Kettle Creek Gorge Vista, Loyalsock State Forest
Kettle Creek Gorge is one of the crown jewels of the already beautiful Loyalsock State Forest. A few months ago, I returned to this isolated rugged place.
I parked along Brunnerdale Road and followed the Loyalsock Trail along Ogdonia Run under hemlocks. I then took an unmarked side trail to the bottom of Falls Run and hiked up it, to see its beautiful waterfalls and cascades, including 30ish foot Gipson Falls and its grotto of fractured bedrock.
I climbed further and soon reached the base of 70 foot Angel Falls, always a fine sight. I remember how impressed when I first saw this falls so many years ago, and that feeling never really changes. The water bounced down the cliff and disappeared into the gorge below. Cliffs surrounded the falls. This is a place people will never forget.
I continued through a forest with huge tulip poplar trees and rejoined the Loyalsock Trail as it climbed through a scenic forest, crested over the rim of the gorge, and then dropped into Kettle Creek Gorge. This gorge is just special-it is rugged, scenic, and feels as if set apart. A true wilderness. The forests are beautiful, with some large trees. In decades to come, this will be an amazing old growth forest.
I stopped by the vista in the bright, warm sunshine as a rattlesnake announced its annoyance with a shrill rattle. I couldn’t see it. Knowing I was going to return to the vista, I soon continued on my hike.
The trail dropped down to Kettle Creek itself, a pristine wilderness trout stream with pools, cascades, and boulders. There are also some excellent campsites. It had been years since I camped here last; I need to return soon, I thought. The trail crossed the creek and followed it, offering superb scenery, before climbing up a steep slope. I followed a side trail back down to the creek and rested for a bit, hearing the sounds of the wilderness, the bubbling water, the breeze being inhaled and exhaled by the gorge. I knew there was another waterfall upstream, but decided to see it on another hike.
I retraced my steps and then went off trail to see a 7 foot falls and deep pool downstream, just off the trail. Another beautiful spot in the Kettle Creek Gorge. I returned to the vista as the sun began to set, filling the gorge with angled shadows and shafts of mist. It was beautiful. The roar of the creek filled the gorge. A hummingbird suddenly appeared, visiting some blooming trees as if it were on a set, daily schedule. It then sped off back to its teacup sized nest, hidden within a universe of trees. The snake didn’t make a sound.
Do people know places of such beauty are right here?
I followed the Loyalsock Trail back through a forest fading to twilight. Lightning bugs appeared with long, silent flares of fluorescent light guiding my way back to the car.
The Kettle Creek Gorge and Angel Falls are described in “Hiking the Endless Mountains”.