery, this view featured peaks, rolling ridges, and deep gorges. Red tail hawks flew over me. The sun blazed through the clear blue skies.
I left the view and continued up the ridge, which narrowed even more and featured several more rock outcrops. It was a beautiful hike. I passed a ridgetop spring and turned around, retracing my steps back to the car.
Since I was in the area, and since the weather was so great, I decided to head up to the Frozen Run Gorge to check out some rock outcrops I wanted to explore, located on the south rim of the gorge. I soon found them, massive bedrock boulders splintered and separated, creating mazes and passageways. On top was a partial view of the gorge, revealing the prominent cliffs on the other side that I hiked on top of only a few months prior. What really impressed me was how the roar of Frozen Run filled the gorge. Frozen Run is filled with rapids and cascades over large boulders. On the drive out I took a few photos at Kind Jim’s Vista, a bittersweet place for me as I remember this place prior to the gas drilling- miles of unbroken forest that overlooked a vast wilderness with peaks and rolling ridges.
I headed to Marsh Hill to scout another vista. Parts of this village were devastated by the recent floods of Pleasant Stream. Forests were carpeted with sand and debris, yards filled with mud. The bridge along Bodine Road was torn away and completely missing, as if consumed and dissolved by the water, replaced with splintered logs. It is hard to understand such power.
How to hike to Lookout Rocks.
- Park here along Susque Road. 41.409509, -77.038960 (GPS coordinates from Google maps).
- Head due east to Lookout Rocks, located at 41.409245, -77.032095.
- Cross a meadow off trail and go up a steep slope. White game commission boundary markers will appear on your left. Look out for a grey hiking trail after about a 300 foot vertical climb, turn right on this trail, which will lead to the rocks.
- You may be able to hike from Camp Susque, but stop by the office and get permission first. This would be much easier. Use the Evergreen and Lookout Rocks Trails.
- From what I saw, the trails are blazed grey and fairly well established, but I did not see trail signs.
- Treat this place with respect.