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