Boggs Run has carved a canyon over 1,100 feet deep and several miles long into the Allegheny Plateau of the Sproul State Forest. On the east side of this canyon is a vista of remarkable beauty, one of the most scenic vistas in the PA Wilds. This view was previously undocumented; I suspected it existed due to an opening in the forest I could see on Google Earth. I decided to check it out. Sproul is Pennsylvania’s largest state forest, covering over 300,000 acres. It holds incredible hidden beauty with many off trail vistas, large rocks, gorges, spruce and pine forests, and waterfalls.
I parked along Grugan Hollow Road, where a jeep trail intersects from the north. The spot was marked by a tree with a pink paint mark. I then headed north on the jeep road, which is not blazed, or signed (yellow on the map). To my surprise, there was no gate blocking the jeep road. However, driving down it is not recommended. The jeep road descended into a saddle along the ridge, and then began to gently climb. Here, I left the road and hiked off trail to the left. I waded through low blueberries and enjoyed some partial vistas. I eventually picked up some old game or hunting trails, which made my hike easier. I continued along the edge of the plateau. The forest was mostly open, and there wasn’t any thick mountain laurel. As I hiked, I followed a trail that became more defined.
Clouds were lifting from the canyons and the forests were within veils of mist. I turned around to see the sun sending shafts of light, piercing through the forest. It was so beautiful. With my back to the sun, the light would illuminate the mist in front of me, creating an iridescent haze across the forest floor. I had to rub my eyes to make sure I was seeing right.
I reached a steep slope and descended; I had to watch for some loose rock. I then reached Boggs Run Vista. It was truly breathtaking. The vista reveals a 180 degree panorama of this narrow, rugged gorge surrounded by towering plateaus, ridges, and buttresses as the plateaus descend. Mist and clouds rose from within the canyon and then drifted away, revealing clear blue skies. To the north I could see for twenty miles or so. Far below I could hear Boggs Run flowing. A hawk screeched within the canyon. Monarch butterflies sailed south. Across the canyon there appeared to be another vista. I could see right up the canyon for several miles. Since this vista looks west, it is ideal for sunsets.
I loved how this vista is so wild and untouched. Hopefully, the Sproul State Forest will allow a trail be built to it to highlight the stunning beauty of the PA Wilds. I then retraced my steps back to my car, off to find some more vistas in the state forest.
This hike is about 1.5 miles one way, with the first half mile being on the jeep road. The terrain is easy to moderate; there are no huge climbs or descents. The dashed red route on the map above is for those who want to hike longer on the jeep road. The red route is off trail, but does follow old game or hunting trails, which become more defined as you near the vista.
The vista is located at 41.312722, -77.703006. Parking is located at about 41.295199, -77.689584. It is pull off parking and very limited, with space for no more than one or two cars. Do not block the jeep road; do not drive down the jeep road.
Boggs Run Vista is an amazing view that should be on any hikers list.
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