Quehanna Wild Area is a special place, and is starting to attract the attention of hikers and backpackers with its extensive trail network and diverse scenery. Quehanna has vast meadows, pristine streams, views, cascades, giant boulders, great camping, forests of spruce and pine, and wild elk herds. I’ve been to Quehanna many times, and on this hike we did something different. I parked at the Beaver Dam parking area and took the Lincoln Loop to the East Cross Connector (ECC) with forests of spruce, pine, and meadows, Streams were running full from the snowmelt. Creeks in Quehanna are beautiful; the tend to be deep, with sandy bottoms.
I met my friends who were camping along the ECC, and we headed north to the Quehanna Trail. Along the way, the sun lit the forest of laurel, pine and spruce. We also passed a large spring gushing from the ground. We reached the Quehanna Trail and stashed our packs. We then hiked off trail, heading east, across the plateau. The forest was mostly open, but we did encounter some laurel and big rocks. We then reached a view over Red Run, which we could hear roaring far below. The view of the canyon was beautiful. We returned to the Quehanna Trail and our packs.
Here, I left the group, who wanted to hike a different route. I wanted to hike the Quehanna Meadow Route, something that has long been on my list. I hiked south on the ECC and then hiked the Teaberry Trail, which still had deep snow in places. The two views were mostly overgrown and I ran into a group of five hikers. I then hiked a trail I had not been on, Teaberry Trail Connector, it was a great trail with a series of meadows. I then continued on the Marion Brooks loop, which went through hardwoods, tunneled through laurel and then went through more beautiful meadows with white birch trees and spruce. A great trail. I turned left on Losey Road and checked out the white birch forest in the Marion Brooks Natural Area.
I continued on the yellow Marion Brooks loop, passing another hiker. The pine forests were awesome. I reached the meadows, which were wet. Here, my off trail hike on the Quehanna Meadow Route began. I crossed meadow after meadow, lined with pine and spruce trees. It was incredible. I reached Pebble Run and passed through some woods. I then reached more incredible meadows as the creek shone silver in the bright sun. I went through another forest and pushed through a hemlock thicket to reach the largest meadows. Amazing. Vast meadows continued for miles as Pebble Run, then joined by Mosquito Creek, flowed in the valley to my right with rapids and white boulders. It really felt like Dolly Sods. I could not imagine the stars here.
As I hiked, the valley grew deeper with large rocks. Before Beaver Run, I reached some giant boulders with caves and deep chasm that I hope to explore. This chasm might run for over a hundred feet. I crossed Beaver Run, flowing fast and deep, and got wet feet. I hiked up the meadow with fine views to the south over the oxbow bend of Mosquito Creek, an awesome spot. Giant boulders and cliffs loomed across the creek. The sun began to set, and I was tired. I pushed on to the Bridge Trail, which I hiked down to Mosquito Creek and our campsite. We enjoyed a fire and conversation, even though it was hard to hear with the roar of Mosquito Creek. Since we were assured clear skies, I just slept on the ground without a tent. The stars were incredible, as they appeared one by one. The Orion constellation was vivid. I could see the Milky Way as satellites zoomed overhead. The sound of the creek quickly put me to sleep.
The next morning, we got up, hiked up to beautiful Crawford Vista and then headed north on the ECC. Meeker Run was filled with cascades, and had some great campsites. We saw meadows and postholed through the snow. It was a windy day as cumulus clouds sailed overhead. We crossed more meadows and a bridge over Beaver Run; colors seemed to be everywhere, from the stones in the creek, the dried ferns, green evergreens, blue skies, white clouds. Even in winter, Quehanna is colorful. As we hiked out, we passed a couple backpacking in, starting a three-night trip. They were from Texas, moved to Detroit, and were excited to explore the Quehanna. We gave them some tips and trails not to miss.
We reached the parking area and were soon heading home. But Quehanna keeps bringing people back.
For the map above, red is off trail. The vista over Red Run is at 41.295158, -78.252096. Parking is at 41.261274, -78.258002.