Flat Top and Mehoopany Creek Gorge Vistas-SGL 57


IMG_20181121_161329_364

Mehoopany Creek Gorge Vista, SGL 57

This hike is a classic in SGL 57 and is probably the most “popular” although that is a relative term for this isolated area.  It is unique as it mostly follows old logging roads and grades with little bushwhacking, making it a more traditional hike than others in SGL 57.  However, no trails have blazes or signs.  I had been to Flat Top Vista, also known as Raven Rock or Buzzards Peak, many times.  It is a beautiful view.  I suspected there might be another view further down the ridge, so we decided to investigate.

From the parking area, there is a field.  Sometimes there is a mowed path, sometimes there is not.  Work your way to the northwest/right hand corner of the field, there may be some pickers, go up a bank, and hike up a mowed area next to a house and cottage.  Don’t worry, you are still on game lands.  The obvious grade continues steeply up through a pine forest.  Out of the pine forest, the hike veers right onto another obvious grade and continues to climb.  Below you to the right is White Brook and a beautiful 20 foot falls, but it is off trail.  Continue to hike up the old, eroded grade.  Reach an area with a lot of vines and a grade to the left, turn left.  This grade is obvious and meanders up the plateau.  Climbs are separated by level sections.  On the final climb, hike up with large rocks off to your right.  Reach a T intersection, turn left.  

IMG_0111.PNG


The trail is now level, and wet in places.  Reach an area with more laurel on the left and a trail, take it (if you continue on the grade you were on, you will cross a small stream, indicating you went too far).  The trail goes through the laurel and soon reaches Flat Top Vista with its commanding view up the Mehoopany Creek and over a steep gorge with an unnamed stream that has seasonal waterfalls.  We sat and enjoyed the view.

Now it was time for the bushwhack and we followed the edge of the plateau down, passing another view.  We had to go through the laurel, but a bear path along the edge made the hiking a little easier.  Just off the edge was a large round boulder, cracked down the middle; it is called Split Rock.  Soon, massive rocks and boulders covered the slope below us, offering more partial views as we negotiated the tough terrain.  We reached a fine view looking up the Mehoopany Creek Gorge and an even better view next to that one.  The view was stunning as it looked right up the gorge, as tiers of ridges and gorges sloped down to the bottom.  Thirteen miles away was the dome at Red Rock. 

We were impressed by the view, which was even more scenic than Flat Top Vista despite being a little lower in elevation.  So, we named it the Mehoopany Creek Gorge Vista.  The view rises 900 feet above the creek, and the gorge is over 1,100 feet deep.  Another view looks up the steep gorge of Kasson Brook.  I can’t wait to return to this view in the Autumn or on a Summer morning when the view is above the clouds and mist in the gorge.  SGL 57 has so many secrets.  

Parking is located at 41.496548, -76.132059.

This is described as Hike No. 14 in Hiking the Endless Mountains.      

 

 

View this post on Instagram

Canyons of rust and white.

A post shared by Jeff Mitchell-Outdoors Author (@hiking_mitch) on

View this post on Instagram

Split rock, SGL 57.

A post shared by Jeff Mitchell-Outdoors Author (@hiking_mitch) on

Advertisements

Candyland Rocks and Rock Maze of Middle Top-SGL 57

IMG_20181212_122942_221.jpg

Rock Maze, SGL 57.  

Last winter was the first time we explored Candyland Rocks, a place that thoroughly impressed us with its caves, chasms, boulders, and habitats. The rocks were covered in moss, hemlocks, and spruce. The ice flows coming off the rocks were stunning. I always wanted to return, and in October, we did.  Our hike was not limited to Candyland Rocks, but the entire escarpment of a plateau we call Middle Top. Middle Top was a destination for a hike from several years ago, and the primeval isolation of the place has always stuck with me.

We began at the small parking area near Stony Brook and Mehoopany Creek. We followed a jeep road up along Stony Brook, which offered views of the beautiful creek and valley. The road was in fairly good shape until the first stream crossing where it was obliterated by floods and covered in stones. A faint trail threaded the sapling before returning to the road. The road climbed embankments high above Stony Brook with more views of the rugged creek with its boulders and rapids. The floods created huge landslides. The road disappeared again in another washout, but we soon found it as we followed it up the mountain. Below us were beautiful cascades and small waterfalls with large boulders and deep pools. We then entered a glen framed with cliffs and cascades. A seven foot falls followed and then a fern meadow on the right. The trail to the left goes out to Burgess Hollow Vista; the trail straight ahead goes to the top of White Brook. But we were going somewhere else.

