White Oak Draft-Quehanna Wild Area

45688987672_bcc7f71839_z.jpg

White Oak Draft, Quehanna Wild Area, Elk State Forest

Quehanna has many beautiful streams and drainages, often featuring cascades, giant boulders, moss, hemlocks, and thick rhododendrons. One such stream is White Oak Draft, conveniently located along Wykoff Run Road.

20181007_172250

IMG_20181010_235644_316

There is pull off parking along the road and a sign identifies the draft. I then followed an unmarked path up along the creek, passing an old site of a cabin with only a part of the chimney remaining. The path was faint, but I was able to follow it.

IMG_20181011_180338_120

I reached a small, open area surrounded by large trees. I was tempted to cross the creek here, but the trail continued on the right side of the creek as it crossed a steeper slope. As I climbed up the creek, I became impressed with the scenery. A rain shower came and I sought refuge under a tree. After it passed, the creek became enveloped with mist, giving the appearance of a rainforest. The moss and ferns were beautifully green.

IMG_20181011_181746_623

I soon reached an area with large, mossy boulders along the creek. The scenery improved as giant boulders loomed over the creek and cascades. It felt like a primeval world. Some of Ahead was a grove of giant hemlocks and a campsite. The campsite was surrounded with large cascades and slides, and more large boulders. The trail became more faint as I climbed.

IMG_20181011_194724_355

I then reached a place where the trail, or what was left of it, had to cross the creek. I entered a glen of thicker hemlock and more cascades over an assortment of large sandstone boulders. Misty haze threaded through the forest as the sound of the rapids filled the gorge. I then retraced my steps. I hope to explore more of White Oak Draft in the future.

IMG_20181011_180908_564

If you’re looking for a different hike with beautiful scenery, check out White Oak Draft.

This hike is about .75 mile, one way.

Pull off parking is located at 41.282399, -78.135530.

More photos.

IMG_20181011_180646_338

20181007_163310

IMG_0100.PNG

Orange is the route.  It is on a faint, unblazed trail.

Advertisements

Red Run Gorge Vista-Quehanna Wild Area

31769948338_aa87478575_z.jpg

Red Run Gorge Vista, Quehanna Wild Area

Quehanna Wild Area has some spectacular off trail vistas from cliffs, ledges, and meadows. While some of these vistas are difficult to reach, the view over Red Run Gorge is fairly easy.

20181007_132815

I began at the parking area for the Beaver Run Shallow Water Impoundment and followed the yellow Lincoln Loop counterclockwise, or to the right. It followed an old grade, passed a meadow, and slightly descended to and crossed the Quehanna Highway. The trail re-entered the woods, crossed a small meadow, and reached a fine view over Paige Run from a cliff.

20181007_130634

Here I left the Lincoln Loop or Trail and hiked off trail to the right or east, following the top edge of the plateau. The woods were mostly open, but became a little brushy from striped maple. I crossed a small stream and climbed across some small meadows. Some ledges were below, but there were no views. Rhododendrons clung to the side of the mountain.

20181007_133932

I continued my climb and soon reached the view, it was impressive. One part of the view looked up Paige Run, the other part looked straight down the gorge of Red Run. There were no signs of development. Fall colors were just beginning, but the forests were otherwise green. I sat at the view for a while, surprised that it is virtually unknown. Quehanna has so many secrets.

20181007_134303

South of the vista is a beautiful open forests with giant hardwoods, tulip poplars, and carpets of deep green ground pine. I retraced my steps back to my car.

More photos.

The hike is about .75 mile, one way.

Parking are is located at: 41.261314, -78.258114

Vista is located at: 41.268897, -78.244951

IMG_0099.PNG

Table Falls-Quehanna Wild Area

45640615141_15471a63d5_z.jpg

Table Falls, Quehanna Wild Area

Table Falls is a unique feature in the Quehanna Wild Area. Located just off of Red Run Road, Paige Run falls over a level boulder, creating the impression of water flowing off of a table. When there is enough water, there is a perfect veil of water cascading off the sides of the boulder, creating a unique visual spectacle. The fall isn’t tall, no more than seven feet, but that does not detract from its beauty. No, a Chair Falls is not nearby!

20181006_161944

There are cascades above the falls and large boulders. Rhododendrons adorn the creek.  There is now a parking area for the falls, and a short yellow blazed trail that leads to the base of it.

20181006_161902

If you’d like to see more cascades, hike off trail up Paige Run. There are a variety of mossy cascades, massive boulders, large hemlocks, and rhododendron jungles. It is a beautiful stream.

