Bear Run Trail-Tioga State Forest

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Trail is well established and blazed red, but blazes are infrequent.

At the historic site of what was the former mining town of Landrus is a surprisingly enjoyable trail, the Bear Run Trail. The trail begins along Landrus Road and there is a sign. The trail is marked with red blazes, but they are very infrequent. However, the trail is well established. I hiked this trail out of curiosity, not knowing what to expect.

I hiked up an old road and then the trail veered left. Bear Run soon came into view with cascades, rapids, and pools framed by large boulders. I was impressed with the scenery. I passed a ten foot falls I called Bear Run Falls. This trail offered incredible streamside hiking with great views over the rushing water and gorge. The trail climbed higher above the creek, offering more views on the non-stop whitewater. Ledges and cliffs rose along the slopes of the gorge and some hemlocks grew along the creek.

I was surprised this gem was not better known, although I’m sure it was when the town of Landrus existed. The trail crossed Bear Run, so I hopped across on rocks. I was treated to more cascades. The trail soon made another stream crossing. Here, I stopped and turned around but not before enjoying a cascade over a wide ledge beneath cliffs dripping with springs. I then returned to my car. While the trail continued, I hiked in a mile.

I did check out the east branch of Bear Run, but there were no waterfalls.

If you enjoy streamside hiking on an isolated trail, this is the hike for you.

Parking is at 41.641848, -77.207233.

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Boone Run Falls-Tioga State Forest

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Red is off trail.  Yellow is an old grade or forest road.  Orange is a trail to a rock climbing area.

Near the town of Blossburg is a glen of scenic beauty. Boone Run cuts down through the plateau in the Tioga State Forest, and at one point, has a beautiful glen with waterfalls and slides, not to mention a side stream with its own cascades. I parked at the abrupt end of Boone Run Road. There was a gated private drive with no trespassing signs, but the surrounding land was not posted. According to the maps, state forest land touches the end of the road. Just be aware of this when you begin the hike.

Go off trail and hike under hemlocks and cross Boone Run to an obvious grade.  Be careful crossing in high water. Turn left on the grade and hike upstream. You may notice a trail going up the hill marked with orange flags, that is a trail to a rock climbing area further up the hill, called the Boone Run Crags. Hike up the grade and enjoy the fine scenery along the creek. You will encounter wet and washed out areas, not to mention brush, but the grade is fairly easy to follow.

After a half mile, the grade climbs above a distinct glen in the hemlocks, you can hear the sound of the waterfalls. Descend to the left and reach the creek to enjoy the falls, slides, and pool. It is a beautiful setting and the total height might be 20 feet. A tributary cascades in from the side, making it even more scenic. Further upstream are some smaller bedrock slides, but nothing significant.

This hike is about .75 mile one way.  Overall, it is easy to moderate. I parked at 41.674237, -77.078512.  The falls are at 41.677378, -77.086527.

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:

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Sand Run Falls.

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From scott.martin.images:

 

Big Run Gorge Vista-Ricketts Glen State Park

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Red is off trail.  Yellow is off trail but also along bear paths.

Ricketts Glen is a famous state park full of secrets. There are hidden waterfalls and vistas, deep hemlock forests and diverse wetlands. These wonders remain hidden due to the overwhelming popularity of the Falls Trail. One such secret is the rim above Big Run. Here, there are extensive cliffs and ledges with a couple fine views. The final view, Big Run Gorge Vista, is stunning as it overlooks the gorge and the vast plateaus of SGL 13.

This hike is off trail, but bear paths along the rim do provide some guidance. It is hoped this corridor will be the route of the proposed Endless Mountains Trail. We parked at the boat launch as Lake Jean was shrouded in mist. Across the water we heard the unmistakable, piercing call of a loon. We hiked a grassy dike and then crossed PA 487 to walk down Jamison City or Sullivan Falls Road. We walked the dirt road for about 2,000 feet, and then turned left into the woods, off trail, and reached Big Run. We then hiked up a beautiful, narrow glen with hemlocks and small cascades. From there we followed the contour of the plateau to the west, staying above the ledges and cliffs. As we hiked, hemlocks became more common and we could discern a bear path. This path provided, at times, some easier hiking.

We explored ledges and overhangs. We reached a view across the gorge created by a landslide. Just further was an outcropping of cliffs where there was a window view through the hemlocks of the gorge to the west. The terrain was rugged and wild. As we hiked, the clouds lifted to reveal a beautiful, sunny day. We then reached a second cliff and the finest view. We had to battle mountain laurel to reach it, but there it was, Big Run Gorge Vista, offering a superb panorama of the gorge and plateaus. We sat there to enjoy the sublime beauty. Big Run roared below us. This whole area is so beautiful with deep gorges, waterfalls, vistas, and hemlocks.

This hike is ideal for experienced hikers.  Be careful along the cliffs and ledges along the rim of the gorge.