IMG_0110

 

We left the trail and crossed the meadow, heading in a southeast direction. We climbed the forested slope and soon reached Candyland Rocks, which were so beautiful with the moss and ferns. We explored the chasms and caves. As amazed as we were from our prior hike. Our hike continued along the rim of the plateau, passing massive boulders and outcrops. A scrambled up a ledge brought spruce and a remarkable rock maze that was several hundred feet long, and even continued through a cave. Truly amazing. Our hike continued with an arch and countless boulders and ledges. We passed a small cascading stream with hemlocks. Next was the Endless Wall, a long cliff that stretches for a few hundred feet.

Our route took us north along the east rim of Middle Top where the terrain became much more rugged. But the scenery distracted us with several impressive rock shelters and overhangs, not to mention some small rock mazes. Across the valley the cliffs of Spruce Ledge loomed. The terrain eased as we headed north and reached a small bald. Here, we cut southeast, crossing fern meadows and reached a stream. We crossed the stream and picked up the existing ATV trail and descended along cascades. The trail faded out in a hemlock forest but we simply kept close to the creek and soon picked up another grade. We dropped down to a glen with a 12 foot falls and a long slide. So beautiful. The grade descended along a deep and rugged gorge that was filled with the roar of water. This trail returned us to the original jeep road, where we retraced our steps.

This was a strikingly beautiful hike that a fit hiker with good navigation skills can accomplish. The scenery and diversity was stunning.

Parts of this hike are described in Hiking the Endless Mountains.

We parked at 41.466863, -76.161761.

View this post on Instagram

More rock shelters in SGL 57.

A post shared by Jeff Mitchell-Outdoors Author (@hiking_mitch) on

View this post on Instagram

Rocks, moss, and birch.

A post shared by Jeff Mitchell-Outdoors Author (@hiking_mitch) on

Hiking Quinn Run-SGL 13

30984737207_022bb624db_z

One of many falls on Quinn Run.

The proposed Endless Mountains Trail (EMT) is routed to follow beautiful Quinn Run in SGL 13, so I decided to explore it. I met up with Ben at the parking area next to Lewis Falls. Keep in mind the road to this parking area is only open during hunting season, generally from September to January. I had explored Quinn Run years prior, so I was excited to return.  This is in an area known as the Waterfall Wonderland.

IMG_20181030_165837_226

We first checked out impressive Lewis Falls as it roared into the gorge below. The creeks were high, so it took some time to cross. We were soon on an obvious, but unmarked and unblazed trail as it climbed from Heberly Run. Quinn Run was below us, filled with an assortment of cascades and falls. After a half mile, we left that trail, bearing left onto another old grade that was obvious, but had a fainter trail.

IMG_20181031_112913_534

This grade took us to where Quinn and Shanty Runs meet, a stunning place featuring bedrock gorges and waterfalls as the two streams join. We scrambled above to the flagged route of the EMT. We then proceeded to hike up Quinn Run, at times following the flagged route, and at times just following the creek. Quinn Run is a stream of incredible beauty with its assortment of waterfalls, cascades, deep pools, and grottos. It will surely be a highlight of the EMT.

IMG_20181028_181339_967

We entered a gorge to see the tallest of the falls, featuring three drops that totaled about 30 feet. Above were a series of bedrock slides and a final 7 or 8 foot falls over a wide ledge. We were amazed by the beauty of this creek. The water was crystal clear as moss clung to the ledges and springs seemed to drip from everywhere.

IMG_20181102_231301_672

For our return, we decided to avoid walking down the creek and instead try to find a grade above, on the west side of the stream. We scrambled up and soon found the grade. This grade was a blessing, and still in great shape, as it seemed to whisk us back to our cars. It was far above Quinn Run and the waterfalls were out of sight. Eventually, the grade came within view of some of the falls, offering impressive panoramas of the gorge. The grade continued its descent, passing outcrops and large trees. We soon reached Heberly Run, just below an impressive bedrock gorge and falls. The pool in the gorge looked incredibly deep. The grade ended at Heberly Run; finding this grade was a blessing and made our hike much easier.

