Sand Run Falls and the Gorges of Babb Creek-Tioga State Forest

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Yellow are the unblazed but well established trails.  Orange is the Mid State Trail.

The eastern part of the Tioga State Forest is not as famous as the Pine Creek Gorge, but it has remarkable natural beauty. Here you will find impressive gorges and waterfalls. No hiker should miss Sand Run Falls and the gorges of Babb Creek.

Most people hike into Sand Run Falls along the Mid State Trail from SR 2016. While that is a great hike, there is a much shorter and arguably more scenic route along an unblazed but obvious trail from Landrus Road. The pull off parking is marked with a tree painted with a variety of colors. The trail starts just down the road and descends along switchback to the bottom of the valley. Hike through a grove of ironwood trees and reach Lick Run. You will need to make two stream crossings without bridges. Expect wet feet in higher water.

The trail continues up along Babb Creek and it is beautiful, passing under hemlocks and above the creek, which is often framed with cliffs and ledges. Climb gradually up the stream valley and reach thicker hemlocks and some wet areas. Babb Creek hides from view, flowing in a gorge.

Reach a place where the trail splits; I took the left trail which drops down a steep slope with a rope to Babb Creek. The beauty is amazing with gorges and cliffs, no more than 50 feet deep. Springs tumbled down the ledges. I hiked up along Babb Creek, passing an impressive grotto to the right with a falls. I continued and crossed Sand Run to take in the beauty of San Run Falls.

This is a gorgeous falls set in an impressive gorge with incredible campsites. The roar of water surrounded me, confined within the gorge walls. I felt as if I were within a hidden world. I climbed a trail up a steep slope on the north side of the gorge and turned left onto the orange blazed Mid State Trail (MST). The MST is an awesome hiking trail through this area, offering views down into the gorges. The trail descended to Babb Creek above a bedrock slide and waterfalls downstream. Do not cross here in high water. The MST climbed a ridge with views of another falls on a tributary. I hiked the MST to where it crossed the tributary, where I turned around.

Back at the Babb Creek crossing, I went off trail and hiked up Babb Creek. I highly recommend you do this if the water isn’t high. The beauty is amazing with several bedrock slides, pools, cascades, and gorges. This section has attracted the attention of whitewater kayakers (see the video below).

I then turned around and hiked the MST back the way I came. I stayed on the MST as it crossed above Sand Run Falls. I then hiked off trail up Sand Run to see more gorges, cascades, pools, and rapids. This area is incredible. I returned to the MST, hiked down it for a short distance, and then turned right off the MST and onto the unblazed trail.   I then retraced my steps back to the car.

This hike is about 1.5 miles, one way. It is moderate in difficulty and there are some steep slopes. Do not attempt in high water as there are no bridges.

I parked at approximately 41.653248, -77.193058.

Photos and videos:

View this post on Instagram

Sand Run Falls.

A post shared by Jeff Mitchell-Outdoors Author (@hiking_mitch) on

From scott.martin.images:

 

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