Hike to Windstorm Vista and Cottonwood Falls-Worlds End State Park

This loop hike at Worlds End explores a new vista created by a windstorm.  It also features hemlocks, views, ledges, and waterfalls.  It explores some of the less popular parts of the park and is a very diverse and scenic hike.  This hike begins and ends at the park office.  Begin by following the Loyalsock Trail (LT) and cross PA 154.  A steep climb under hemlocks soon follows up a ridge.  You can hear the rapids of the Loyalsock Creek far below.   Reach an area with many fallen trees from the windstorm and Worlds End Vista, offering a nice view of the creek and canyon below.

Continue up the trail and reach a juncture where the LT turns left; there is also a sign for the Pioneer Road, the original route through Worlds End.  Legend has it that the terrain was so steep along the road that travelers thought they reached the end of the world, or their lives.  Here, turn right onto the yellow Worlds End Trail as it climbs up the slope with more fallen trees and some views.  The Worlds End Trail then level along the side of the mountain. 

Watch for where the trail turns left and goes up the mountain.  Here, you want to go straight, off trail, keeping the same elevation to a large open area with a great view of Worlds End, what I call the Windstorm Vista.  As I enjoyed the view, I could hear the ice collapsing off of High Rock and then falling into the Loyalsock Creek.  I imagined this was what glaciers sounded like.  

I returned to the LT and followed it along the mountain, enjoying the peaceful forests and trickling springs.  Above were a series of cliffs and ledges and lined the mountain.  I reached a juncture with Pioneer Road, which is unblazed but easy to follow.  Here, I noticed some cliffs and an orange rock overhang above me.  I went off trail to investigate.  The overhang was unique and colorful, with the colors of rust and orange mottled along flakes of rock.  Sandstone ledges surrounded the overhang. I soon returned to the Pioneer Road which I followed to a seasonal stream and Worlds End Road.  I crossed and picked up the green blazed Double Run Trail.

This was a beautiful trail with cascades and rapids under hemlocks.  Cottonwood Falls was beautiful with its grotto of ice formations and deep pool.  More falls and slides were below.  I rejoined with the LT, crossed two footbridges, and continued on the green Double Run Nature Trail to a parking area along PA 154.  I crossed the road and followed the Link Trail along the Loyalsock Creek, on sidehill along a steep bank, on rock ledges above the creek, and under a rock overhang.  It is a beautiful trail to hike.  I soon returned to the park office, completing the loop.  While there, it is well worth your time to walk down to High Rock along the Loyalsock Creek to see the ice formations.

Parking is at 41.471624, -76.581951.   Windstorm vista is approximately located at 41.468511, -76.587605.

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