20181006_161837

Table Falls is another of the Quehanna Wild Area’s scenic places. The wild area has incredible diversity and beauty, and is one of Pennsylvania’s best kept secrets.

The parking area is located at about 41.270683, -78.247523.

More photos.

IMG_0098.PNG

Exploring Little Fork Draft-Quehanna Wild Area

44724820325_7a650617f0_z.jpg

View over Little Fork Draft and Mix Run, Quehanna Wild Area, Elk State Forest

The Quehanna Wild Area is one of my favorite places, with its diverse scenery and habitats, isolation, wild elk, and numerous hiking trails. I recently spent a weekend camping in the wild area with Michael, Rick, Jodi, and her family. We base-camped along the Red Run Trail in a beautiful pine grove next to a cool spring. The wild area is not known for its vistas or waterfalls, but I suspected they were there, waiting to be discovered. So, we decided to find out. Our first hike was to explore the gorge of Little Fork Draft. This hike was completely off trail and is located in the Elk State Forest.

20181006_154815

This gorge is located in the northern end of the wild area. We parked along Red Run Road where it crosses Little Fork Draft. While it may be tempting to hike up an old grade or forest road on the east side of the creek, it is best to head west on the road a little ways until you reach a grade blocked by rocks on the left. This grade climbs gradually and then enters an old meadow with apple trees, indicating it was once a homestead. Here, the grade faded away. We could see the tops of the mountains from the meadow.

20181006_111503

From here, we hiked up along Little Fork Draft. We passed a small tributary on the left, which marked our return route. The draft was very beautiful with cascades and deep pools framed by mossy boulders. Tall trees rose above us, including many sizeable tulip poplar trees. We then crossed the creek below some large cascades over more giant boulders. The scenery was superb. Here, we took a break.

20181006_120852

We made our way up the gorge, wading through nettle which was mostly withered from the end of summer. At the head of the gorge, where the two forks of Little Fork Draft meet, we took the left or east fork.

20181006_121516

Here, the terrain became steeper. The creek bounced down large boulders. We soon entered a stunning glen of giant boulders creating an assortment of cascades and waterfalls. The tallest was about twenty feet. We even saw Cave Falls, a 12 foot falls the tumbles into a cave formed by boulders. Incredible.

20181006_121259

We climbed our way up the glen, each of us impressed by the beauty. Cascading water surrounded us as the creek took a variety of routes between the giant boulders. House sized boulders loomed deep in the woods, often clothed in moss and ferns.

20181006_122405

Above the glen of waterfalls was a grove of old growth trees with large maples, birches, and hemlocks. Our climb up the creek continued. The gradient eased and smaller cascades adorned the creek. We reached more large boulders and cascades and climbed out of the gorge to the top of the plateau. We headed north along the rim of the plateau. There was a marked difference between the wet hemlock and moss forest along the creek and the drier laurel and oak forest on the plateau.

20181006_123307

We made our way through the mountain laurel, which was moderately thick. We tried to follow game and deer paths. As we proceeded north, the laurel became less thick. Our descent was marked by a nearby pipeline swath. We descended the ridge, passing large boulders including three that were stacked on each other. We descended the ridge, reaching a superb view up Little Fork Draft and its 1,000 foot deep gorge. Tiers of ridges descended into the gorge.

20181006_144248

The descent continued and was a bit steep. We reached a second view, and the most impressive. It was a 180 degree view looking up Mix Run and a vast panorama of plateaus, gorges, and glens. Each of us were impressed. Quehanna is such a beautiful place.

20181006_145751

Our off trail descent continued, and at times it was very steep. We switchbacked down to the tributary mentioned earlier, crossed Little Fork Draft, reached the meadow, and retraced our steps.

20181006_144213

Little Fork Draft is a place of stunning, wild beauty. It illustrates the hidden wonders that lie within the vast Quehanna Wild Area. This is one the best hikes I’ve done, and will surely return.

20181006_151142

More photos.

******************************
Length: 6 mile loop

Difficulty: Very difficult. There are stream crossings and very steep terrain. Stinging nettle will be an issue in summer. This is an off trail hike with no blazes or signs.

Highlights: Excellent vistas, old growth trees, large boulders, cascades, waterfalls, isolation.

Parking: pull off parking at about 41.313528, -78.213757.

IMG_0097.PNG

Sandy Bottom Vista-SGL 134

30533039587_5fd490738a_z.jpg

Sand Bottom Vista in SGL 134.  Looking into the Loyalsock State Forest.

Pennsylvania has many vistas from isolated cliffs and meadows.  However, for some reason, trails rarely seem to go to them.  One such vista is in SGL 134 as it looks over Sandy Bottom in the Loyalsock State Forest.  We call it the Sandy Bottom Vista.