IMG_20181029_160824_656

We crossed Heberly Run and reached our cars. This was a more mild, and shorter, bushwhack than I am used to, but it was beautiful and worthwhile nonetheless. There is so much beauty in these Pennsylvania highlands.

We parked at 41.337203, -76.363707.

More photos.

IMG_0101.PNG

Marie Antoinette Lookout-Route 6

43154621715_7dfb784498_z

Sunset from the Marie Antoinette Lookout.

Between Wyalusing and Towanda, there are two lookouts along Route 6-Wyalusing Rocks and Marie Antoinette.  While I had been to the Wyalusing Rocks several times, I couldn’t recall when I had been to the Marie Antoinette Lookout.  After driving by a thousand times, I decided to stop by.  And I chose the perfect time, just as the sun was setting.

IMG_20180813_163401_560

I pulled in and was immediately impressed by the view, which I think is even more beautiful than the Wyalusing Rocks.  Here, the lookout is over 400 feet above the Susquehanna River and offers a tremendous view of the sweeping river.  To the left, the river appears to enter a canyon as it becomes surrounded by steep, forested slopes.  In the distance are rolling mountains.

IMG_20180813_163654_341

Below the overlook is a field and the French Azilum where the French nobility hoped to find refuge during, and after, the French Revolution.  It was hoped Marie Antoinette would join them.  While a few nobility did arrive, the settlement didn’t last long.

20180811_200753

As I sat at the view, the sun began to melt into the clouds and disappear behind the horizon as twilight shrouded the Susquehanna River.

The lookout is located at 41.731054, -76.297383.

More photos.

IMG_0087.PNG

IMG_0088.PNG

 

After Work Hike to White Brook and Koerber Falls-SGL 57

42571145954_99eeb2d2db_z.jpg

White Brook Falls-SGL 57

It had been a fairly wet spring and I knew some waterfalls would be running into the summer. I don’t hike much in SGL 57 during the summer, so most of my photos are in the autumn or winter.  SGL 57 has about thirty waterfalls and I knew they’d be beautiful surrounded by green foliage and moss instead of bare trees, ice, and snow.

IMG_20180706_191746_302

Since this was an after work hike, I decided to visit White Brook and Koerber Falls; each is less than a mile from the road.

IMG_20180705_221716_108

We began the hike up to White Brook Falls. The glen was beautiful with its towering trees and deep, clear pools. There was some stinging nettle, but we were able to pass through relatively unscathed. As we approached the falls, the scenery grew more beautiful with red bedrock slides, rounded boulders capped with moss, and more deep pools. I could see the white ribbon of the falls up ahead.

IMG_20180705_221338_589

We reached the falls and it was a beautiful sight. There was still plenty of water. White Brook Falls is known for its graceful spout and overhanging ledge. It is a very scenic and unique falls. The cool breeze at the base of the falls made it very comfortable, cutting the heat of the day and keeping the bugs away. I could have sat there for an hour, but there was another falls we wanted to see on the other side of the valley, so we walked back to Windy Valley Road.

IMG_20180706_221037_878

Our next destination was Koerber Falls, a smaller stream than White Brook, we hoped there would still be some water. We hiked up the gorge, exploring a mossy mini-chasm with a slide and deep pool and an eight foot falls. Up ahead was Koerber Falls. It still had some water; being under it was like a natural shower. The water descended in delicate threads from the moss above. The acoustics at the falls were incredible, as our voices bounced off the ledges creating a surround sound effect. We walked back to the Mehoopany Creek, waded across it in twilight, as storm clouds gathered overhead.

More photos.

20180123_184944

20180123_185654

Waterfalls of Hemlock Run-SGL 13

41940137641_1d58e4cd78_z.jpg

Hemlock Run, SGL 13

In the isolated western ramparts of SGL 13 is a stream called Hemlock Run.  I have long suspected it had waterfalls, so I went to find out.

IMG_20180506_204236_560

There is a parking area and a small sign identifying the creek, located at 41.318183, -76.506174.  The road leading to Hemlock Run may be gated outside of hunting season.  A car can negotiate this road, but it is a little rough and a vehicle with some clearance is a good idea.

IMG_20180506_203854_186

I parked at the parking area and there was a gated road to the west of the run.  Because this road climbed high above Hemlock Run, I decided not to take it.  Rather, I hiked up the run instead.

IMG_20180506_164043_914

There was a faint footpath that crossed the run a few times.  It was a beautiful area.  Hemlock Run doesn’t have many hemlocks, but there were plenty of spruce growing, enhancing the scenery.  Red trilliums dotted the ground.

