Bar Bottom Hollow Waterfalls-Loyalsock State Forest

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Bar Bottom Falls, Loyalsock State Forest

Bar Bottom Hollow is one of the Loyalsock State Forest’s hidden gems, a deep gorge filled with beautiful waterfalls.  The hollow is located just to the east of Jacoby Falls, although the two are not connected by a trail.  I first hiked to the hollow a few years ago and this old post will help you navigate.

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I parked at Dad Dad Chapman Road and simply walked the road to a spruce forest and logged area, where I took an obvious grade to the right for a mile.  This grade descended and right before reaching some pine trees and laurel, I turned right for a quick off trail hike. I soon intercepted an old grade (red on the map below, all trails and grades are unblazed) and crossed the creek.  This red route is the most scenic entrance into the hollow; I did not follow it on my prior trip to the hollow, which is linked to the old post above.

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The red grade followed the creek downstream and soon passed a multi-tiered fifteen foot falls over mossy ledges.  I was able to go behind the falls, under the ledges.

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The grade continued, staying above the gorge.  I could hear a second falls deep in the gorge, but it was out of sight.  It is a 10-12 foot falls in a grotto with many tumbling springs, a beautiful sight.  The grade climbed through some laurel, descended to a sidestream, crossed it, and then descended along the small sidestream into a glen with small cascades.  It soon returned to the creek with more rapids and cascades.

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The glen continued downstream passing large mossy boulders and hemlocks.  It crossed the creek and continued with views of rapids, slides, and hemlocks.  I enjoyed a 12 foot slide falls and just downstream was Bar Bottom Falls, a stunning 20-25 foot falls in a grotto, with a second falls joining from a side stream.  The orange grade on the map joins the red grade near this falls.

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The beauty of this gorge with its waterfalls and mossy ledges is hard to describe.  Bar Bottom Falls is just so beautiful.

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There are more waterfalls downstream and the grade provides easy access.  However, due to rain and fading daylight, I did not venture any further than Bar Bottom Falls.

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Be sure to spend some time exploring Bar Bottom Hollow, it is a place you will not soon forget.

More photos.

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The red grade on the map is the most scenic.  Unfortunately, at its northern end it fades into laurel right before the orange grade, but this laurel is easy to bypass.

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Painter Hollow Falls-Loyalsock State Forest

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Painter Hollow Falls, Loyalsock State Forest

This is a hike to one of the state forest’s least known waterfalls. It is also odd in that the falls is fairly close to a road, but access is blocked by private property, so a 4 mile hike (one way) is required. This entire hike follows forest roads or old grades. None of the trails have signs or blazes, except for some old red faded blazes.

 

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I parking my car along Hoagland Branch Road; ahead it was closed due to severe flood damage. I first walked a little along Hoagland Branch, which was devastated by floods in 2016.  It was still a beautiful stream with its bedrock rapids and deep, clear pools.  I began my hike up the gated Middle Hill Rd. The old road gradually climbed up the mountain, passing small seasonal streams and a few hemlocks. After two miles, I encountered a deer fence at a “Y” in the trail. I turned left and went through a gate in the fence.

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The trail now featured some deep hemlock forests and rock outcrops; I was now hiking within the fence. I reached another “Y”, passed outside the fence, and turned left. The trail descended slightly and soon reached a small open area that was overgrown. Here, I followed an obscure grade to the right, blocked by a fallen tree.

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The grade was easy to follow, although there was some brush and fallen trees. I avoided any grades to the left. The grade crossed a stream and continued downhill, entering the gorge of Painter Hollow. The grade steepened and the creek soon came into view with a red rock gorge and a ten foot falls. The grade crossed the creek with red bedrock cascades and slides. Just below was Painter Hollow Falls.

