I met some friends from college to hike this excellent loop, totaling 10.3 miles. It follows the classic Golden Eagle Trail and the fairly new Dragon’s Back Trail featuring several views, rock outcrops, and cascades. It is considered one of the finest dayhikes in the state. I recommend adding the Dragon’s Back Trail as I feel it is more scenic than the Golden Eagle Trail along Bonnell Run, which is still very scenic with a gorge of open hardwood forests.
From the parking area, we crossed PA 414 and began on the GET as it climbed up a gorge. We turned right to begin the loop as falls tumbled below us to the left. We made the long climb up to the ridge, which steepened as we neared the top. It was getting warm and the sunlight filtered through the forest. We reached the ridge and enjoyed the breeze as we descended passing a fine view to the left that looked up Wolf Run and then shortly thereafter, the classic view from Raven’s Horn and its unique rock outcrop. The view was stunning as we looked into the Pine Creek Gorge as green mountains surrounded us.
Our descent continued along the ridge, passing more unique rock outcrops. The trail then followed Wolf Run, which was flowing low, but has many cascades and small falls in a deep gorge. We passed outcrops of flagstone, with sheaths of rock that looked stacked. The trail along the creek was beautiful, and we crossed it several times. When flowing well, Wolf Run is truly beautiful. As we neared the top, there was a an old growth forest of giant pine and hemlock. We reached our first view and then hiked through the laurel to an old forest road, which we took to Beulahland Vista, a gorgeous view looking over the fields and mountains of northern Pennsylvania.
We continued on the grassy road, passing another excellent view, Bonnell Run Vista. The GET then turned left, but we continued straight on the grassy forest road to hike the Dragon’s Back Trail. We soon entered the woods and followed the yellow blazes along the forested ridgeline that narrowed with steep slopes on both sides. We enjoyed another view, Webber’s Vista, looking down on Slate Run. We made another short climb, and then descended on a series of grades that switchbacked down to PA 414.
We crossed the road, walked down to the rail trail, and turned left on it. The rail trail had great views of Pine Creek, wildflowers, and even an old cemetery. It was a great way to end the hike. We reached our cars and went to Slate Run for a meal.
Pine Creek Gorge has dozens of excellent hiking trails for any ability. However, hiking here generally means climbing. The views make it more than worth it.
Parking is at 41.439008, -77.511436.
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