20180929_161408

I drove up the game commission road from Hoppestown Road and parked at the lot.  Ben was there and we continued down the gated road to the left and entered the woods.  This is an off trail hike.  The hemlocks forests were beautiful and made the hike fairly easy.  We continued along the contour of the plateau above an unnamed stream, heading south.  We descended to some large ledges and soon reached the view.

20180929_162653

The view was truly breathtaking, rising 700 feet above the Loyalsock Creek.  The vista is at the top of a towering cliff and offers a near 180 degree view.  We could see the bend of the creek below and the tiers of ridges and plateaus.  Hawks soared below us.

20180929_164353

Nearby is a unique pedestal rock with its own superb view.  You do have to jump a couple feet to get to the rock.  If you are afraid of heights, do not go onto it.

20180929_164235

The setting behind the view was beautiful with cliffs and ledges.  Hemlocks grew over carpets of moss.  It felt like an island in the sky.  There was one more view along the escarpment of cliffs.

20180929_164358

From the view we descended to the unnamed creek to the east.  I would not recommend doing this as it is steep.  The creek is beautiful with an assortment of cascades and an old grade on the west side does provide access.  The east branch of this creek does feature many large cascades and a 15 foot falls.  There are also some large trees.  The east branch has the old grade, unique old stone retaining walls, and a spring cascade that pours out the ground.  If you want to explore the creek, I suggest taking the grade down from the top.  Keep in mind the grade fades out before meeting the road to Huckle Run.

20180929_163356

The hike to the vista is about .75 miles, one way.  It is off trail.  The best approach is to the follow the rim of the plateau above the unnamed creek to the east, descend gradually, and curve right below some ledges to the vistas.

Park at 41.420963, -76.751659.  Vista is at 41.409875, -76.749178.

More photos.

IMG_0096.PNG

Red is the off trail route to the vista.  Green is the old grade above the unnamed creek.

Hiking to Deep Hollow Falls and Split Rock-SGL 36

43086484960_a537f85917_z.jpg

Deep Hollow Falls

SGL 36 is located south of Monroeton and features a surprising array of natural beauty. There are cliffs, excellent views, waterfalls, gorges, and rock mazes. Off of Deep Hollow Road, there is an unblazed, unsigned trail that goes up to a unique rock maze called Split Rock with a view and impressive chasms and mazes.

20180908_102932

We parked at a pull off along Deep Hollow Road located at the game lands boundary and sign. The trail begins across the road. Next to the trail is a small creek. First, we hiked up along the creek. There really isn’t a trail, so follow the creek as best you can. We came to some small cascades, a 12 foot falls, and then a glen with an impressive 40 foot falls, Deep Hollow Falls. Cliffs and ledges towered around us. The falls is an impressive sight, but it does often dry up in summer. There are more waterfalls above Deep Hollow Falls, but they are not nearly as tall.

20180908_113730

We made our way back to the trail and climbed up to the plateau through thick laurel and some wet areas. The creek announced its presence below us. The trail curved left and continued its gradual climb. We then reached a T intersection, where we turned left. The trail was a little less established, but still easy to follow as it crossed the top of the plateau with oaks and rock outcrops. At some cairns and rocks arranged to read “Love You”, the trail went left to the edge of the plateau to a fine view over Deep Hollow and the plateaus. Below were cliffs and deep chasms.

20180908_115157

To see the chasms, we hiked off trail, heading west along the top of the rocks. We made sure to avoid the deep cracks and chasms in the white bedrock. We reached an area where the rocks had separated further in a variety of tilted, upright rectangles. Here, we descended to the bottom to explore the various chasms, mazes, and passageways. The scenery was unique and beautiful. Split Rock is comprised of white conglomerate.

20180908_115535

I explored the base of the rocks with its overhangs and small caves. There were tight passes and veils of moss. We made our way to the top and bushwhacked back to the trail and returned to the car.

20180908_122526

This is a great hike of moderate difficulty and is about 3 miles, round trip. Be very careful exploring the rocks and deep chasms. The conglomerate gets slick when it is wet.

The parking pull off is located at approximately 41.647178, -76.520248.

20180908_122418

More photos.

IMG_0093.PNG

Thanks to Ben Van Riper for his assistance with this map.

Hiking the Wonders of Huckle Run and Camp Mountain-SGL 134

44799452472_0b54b96f7e_z.jpg

Gahonga Falls on Huckle Run, SGL 134

Pennsylvania is unique for all its hidden gems, places that few know exist. One such place is Huckle Run in SGL 134, near Hillsgrove. Huckle Run carves a gorge of incredible beauty through the plateau, creating six waterfalls, grottos, pools, and old growth trees. There are countless cascades and the water is incredibly clear. Huckle Run is like a smaller version of the popular Rock Run near Ralston in the way it has sculpted the bedrock.