We followed the bear path further west into stunning forests of moss, hemlocks, laurel, and even rhododendron. The isolation made it that much more special. If you are even more ambitious, you can explore the gorge of Lead Run on the western boundary of the park. There are falls, cascades, and partial views.

What are some of Ricketts Glen’s other secrets? A beautiful 15 foot falls on Maple Run, just below PA 487. Four or five falls on stunning Maple Spring Run, including the phenomenal Porcupine Falls. A 30-40 foot falls on Shingle Cabin Brook. Views off the Old Bulldozer Road Trail. And stunning views over Phillips Creek on the eastern boundary of the park.

Ricketts Glen State Park is more beautiful than you ever imagined.

We parked at 41.336952, -76.302129.  Big Run Gorge Vista is as approximately 41.335150, -76.319138.

The hike is about 2 miles, one way.

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Landslide Vista, Big Run Gorge.

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Rock shelter, Big Run Gorge.

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Lake Jean amber waters.

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Hounds and Hawk Runs-McIntyre Wild Area

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Red is off trail.  Yellow is an old skid trail.

The McIntyre Wild Area has acquired a reputation for its scenery and historical significance. The wild area features old mines, ruins, cemetery, vistas, and beautiful gorges with waterfalls. A few weeks ago, I decided to head out and explore the isolated eastern section of the wild area, along Hounds and Hawk Runs. Most of this hike was off trail, but there were many old grades.

I parked along Yellow Dog Road, right before it crosses Rock Run. I then hiked down the road until I reached Hounds Run. I hiked up the run. There were some old grades, but they didn’t last long and I simply followed the creek, crossing where I needed. I entered a deeper gorge with a unique rock outcrop on the right and some cascades. Ahead, the gorge opened up to reveal a broad seven foot falls over a ledge. I hiked upstream to see impressive Hounds Run Falls. I had not been to this falls in about ten years and I forgot just how beautiful it was. It is over thirty feet tall and set in a scenic gorge with boulders and smooth bedrock. I climbed up to the left of the falls.

I continued upstream and soon reached a scenic glen with slides and smaller falls. A beautiful spot. I continued up along the east side of Hounds Run, staying above the creek. At the two forks, there were some cascades on the west fork, but I continued on the east fork, again following grades where I could. After hiking through some hemlocks, the forest opened into hardwoods. I crossed more grades and saw a small, unique stone culvert. I followed the creek to the east and stopped at a wetland, with rocks to the east, or my right. I then headed right, reaching a small rock bald, and below, an impressive boulder maze coated with wet moss. Truck and cottage sized boulders adorned the forest floor. On one boulder, trees were growing out of the draperies of moss. I angled slightly southeast and reached an old skid trail, which provided a convenient descent to Hawk Run.

I then hiked down Hawk Run, crossing wherever I needed. I soon reached a stunning gorge, about 100 feet deep with cascades and slides. Large boulders rose over the water. It was incredibly beautiful and rivaled any spot on Rock Run. Downstream was a glen, smaller in size, but with a ten foot falls and a deep pool. An old stone retaining wall was across the creek, but part of it had collapsed. The glen, like the gorge upstream, was very beautiful. I continued downstream, passing slides and pools. I reached a cabin with a wooden footbridge. I then hiked the road out, back to my car, surrounded by the roar of Rock Run in the deep gorge below me.

This was an excellent hike for the experienced hiker who has GPS or other navigation app. There are many stream crossings, so do not attempt in high water. The isolation, waterfalls, slides, cascades, and boulder maze make it a very unique and beautiful hike. Overall, the terrain is moderate, but the skid trail descent is a little steep.

Entire loop is about 4.5 miles.

Some GPS coordinates:

Parking: 41.535103, -76.891830

Hounds Run Falls: 41.537340, -76.898199

Boulder maze: 41.554078, -76.885617

Gorge on Hawk Run: 41.549866, -76.879359

Glen on Hawk Run: 41.547986, -76.879141

Photos:

Hiking to Cider Run Ledges and Coyote Rocks Vista-SGL 57

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Yellow is the unblazed, unmarked trails.

The upper watershed of Bowmans Creek in SGL 57 features an extensive system of trails that lead to vistas, cliffs, cascades, and spruce forests. These trails are not blazed or signed, but they are fairly well established. I believe they were initially created by mountain bikers and have been in existence for over twenty years. This system offers excellent hiking and is an ideal destination for those looking for something different, but do not want to bushwhack.

Over the year, I hope to explore the entire trail system. On this hike, I did a 9 mile out and back hike to Cider Run Ledges and Coyote Rocks vista. I began at the parking area at Beth Run. I walked the road to the east a short distance, to a small pull off on the left, and followed the trail. The trail entered a scenic hardwood forest with ground pine and then made a gradual climb along an old grade. I reached the top, where a small cairn marked a trail juncture. I took the trail to the right, which goes to Cider Run Ledges. This trail may be a little hard to follow but as I hiked it became more obvious. It reached the edge of the plateau for a scenic “ridge walk” as it explored the top of the ledges. There were no open views, but the difference in terrain made for a very enjoyable hike. The trail then meandered near some spruce and then headed north, passing a boulder maze which was off to the right.