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I scrambled down to see a beautiful 30 foot falls over red bedrock into a deep pool. Icicles draped the ledges and springs dripped. Downstream was a large boulder and more red bedrock slides. The creek then entered private land and some more falls, which appeared to be lower than Painter Hollow Falls. This creek is small and is likely dry in summer or dry weather.

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I then retraced my steps back to my car.

More photos.

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Stony Run Hike-Loyalsock State Forest

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Rock shelters above Stony Run.

The Stony Run Trail is one of the Loyalsock State Forest’s little known trails. It is also one I’ve always enjoyed hiking. I returned recently to hike part of the trail and to do some off trail exploration in the Stony Run Gorge.

 

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I parked at the Hillsgrove maintenance/ranger station and followed the red blazed Old House Trail, which began a short distance down the road near the cabin. I crossed Dry Run, getting wet feet along the way. Dry Run does not have a bridge, so do not attempt to cross in high water. The Old House Trail, which is also a part of the bridle trail system, curved up into a scenic pine forest, and then I turned right onto the yellow Stony Run Trail.

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This trail crossed a rocky talus slope and then dropped into Stony Run, crossing the tumbling run without a bridge. The trail is faint in places and the blazes are faded, but the trail can be followed. The trail then followed a grade and went up the side of the gorge, above the creek. But I had a different way in mind.

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I decided to hike off trail and just go up Stony Run itself. I soon entered a gorge with non-stop cascades and pools, but no sizeable falls. The gorge narrowed as I climbed and I soon saw some bedrock cascades as cliffs rose above me. I reached a hemlock forest with more beautiful cascades and passed a nice campsite, where I rejoined the Stony Run Trail.

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The trail entered thick laurel, but there was a clear passage. This would be a great hike in June to see the laurel bloom. The trail became wet as I crossed Stony Run, and also more overgrown, but I was able to stay on the trail. The trail continued, left the laurel, and entered an open hardwood forest. However, I left the trail again, following a bushwhack along a cliff line.

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There are cliffs on the north rim of Stony Run Gorge. At first, the laurel was very thick, but became more open as I reached the cliffs. There were beautiful overhangs, a cave, and boulders. I found a way to the top of the cliffs, battling laurel, where there was a more open cliff line and nice hiking along a well established bear path. I also enjoyed three nice views across the gorge, but the views were not expansive. I continued west along the cliffs, but the trees blocked any further views. I dropped down a little into a drainage and explored some more outcrops. I then entered a beautiful, open hardwood forest with large, towering trees. I made a note to return in the summer.

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I dropped down to the red Old House Trail and followed the grade back to my car. On my drive out, I saw Andrea Falls and the rebuilt CCC era Dry Run picnic pavilions with its heavy timber beams, a beautiful spot for a get together.

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If you don’t want to bushwhack, just hike the Old House and Stony Run Trails Loop, it is a great hike with isolation, cascades, hemlocks, laurel, rock outcrops, and a nice campsite. The whole loop is almost five miles.  This loop is described in Hike No. 46 in Hiking the Endless Mountains.

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More photos.

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Cape Run Gorge and Waterfalls-Loyalsock State Forest

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Tallest falls on Cape Run, Loyalsock State Forest

The Loyalsock State Forest is known for its many beautiful streams and gorges. Hikers have long known of one of the forest’s crown jewels, Ketchum Run, and have even begun to explore Scar Run and its waterfalls, just to the east of Ketchum. However, there is a third stream worthy of checking out-Cape Run.

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Cape Run is to the west of Ketchum and the Loyalsock Trail explores the upper drainage of the run. Few hikers have ever explored it. I recently hiked all of Cape Run on state forest land, and it is a very beautiful place. A true hidden gem.

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I parked off of High Knob Road and walked a gated forest road back to the Loyalsock Trail, on which I turned left. The trail descended, crossed the east branch of Cape Run, and then continued to the west branch of Cape Run. Here there is a fifteen foot falls. I left the Loyalsock Trail and went off trail down the west branch of Cape Run.