IMG_20180901_221004_861

Please note that while most of this hike is on SGL 134, three falls are on private land, which was not posted on our hike.  One falls is along the border with the game lands. I believe this was land that once belonged to Camp Lycogis, a girls scout camp that is now closed. If the land becomes posted, please do not trespass. There is also an old grey blazed trail system. The blazes are faded, the trails are largely overgrown, but they can be followed with some effort. The GPS indicated this hike was 13 miles, which seemed too long, but it is a rather circuitous route.

IMG_20180905_170803_408

We began at the parking area and took the gated road to the left, which curved left passing meadows and hemlock forests. A small creek soon joined this gated forest road and descended into the gorge. Where the gated road veered left, or north, we turn right into the woods at a cairn and descended. This part of the hike was off trail. It was easy to traverse the forest due to the hemlocks.

IMG_20180901_221733_301

We soon came Huckle Run and a five foot falls. Upstream was a ten foot falls and an impressive gorge with cliffs. The beauty was outstanding. We then climbed the north rim of the glen, where there was a grey blazed trail. We looked down into the stunning gorge. A 15-20 foot falls came into view, the tallest on the creek. It tumbled into an inaccessible gorge. Oddly, we entered this gorge by descending the falls itself as the bedrock offered good traction. We explored this gorge with its pools and cliffs.

IMG_20180902_152327_261

We climbed back up the falls and continued upstream to a unique falls set in a narrow chasm with a deep, translucent pool. We then followed the grey trail south through scenic forests. We reached a four-way intersection that was a little confusing, but we soon found a trail heading south that followed along the top of ledges. We descended to the Loyalsock Creek at a bedrock ledge and a deep pool. The trail then climbed to the Lower Vista, which offers a good view from a cliff across the valley. While nice, it is not a must-see on this hike.

IMG_20180905_203213_607

The trail then stayed level across the contour of the mountain, featuring more hemlock. We reached a Y intersection and followed left as the climb steepened through some brushy areas. It leveled and reached an intersection; be sure to turn left to see the High Vista, which is a must see on this hike. This trail was more overgrown as it ascended through scenic forests and veered right along the rim of the plateau, passing the top of a possible seasonal falls in high water. The trail dropped to the edge of the plateau at a dramatic cliff and a superb view of the narrow, rugged Loyalsock Creek Valley. Smiths Knob looms in the distance. The view is about 700 vertical feet above the creek. This is a real cliff, so be careful at the edge. A fall would be fatal.

IMG_20180903_143223_714

We retraced out steps and continued on the hike as it dropped down the Huckle Run with more hemlocks. The trail turned right above the run, following an old grade down to the last falls we saw. Another trail, following an old grade, turned sharply upstream. However, we just hiked up the creek, passing stunning bedrock pools and slides over layered sandstone. We reached a twelve foot falls and continued hiking along the creek, even though the grey trail was just above us.

IMG_20180903_090121_960

We entered an incredible gorge with ledges and giant boulders clothed in moss and ferns as the creek tumbled over beautiful tiers of bedrock. I found this spot to be uniquely beautiful.

IMG_20180903_111022_642

Fallen trees in the creek slowed our hike. There was some flood damage with small landslides and washouts. We turned a corner and reached the final falls, which I call Gahonga Falls. This is the most beautiful falls on Huckle Run at its is so graceful and has carved into the bedrock with oblong pools and mossy ledges. We saw trout at this falls, which is named after invisible nature spirits in Iroquoian mythology that lived in caves along streams and would test their strength against each other. A fitting name since there is a small cave at the top of this falls.

IMG_20180903_095754_975

Our hike continued up the creek. We noticed a grade ascending to our right/north. We took it and returned us to the original gated road we hiked in along. This juncture makes this hike easier, and is marked by a cairn. A washout is also nearby. From there, we retraced our steps.

IMG_20180903_115535_540

Huckle Run is a place of stunning beauty. Please treat it with respect. Even if the private land becomes posted, this is still an excellent hike with three falls you can see (including Gahonga Falls), hemlock forests, gorges, big trees, ledges, and the High Vista all located on the game lands.

IMG_20180903_123432_392

Keep exploring the beauty of Pennsylvania.

The parking area is at 41.420913, -76.751686.

More photos.

IMG_20180904_122531_525

IMG_0092A.PNG

Thanks to Ben Van Riper for his help with this map.  Routes and trails on private land not shown.