Hounds and Hawk Runs-McIntyre Wild Area

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Red is off trail.  Yellow is an old skid trail.

The McIntyre Wild Area has acquired a reputation for its scenery and historical significance. The wild area features old mines, ruins, cemetery, vistas, and beautiful gorges with waterfalls. A few weeks ago, I decided to head out and explore the isolated eastern section of the wild area, along Hounds and Hawk Runs. Most of this hike was off trail, but there were many old grades.

I parked along Yellow Dog Road, right before it crosses Rock Run. I then hiked down the road until I reached Hounds Run. I hiked up the run. There were some old grades, but they didn’t last long and I simply followed the creek, crossing where I needed. I entered a deeper gorge with a unique rock outcrop on the right and some cascades. Ahead, the gorge opened up to reveal a broad seven foot falls over a ledge. I hiked upstream to see impressive Hounds Run Falls. I had not been to this falls in about ten years and I forgot just how beautiful it was. It is over thirty feet tall and set in a scenic gorge with boulders and smooth bedrock. I climbed up to the left of the falls.

I continued upstream and soon reached a scenic glen with slides and smaller falls. A beautiful spot. I continued up along the east side of Hounds Run, staying above the creek. At the two forks, there were some cascades on the west fork, but I continued on the east fork, again following grades where I could. After hiking through some hemlocks, the forest opened into hardwoods. I crossed more grades and saw a small, unique stone culvert. I followed the creek to the east and stopped at a wetland, with rocks to the east, or my right. I then headed right, reaching a small rock bald, and below, an impressive boulder maze coated with wet moss. Truck and cottage sized boulders adorned the forest floor. On one boulder, trees were growing out of the draperies of moss. I angled slightly southeast and reached an old skid trail, which provided a convenient descent to Hawk Run.

I then hiked down Hawk Run, crossing wherever I needed. I soon reached a stunning gorge, about 100 feet deep with cascades and slides. Large boulders rose over the water. It was incredibly beautiful and rivaled any spot on Rock Run. Downstream was a glen, smaller in size, but with a ten foot falls and a deep pool. An old stone retaining wall was across the creek, but part of it had collapsed. The glen, like the gorge upstream, was very beautiful. I continued downstream, passing slides and pools. I reached a cabin with a wooden footbridge. I then hiked the road out, back to my car, surrounded by the roar of Rock Run in the deep gorge below me.

This was an excellent hike for the experienced hiker who has GPS or other navigation app. There are many stream crossings, so do not attempt in high water. The isolation, waterfalls, slides, cascades, and boulder maze make it a very unique and beautiful hike. Overall, the terrain is moderate, but the skid trail descent is a little steep.

Entire loop is about 4.5 miles.

Some GPS coordinates:

Parking: 41.535103, -76.891830

Hounds Run Falls: 41.537340, -76.898199

Boulder maze: 41.554078, -76.885617

Gorge on Hawk Run: 41.549866, -76.879359

Glen on Hawk Run: 41.547986, -76.879141

Photos:

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Hiking to Cider Run Ledges and Coyote Rocks Vista-SGL 57

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Yellow is the unblazed, unmarked trails.

The upper watershed of Bowmans Creek in SGL 57 features an extensive system of trails that lead to vistas, cliffs, cascades, and spruce forests. These trails are not blazed or signed, but they are fairly well established. I believe they were initially created by mountain bikers and have been in existence for over twenty years. This system offers excellent hiking and is an ideal destination for those looking for something different, but do not want to bushwhack.

Over the year, I hope to explore the entire trail system. On this hike, I did a 9 mile out and back hike to Cider Run Ledges and Coyote Rocks vista. I began at the parking area at Beth Run. I walked the road to the east a short distance, to a small pull off on the left, and followed the trail. The trail entered a scenic hardwood forest with ground pine and then made a gradual climb along an old grade. I reached the top, where a small cairn marked a trail juncture. I took the trail to the right, which goes to Cider Run Ledges. This trail may be a little hard to follow but as I hiked it became more obvious. It reached the edge of the plateau for a scenic “ridge walk” as it explored the top of the ledges. There were no open views, but the difference in terrain made for a very enjoyable hike. The trail then meandered near some spruce and then headed north, passing a boulder maze which was off to the right.

The trail descended gradually along an old railroad grade and passed more spruce. I hiked near some small streams and entered a scenic spruce tunnel. I crossed more small streams and passed near a wetland. The trail continued in a hardwood forest as ledges became more prominent. I soon reached the top of the Cider Run Ledges with the white conglomerate rock and spruce forests. There are no open views, but the isolated setting, large ledges, moss, and spruce made for great scenery. The trail continued north and I believe it may connect to Opossum Brook Road or the High Knob Trail. I stopped at the Cider Run Ledges.

I went off trail to explore the base of the ledges, something that I recommend you do. The scenery is excellent with mossy chasms, giant boulders, rock overhangs, small caves, and narrow crevices. I then retraced my steps back to the trail juncture.

I then turned right on the trail to the base of some large cliffs. The trail went around the cliffs and scrambled up some ledges in a tunnel of laurel. I then crossed the bedrock top of the cliffs with some spruce. Another beautiful spot on this trail. There was a view to the east. The trail entered the woods and meandered until it reached the edge of cliffs with views. The views culminated at Coyote Rocks Vista, a breathtaking spot where I could look up the broad Bowmans Creek valley. Giant angled boulders were beneath the vista. This view has no development, feels wild, and is great for sunsets. I then retraced my steps back to Beth Run as the forests faded into the twilight.

Back at the car, be sure to hike to Beth Run and see its cascades and grotto where it flows into Bowmans Creek.

These trails are a pleasure to hike. They are easiest to follow from late Spring, when plant growth begins, to before when the leaves fall in Autumn. The trails will be hard to follow with heavy leaf cover or snow.

GPS coordinates:

Parking at Beth Run: 41.361562, -76.165355

Where trail begins off the road: 41°21’46.16″N 76° 9’52.12″W

Cider Run Ledges: 41.387794, -76.169494

Cliff: 41.363398, -76.180046

Coyote Rocks Vista: 41.358615, -76.189458

Photos:

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Cave at Cider Run Ledges, SGL 57.

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Chasms at Cider Run Ledges, SGL 57.

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Views across the highlands of SGL 57.

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Big cliffs above the trail. SGL 57.

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Crazy SGL 57 rock formations.

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Chasms in SGL 57, above Cider Run.

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