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To my surprise I found an old grade that was in decent shape and made hiking the creek fairly easy, although there are some stream crossings without bridges. I was soon treated to cascades, pools, and boulders in the narrowing gorge. I then reached a 12 foot falls over a broad, mossy ledge that I called Notch Falls as the creek flowed through a notch in the ledge. Cascades and mossy grottos continued until I reached the point where the east and west branches of Cape Run met.

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This was a gorgeous spot as I looked up both glens and its cascades. I continued downstream on the grade, enjoying an incredible mossy forest. Moss covered the rocks and coated the trees, giving it a Pacific Northwest vibe. I’d love to see this forest on a misty summer day, the greenery must be incredible.

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I saw a 20 foot falls over two drops followed by a long slide. More slides continued with bedrock pools. Cape Run then entered a beautiful mini-glen with a broad seven foot falls into a beautiful pool. Another broad four foot falls was downstream. This section was very scenic. I reached the state forest boundary and turned around.

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I returned to where the two branches of Cape Run met and hiked up the east branch. This gorge was narrower and steeper and featured several smaller falls and one steep bedrock slide. Ledges loomed above to the right as club moss provided a deep green carpet. I left the creek and climbed up to the Loyalsock Trail and retraced my steps to my car.  Total length of the hike was about 3-4 miles.

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Cape Run is a truly beautiful place, a hidden realm in the Loyalsock State Forest.

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More photos.

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Dry Run Gorge Vista and Titanic Rock-Loyalsock State Forest

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Dry Run Gorge Vista, Loyalsock State Forest

I recently went out to explore the north rim of the Dry Run Gorge. It proved to be a beautiful hike. I parked at the Hillsgrove ranger/maintenance station and hiked up the red blazed High Knob Trail, which follows a gated, grassy forest road up the mountain. After hiking for almost a mile, I turned left and went off trail, hiking up to the ridge.

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I soon encountered large cliffs, overhangs, and ledges. I continued west, traversing the rugged terrain and angled boulders. I stayed at the base of these cliffs. I soon reached a remarkable spot of several gigantic boulders. One was 75 feet long, angled slightly downhill, and the end looked like a bow of a ship hitting another huge boulder, so I called it Titanic Rock. Other house-sized boulders were nearby, looming through the forest. The cliffs only added to the fine scenery. This looked like a good spot for rock climbing or bouldering.

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As I proceeded west, the boulders and ledges decreased in size. I then reached an open hardwood forest with some large trees and a small, spring fed stream. The laurel loomed ahead.

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Mountain laurel loves to grow along cliffs and its tangled jungles makes hiking tedious. I found some herd paths that allowed somewhat easy travel through openings in the laurel. I returned to the cliffs where I was now on top.

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I followed a bear path, which are common along the tops of cliffs in the Loyalsock. I still had to deal with the laurel, but it was a little easier hiking. The large white pine trees made the forest scenic and aromatic. I then reached the top of cliffs with fine views across Dry Run Gorge and into Ogdonia Run, looking over tiers of ridges and canyons. The distant canyon of Ogdonia Run had made side glens, creating tiers of descending ridges. It was a remarkable view with virtually no sign of development. Most surprising was how loud and clearly I could hear Dry Run flowing, despite being almost 1,000 feet above it. It was like I was sitting right next to the rushing stream.

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I continued along the ridge to the west and then to the north. There were more ledges and cliffs, but no more open views. I then made my way back to my car.

If you like vistas and huge rocks, this is the hike for you.

More photos.

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For the map above, the black route is the off trail route.

Jackson Trail Waterfalls-Loyalsock State Forest

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The second falls below the Jackson Trail, Loyalsock State Forest

Below the steep Jackson Trail in the Loyalsock State Forest is a deep, rugged gorge.  Within this gorge are three beautiful waterfalls.  I parked along PA 87 and made my way up the gorge and I was soon treated to a beautiful 15-20 foot falls over a broad ledge.  It almost appeared as if one could go behind this falls.