IMG_20180506_163452_454

The faint trail I was on evaporated in brushy and wet areas, so I continued to follow the run as it tumbled over cobblestones.  The run turned west and entered a rocky gorge with moss and springs.  The rock was loose and shifted under my feet.  The first falls was about 6 feet, the second about 15, and the third about 12.  The isolation of this place was incredible.

20180506_134849

I bushwhacked south, over a ridge and down to a tributary stream of Hemlock Run, where there was a cool, little gorge.  I then retraced my steps back to my car under drizzling rain.

20180506_132711

I drove back down the road where I saw a sign for Deep Hollow.  Intrigued, I had to explore.  I found a trail on the west side of the creek and some small waterfalls.  I climbed up the gorge.  It featured open hardwoods with some large trees, but no more waterfalls.  Regardless, it was a beautiful place.

20180506_132349

SGL 13 is a waterfall paradise.  I have seen about forty waterfalls on these game lands.

More photos.

IMG_0038

Schrader Creek Valley Vistas-SGL 36

26071515177_b806082c8a_z.jpg

View over Schrader Creek Valley, SGL 36.

The Schrader Creek Valley is one of PA’s best kept secrets. Here you will find towering waterfalls, gorges, huge rocks, Class III+ whitewater, ponds, rock climbing, vistas, and fascinating historical remnants from the coal and lumber eras. I recently went out to explore SGL 36 and find a vista overlooking the valley.

IMG_20180319_204454_195

I drove down Falls Creek Road and pulled off along the road (41.655855, -76.608576)before it became rutted and muddy. I then just walked down the road to a forest of pine trees, where I turned off the road followed a grade to the right (41.650738, -76.608228). This grade became a jeep or ATV trail as it followed the perimeter of a field with pine trees. In summer expect to see wildflowers.

IMG_20180318_201649_866

At the southern point of this field (41.645908, -76.611961), I followed a faint footpath that went southeast. This faint path went through laurel thickets and may be difficult to follow in summer as it is overgrown in places. This path is not blazed, but with some effort I was able to follow it through the laurel. The path went through open hardwoods, but then went through the laurel again, making a slight climb. I soon reached the edge of the plateau at some cliffs, where the path turned right (41.641404, -76.606739).

IMG_20180318_202923_108

This dramatic cliff line featured tremendous views over the wooded, isolated Schrader Creek Valley. Some views were 180 degrees, offering views up and down the valley. I enjoyed the rolling ridgelines and tiers of mountains between the glens and streams. The view of the valley to the southwest was particularly beautiful. I could clearly hear the roar of Schrader Creek’s rapids from hundreds of feet below. I could also clearly see the incline plane that once transported coal from Barclay to the valley below. Be careful along the cliffs as a fall would be fatal.

IMG_20180318_204627_543

I continued west and went off any trail, exploring massive boulders below the cliffs and ledges. I went through an open hardwood forest with some giant oak trees and soon reached the mountain laurel again. I made my way through the laurel and soon reached another cliff line, with more views and overhangs (41.641693, -76.613212). This cliff line was just as impressive with chasms and excellent vistas from exposed ledges. I was surprised by the extent of the cliffs and the high number of views. Someday, I’d like to explore these cliffs from the bottom.

IMG_20180318_205831_038

I found a trail that was used and cleared by people, not bears, which made the hiking easier. This trail dropped down and then climbed up, following a series of small cairns. This trail was in much better shape than the one to the first cliff. This trail brought me back to the same field I had left earlier (41.645564, -76.616109). I walked the jeep/ATV trail back to Falls Creek Road and my car.

IMG_20180318_205339_704

This is a truly beautiful hike with tremendous views. I was there in midday, so the bright sun washed out the features of the views. In the morning or evening I’m sure these views would be stunning. I hope to return in October for the autumn colors. I’m not sure if my route was the best. If I returned, I would follow the faint trail to the first cliff and vistas, retrace my steps, and then take the second trail to the second cliff line and vistas, and retrace my steps back to the field (the orange routes in the map below), avoiding the bushwhack in between.

IMG_20180318_205339_701

More photos.

IMG_0028

For the map above:

Yellow: Jeep/ATV trail along perimeter of field.

Orange: Faint trails, not blazed or signed.  The trail on the left is better established.

Red:  Bushwhack route.