Tim and Dan at the Chasms of Rock Run, Loyalsock State Forest
Twice a year I meet up with some friends from college for a backpacking trip. This past Fall, we decided to hike a part of the Old Loggers Path (OLP). I had previously hiked the OLP in July. After years of not stepping foot on the trail, it was odd to be on it twice this year.
The OLP has become one of PA’s most popular backpacking trails due to its scenery, isolation, and moderate terrain. Despite it being a cold November weekend, there were still several cars at the trailhead in Masten, where we parked. Ian, Dan, and Tim came on this hike.
We decided to do the northern half of the trail, which is the most scenic. So, we had to shuttle a car, which we parked where Yellow Dog Road meets Ellenton Road.
From Masten, we hiked counterclockwise, following the old logging grades under hemlocks and across tumbling streams. After a very wet, and at times rocky, hike at Dolly Sods this spring with the group, it was nice to be on the more forgiving terrain on the OLP.
Wind whipped through the bare forests, with only beech providing the last of the Fall color. We made our way down to Rock Run as a thin layer of snow covered the ground pine. We hiked under hemlocks as Rock Run roared below. I then led the group off trail a short distance to see the striking Chasms of Rock Run, where the two branches of Rock Run joined among beautiful gorges, cliffs, cascades, and pools. Everyone was impressed by the beauty. The water roared over rapids and across the smooth bedrock into deep swirling pools. The place felt wild and primeval. Across the creek was an incredible campsite, where we all made a note to come back to in the Summer.
We got back on the OLP and descended to where Yellow Dog Run meets Rock Run, another place of great beauty. Yellow Dog tumbled over a falls into Rock Run’s bedrock chasm. Rock Run is so amazing. Great campsites were nearby, but our goal was the new shelter at Doe Run. So, we had to hike up a gradual grade. As we climbed, below us was a twenty foot falls on Yellow Dog Run.
After crossing Yellow Dog Road, we made our way to Rock Run Vista. Along the way, we passed two volunteers I know from the Keystone Trails Association (KTA) who were maintaining the trail. KTA is a great organization that does so much for trails in PA, please support them.
We enjoyed the view over Rock Run as a cold sun began to set. We were soon back on the trail to Doe Run Shelter. Thankfully, no one was using the shelter, which is set above the tumbling rapids and cascades of beautiful Doe Run. There are several campsites nearby, and one was occupied by another backpacker. We soon settled into the shelter and got a fire going. A panorama of stars spread across the night sky with a few shooting stars. After eating and talking, we went to sleep.
The next morning, the dark forest returned to light and I decided to set out and see Doe Run Falls, which is below the OLP. I followed Doe Run down into a rugged gorge and reached the falls, set in a striking chasm of bedrock with two drops. It was very beautiful. After I hiked back up, the others had their gear together and we continued on the trail. We crossed Buck Run with its large boulders and we made our way to the top of Sullivan Mountain to enjoy its series of vistas over the vast plateaus.
We then turned left onto the Crandalltown Trail to make a loop back to Buck Run. From there we hiked out along the Ellenton grade to the second car parked at Ellenton and Yellow Dog Roads. After a great meal at the Forksville Inn, we went our separate ways until the next trip.
(Note regarding photos: due to changes with Flickr, I will be linking photos from my Instagram account).