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I continued up the gorge.  It was very difficult climbing around the waterfalls, so I would climb to the Jackson Trail, get above the falls, and then descend back into the gorge.

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The gorge is very steep with loose rock, which it made it difficult to hike.  The second falls was probably my favorite as it was a graceful spout in a hidden grotto.  It was about 15 feet tall.

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I continued up the gorge and reached the third and final falls, about 20 feet tall in two drops, it appeared from a mini-chasm.

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I scrambled to the Jackson Trail and hiked back down.  Even though this trail was steep, it was far more forgiving then the hike up the gorge.

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This unnamed stream is not in view of the Jackson Trail, although you can clearly hear the waterfalls from the trail when the stream is running.  You must go off trail to see the falls, which are close to the trail, but well below it.  This stream is also seasonal.  The bottom falls is the most accessible and is a short walk from where the Jackson Trail ends at PA 87.

Another of the Loyalsock State Forest’s hidden gems.

More photos.

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Hike to Alpine Falls-Loyalsock State Forest

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Frozen Alpine Falls, Loyalsock State Forest

Alpine Falls is a beautiful spot in the Loyalsock State Forest, along the Loyalsock Trail. Alpine Falls is about 25 feet tall and is located in a scenic glen. There are campsites downstream from the falls, including another waterfall. Alpine Falls also makes for a great hike from Worlds End State Park and is notable for its beautiful hemlock forests. Thanks to a variety of trails, it is possible to do this hike as a dayhiking loop or as a quick overnight backpack.  The loop is about 8 miles in length.

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We began at Worlds End by hiking the orange blazed Butternut Trail as it climbed behind the cabin area along an old grade. Turn right onto the Butternut Trail loop as it enters a glen of Butternut Run with some waterfalls. Climb along switchbacks over rocky terrain and below a ledge to a nice view looking down the Loyalsock Creek into the park. The Butternut Trail continues and soon meets a yellow blazed trail leading to Loyalsock Road, on the right (if you cross the creek again, you went too far). The yellow trail climbs to the top of the plateau and then levels before reaching Loyalsock Road; turn right onto the road.

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Walk the road for about a mile until you see the Loyalsock Trail (LT); follow it to the right. The LT enters beautiful hemlock forests along a wetland and then crosses a stream. A deep gorge forms below the trail with rapids and a few campsites. The LT stays on a grade. The trail climbs under a scenic hemlock and pine forest and then descends steeply to another grade. Enter another gorge with a campsite; off trail and downstream is another falls near the state forest boundary. A short distance further a side trail is on the right and leads to the base of Alpine Falls.

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The falls drop down a series of ledges into a pool along a large cliff. It is a beautiful, isolated spot and a great place to spend the night. When we were there, the falls were frozen over and the bright sunlight made it tough to take a good picture of it.

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Now, retrace your steps on the LT back to Loyalsock Road. You can either retrace your steps back to the Butternut Trail, or hike a loop by continuing on the LT. The LT traverses hilly terrain with gorgeous hemlock forests and wet areas along an old grade. The beautiful forests have some ledges and extensive areas of ground pine. It’s a wonderful place to hike.

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Cross Loyalsock Road a final time and turn left to descend along High Rock Run. This run has many cascades and waterfalls. Pass a yellow trail to the left (which leads to the Butternut Trail) and a campsite below the LT. The LT stays on a grade above High Rock Run’s deep gorge. The trail enters hemlocks, winds in between ledges, and descends to High Rock Vista with its great view of Worlds End. Continue on the LT as it traverses as rocky area and makes a rugged, rocky descent to High Rock Run. Below is High Rock Falls, although it is hard to get a good view of it. The LT descends into the state park and the hike ends at the cabin road, where your hike on the Butternut Trail began.

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More photos.

Blue dots are waterfalls:

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