The trail descended gradually along an old railroad grade and passed more spruce. I hiked near some small streams and entered a scenic spruce tunnel. I crossed more small streams and passed near a wetland. The trail continued in a hardwood forest as ledges became more prominent. I soon reached the top of the Cider Run Ledges with the white conglomerate rock and spruce forests. There are no open views, but the isolated setting, large ledges, moss, and spruce made for great scenery. The trail continued north and I believe it may connect to Opossum Brook Road or the High Knob Trail. I stopped at the Cider Run Ledges.

I went off trail to explore the base of the ledges, something that I recommend you do. The scenery is excellent with mossy chasms, giant boulders, rock overhangs, small caves, and narrow crevices. I then retraced my steps back to the trail juncture.

I then turned right on the trail to the base of some large cliffs. The trail went around the cliffs and scrambled up some ledges in a tunnel of laurel. I then crossed the bedrock top of the cliffs with some spruce. Another beautiful spot on this trail. There was a view to the east. The trail entered the woods and meandered until it reached the edge of cliffs with views. The views culminated at Coyote Rocks Vista, a breathtaking spot where I could look up the broad Bowmans Creek valley. Giant angled boulders were beneath the vista. This view has no development, feels wild, and is great for sunsets. I then retraced my steps back to Beth Run as the forests faded into the twilight.

Back at the car, be sure to hike to Beth Run and see its cascades and grotto where it flows into Bowmans Creek.

These trails are a pleasure to hike. They are easiest to follow from late Spring, when plant growth begins, to before when the leaves fall in Autumn. The trails will be hard to follow with heavy leaf cover or snow.

GPS coordinates:

Parking at Beth Run: 41.361562, -76.165355

Where trail begins off the road: 41°21’46.16″N 76° 9’52.12″W

Cider Run Ledges: 41.387794, -76.169494

Cliff: 41.363398, -76.180046

Coyote Rocks Vista: 41.358615, -76.189458

Photos:

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Cave at Cider Run Ledges, SGL 57.

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Chasms at Cider Run Ledges, SGL 57.

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Views across the highlands of SGL 57.

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Big cliffs above the trail. SGL 57.

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Crazy SGL 57 rock formations.

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Chasms in SGL 57, above Cider Run.

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Hike to Kelsey Falls-Loyalsock State Forest

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Yellow is a gated forest road.  Red is a bushwhack.  Blue is an old skid trail.

The Loyalsock State Forest is home to dozens of waterfalls. Some are well-known, others are virtually unknown. I recently went on a hike into a rugged gorge northwest of Worlds End State Park to see if such a falls existed. I parked at a pull off along Loyalsock Road and followed a forest road that was gated. The forest road crossed an area that had been logged. Where the road began to curve around to the right, I left the road to begin a bushwhack into a hemlock forest and down along some ledges.

I dropped down to a small stream that had carved a mini-glen with small cascades. I followed this creek down and entered a scenic area with several large car and truck sized boulders. The small creek flowed around some of them. I angled to the northwest and continued a moderate descent, crossed a seasonal run-off streambed, and came across a skid trail, marked by what looked like a shallow ditch that went straight down the mountain. These trails were used in the lumber era to skid or slide logs down to the valley.

The skid trail was fairly easy to follow as it descended into a beautiful hemlock forest. Off to my left was the deep, rugged gorge where I hoped to find a waterfall. The skid trail moved closer to the edge of the gorge as it continued its steep descent. Near the bottom, the skid trail crossed into private land, so I dropped down to my left. I soon reached the unnamed creek and a beautiful 20-25 foot falls set in a grotto. The falls featured some bedrock cascades, then a free fall, followed by a steep slide. It was a very photogenic falls and it was possible to walk behind the falls. The falls was in the state forest, although a private property line crossed downstream from it. It appeared no one really visited the falls as there were no signs of a path. I called it Kelsey Falls. The bright sun was less than ideal for photography, but this falls would be stunning with some long exposure shots.

There appeared to be no more waterfalls downstream. I retraced my steps back to my car. This hike is about 1.5 miles one way, and requires a 700 foot vertical descent down and back up the gorge. It is a scenic hike, but only experienced hikers should attempt it.  No trails are marked or blazed. Maybe someday a trail will be built from Forksville to the falls. It would make a nice tourist attraction for Forksville, and a much easier hike.

The falls are likely dry in summer. It is best to see it when the USGS Loyalsock Creek gauge is 3.5 feet or higher.

I parked at 41.487216, -76.588058 to begin the hike.  The falls are located at about 41.494702, -76.591438.

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Kelsey Falls, Loyalsock State Forest.

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Kelsey Falls, Loyalsock State Forest.

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