The Loyalsock State Forest has established itself as the premier backpacking destination in eastern Pennsylvania. The forest is home to miles of trails that explore gorges, waterfalls, vistas, and rock formations. A few months ago, I went on an overnight backpacking trip on a variety of trails through the state forest featuring some of its fine scenery. Bryan, Dan, and Matt joined me on this trip. This hike was about 17 miles.
We met at the Worlds End State Park office (located at 41.471808, -76.581784) and shuttled a car to a pull off along Coal Mine Road (located at 41.456752, -76.628380). We hiked down the road a short distance and turned left onto the Loyalsock Trail (LT); much of our hike would be on this trail. The LT brought us to impressive Alpine Vista as it looked down the Loyalsock Creek valley. The trail descended steeply to Lower Alpine Vista and its equally scenic view. There we saw two men hunting for snakes. The trail continued to drop down to beautiful Ketchum Run. We hiked up along the stream with its rapids and cascades. We took a break a Rode Falls and climbed up its ladder. We climbed up the gorge, under giant hemlocks as the water roared below. Ketchum Run is such a beautiful place and is one of the gems in the state forest. Next was Lee’s Falls and an impressive chasm upstream.
The hike up Ketchum was a pleasure as we passed campsites under hemlocks. The LT turned right and crossed the run, but we followed an unblazed trail upstream where we enjoyed two more falls and bedrock cascades. We reached a blue blazed trail and followed the Ketchum Run Trail. Our next turn was right onto the yellow Ketchum Run Nature Trail; this turn was discreet. The trail returned us to Ketchum Run with its bedrock cascades, falls, and pools. This was another great trail as it meandered along streams, ground pine, and hemlock forests. We soon reached the parking area and took a break at a shelter.
Our hike continued by turning left onto Worlds End Road and a quick left onto a red/blue ski trail under more hemlocks with carpets of moss. After turning left onto the red trail, it took us back to Coal Mine Road for a short road walk, we turned left off the road, on the red trail as it followed a narrow grade to the LT where we turned right. We would follow the LT all the way to Canyon Vista.
The LT was a beautiful hike as we passed streams, hemlocks, meadows, and nice campsites. The trail climbed to a ridge and then descended, passing some large rock outcrops. We descended to the east branch of Double Run and saw the orange sulphur spring and enjoyed Mineral Spring Falls. We found a nice campsite along the LT and settled in for the night with a campfire and conversation. It was neat to see the foliage in the trees turn to yellow and orange in the setting sun. A small stream babbled through the night.
We were up early the next morning and the trail was beautiful, a thread through open forests and meadows of ferns. We soon reached Canyon Vista and enjoyed the trail, as well as the mazes of the Rock Garden behind it. Next was the blue Canyon Vista Trail which featured some giant rocks and passageways that everyone enjoyed. I then took them on the new yellow Cold Run Trail, a highlight with its gorges, waterfalls, views, rock outcrops, and boulder arch. We passed two women hiking who proclaimed this was their favorite hike and that they hike it every week. We returned to the blue Canyon Vista Trail and dropped down to the Loyalsock Creek which we walked along enjoying the rapids and scenery. A climb took us to Warren’s Window and then we descended to Double Run with its waterfalls and cascades. We hiked back to the park office along the Link Trail.
Everyone enjoyed the diverse scenery of the Loyalsock, although they weren’t thrilled with the final climb to Warren’s Window. This is such a beautiful area and I’m sure it will not be our last hike in the ‘Sock.