One of the finest dayhikes is along the Cold Run and Canyon Vista Trails at Worlds End State Park. This loop is about 5.5 miles long and features superb scenery and diversity. Along this sublime route you will find waterfalls, vistas, chasms, a boulder arch, giant rocks, and streamside hiking along the pristine Loyalsock Creek. This is simply a loop you need to hike.
You can thank Warren Renninger for this amazing hike. He planned and built the Cold Run Trail, and he extensively rebuilt and re-routed the Canyon Vista Trail to avoid wet areas and improve the scenery. He volunteered countless hours to make these trails a reality, and they are an absolute pleasure to hike. These trails are beautifully benched as they explore ledges, cascades, and waterfalls. Volunteers make trails happen in PA. It is imperative that every hiker volunteer at least a few hours every year maintaining and building trails.
From the Canyon Vista Trail parking area along PA 154, follow the blue trail to a sign and the start of the loop. Turn left, you will be completing this hike to the right. The trail crosses PA 154 and begins a steady climb up the mountain along an old, narrow grade with ferns and hardwoods. You will soon reach a juncture on the yellow Cold Run Trail, turn left onto this trail, which is a 1.5 mile trail that will reconnect to the blue Canyon Vista Trail further up the mountain.
The Cold Run Trail is a gorgeous trail. Climb gradually to a nice view from a meadow looking up the Loyalsock Creek. Drop down to Cold Run and enjoy its various waterfalls and cascades. If there is plenty of water, Cold Run is impressive. Cross the creek along some cascades and reach the other branch of Cold Run. Climb to the top of the plateau with hemlocks and streams, including views of the top of another falls. The trail continues to Cold Run with some streamside hiking and small cascades. Follow an old forest road and then climb up to an impressive section of giant boulders, cliffs, chasms and a boulder arch. Reach the top of the plateau and then drop down to more giant boulders, draped with moss. Reach the blue Canyon Vista Trail, on which you will turn left.
Enjoy more giant rocks and chasms. The rocks recede and hike through a hardwood forest. Reach a drainage where Warren has rebuilt the trail to showcase some seasonal cascades. Cross the Loyalsock Trail and climb to a meadow area. Cross a gravel road and continue on the blue Canyon Vista Trail. Hike along some more ledges and boulders. The trail crosses the gravel road again and reaches famous Canyon Vista. Enjoy the beautiful view.
The Canyon Vista Trail descends gradually along sidehill and levels off, where it turns right. This section used to be notoriously wet and boggy. Warren, however, rebuilt the trail closer to the edge of the plateau, featuring a small view, ledges, a small cascade, and drier footpath. It was a beautiful walk. Reach a small rock maze and then Warren’s Window, a fine view of the state park. The trail is level for a bit, but then descends to the campground area. Pass through the entrance of the campground and cross PA 154.
I love this last section, which features streamside hiking along the beautiful Loyalsock Creek with its rapids, cliffs, and scenery. In low water during the summer, this is an ideal place for a swim. In high water, enjoy the rapids and you may even see whitewater kayakers paddle by. While PA 154 is close, the hemlocks and streamside hiking make this a very enjoyable hike. Reach the end of the loop and return to your car. I love Worlds End State Park.
One of the highlights of this hike are its many waterfalls and cascades, but they are located along small streams. For the best waterfall display, the Loyalsock Creek gauge should be 2.5 feet or higher, as a rough correlation.
We parked at about 41.469020, -76.563345.