I recently met up with Mike and Dani to do some hiking in the Loyalsock State Forest. The plan was to see Angel Falls and Ketchum Run Gorge with their waterworks. Brunnerdale Road was a fairly easy drive despite some packed snow and ice and we soon began our hike to Angel Falls along the Loyalsock Trail. It had been years since I hiked to the falls, and it was great to revisit. Angel Falls was one of the first hikes I did in the state forest many years ago and it made me realize how special this place was. The trail provided a steady climb and then crested the top of the plateau. We turned left on a blue side trail to the falls. I immediately saw all the huge tulip poplar trees growing above the falls, something I had not noticed before. Some were truly massive. Tulip poplars are the tallest of the eastern hardwoods, reaching 200 feet. In several decades these trees will be true giants like those at the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest near the Great Smoky Mountains; hopefully they will never be cut.
We hiked to the top of the falls to enjoy the view and then walked to the bottom to see the cascading water in its splendor. Icicles framed the falls. Angels Falls is a beautiful place, cascading about 70 feet, with more waterfalls below. Cliffs surround the falls. Nearby, someone installed a rope swing from a tree with a view of the falls. Angel Falls flows most of the year, but is reduced to a trickle in Summer, and can dry completely during drought. After taking lots of pictures and enjoying the scenery, we hiked back to the car.
Next we drove to High Knob Road and parked to hike down Ketchum Run, one of the state forest’s crown jewels. The trail had more snow than our hike to Angel Falls, and it was noticeably colder. We spoke to a few backpackers as they reached their car. The creek had several small cascades and some hemlock forests as we walked on a ski trail. We went off trail and hiked along the creek to see its two beautiful off trail falls, including one that slid off an angled boulder. Snow covered the glen as ice draped the exposed rock. We continued down Ketchum Run, passing campsites, in the isolation and beauty of the gorge. We carefully hiked into the narrow gorge, but it was slow going with the ice and snow. This gorge is truly beautiful. Waterslides tumbled beneath us. We reached the top of Lee’s Falls, but decided to turn around due to the slick conditions and fading light.
Back at the car, we decided to drive to High Knob Overlook to see the sunset as the light filtered through the passing clouds. We could see distant snow showers across the horizon. It was bitter cold but the view made up for it. A drive home in the dark followed.