Waterfalls of Hemlock Run-SGL 13


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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Exploring the Mountain Between Heberly Run and Sullivan Branch-SGL 13

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View high above Sullivan Branch, SGL 13

In the late Fall I explored a plateau of SGL 13 between Sullivan Branch and Heberly Run. This plateau appeared to have cliffs, views, hemlock forests, and possibly waterfalls. It would be a tough, off trail hike, but I was up for the challenge to explore an area few have seen.


I parked at Sullivan Falls, but I spent little time at this popular landmark. Instead, I hiked down Sullivan Branch to where a small sidestream joined from the right. I crossed the icy creek and hiked up the sidestream. I was immediately presented with ledges, cool rock formations, and cascades over mossy ledges.


I pushed uphill along this small, unnamed stream. The terrain was very steep as I ascended the glen. Soon, a 60 foot falls came into view, still flowing despite the dry weather; I called it Cliff Spring Falls. It was a beautiful falls surrounded by cliffs with springs dripping to the left. I had to get above the falls and a tough scramble over ledges followed as I clung to the steep slopes with by arms and legs. Above the falls was another 10 foot falls. Further up, the creek flowed under the rocks. I entered an area with ledges, boulders, and some large hemlocks. I then turned north to see some cliffs and a possible vista.


I hiked along the top of cliffs with a well-worn bear trail. Hemlocks grew overhead. I soon reached a couple of scenic views looking into Ricketts Glen and down Sullivan Branch. There was complete isolation and wilderness as tiers of bedrock surrounded me under ancient hemlocks. I retraced my steps back to the small stream.


I then headed south along the plateau escarpment with more ledges, boulders, and old growth hemlock. I also explored a few chasms. I reached the point of the plateau, and headed north along the escarpment with more old growth hemlocks. I dropped into a drainage and followed a line of cliffs with cascading seep springs, it was impressive. Springs just poured out of the ground above the cliffs, creating a dripping sound throughout the forest. I continued along the cliffs to the west where I reached a fine view looking down Heberly Run. All I heard was a breeze through the forest.


I retraced my steps back to the cliff springs and followed the drainage down. A creek soon appeared with some falls and cascades about 10 feet high. This unnamed creek joins Heberly Run just above Twin Falls. I didn’t go to Heberly Run, instead I followed a well established old grade on the east slope above Heberly. It was a great hike through large hardwoods. I hiked above a landslide and near some rock outcrops. I then descended to Sullivan Branch into an area with pine and barberry.


I crossed Sullivan Branch on some fallen logs and hiked up to the road, which I followed back to my car at Sullivan Falls.


It was great to explore this wild, untamed place. My aching legs thanked me the following day.

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Waterfalls of Sullivan Branch-SGL 13


One of many waterfalls on Sullivan Branch, SGL 13.

Sullivan Branch in SGL 13 is a stream known for its incredible beauty, carving a deep gorge with waterfalls, cascades, and deep pools.  This area is commonly known as the Waterfall Wonderland.  I returned to scout a route for the proposed Endless Mountains Trail; I wanted a route that would offer views of the waterfalls, but avoid the creek itself since such a route would infeasible due to the terrain and floods.


I parked at Sullivan Falls and enjoyed the view of this impressive falls as it tumbles into a large amphitheater of the rock and a deep pool.  I then followed the current trail on an old grade up Sullivan Branch.  While this is a nice trail, it avoids the waterfalls on Sullivan Branch.  I stopped at Pigeon Run and enjoyed its many waterfalls.  I continued up the old grade, passing an unnamed creek with its own grotto and waterfalls.  I soon reached Ore Run (there’s another falls up that creek as well) and took a break as Sullivan Branch tumbled over boulders and ledges.


I then hiked along the east bank above Sullivan Branch as the waterfalls soon appeared, as well as a long mini-gorge and slide.  I re-crossed the previous unnamed stream and found a great route for a trail on reasonable terrain.  The waterfalls continued, including one nearly 50 feet tall.  The scenery was impressive as I looked down the gorge to the crashing water below.  Such a beautiful place.


I’d seen these falls before and it was great to see them from a different perspective.  I reached Pigeon Run and its own glen of waterfalls.  I then returned to the pervious grade I had hiked in on and returned to my car.


As I walked to my car, I noticed a ridge on my left (east) that had some impressive rock outcrops.  Naturally, I had to check it out.  It was a tough climb under dying hemlocks, but I reached the top and explored unique ledges and giant angled, slanted boulders.  A very cool place.


I made the steep descent, being careful not to break my ankles, and returned to my car.

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Hiking Hunts and Pigeon Runs-Waterfall Wonderland (SGL 13)


As many of you know, the Waterfall Wonderland in SGL 13 is a place of amazing natural beauty.  I love it for not only its waterfalls, but also its isolation, deep gorges, and large trees.  I returned a few weeks ago to explore two tributaries of Sullivan Branch-Hunts Run and Pigeon Run.  I explored each tributary on separate hikes.


Hunts Run

First I hiked to Hunts Run.  Thanks to recent rains, Sullivan Branch and Sullivan Falls were flowing high.  I made my way up Sullivan Branch, enjoying the gorge, rapids, and cascades.  I saw Pigeon Run Falls with its plummeting sheet of water and continued up the creek, enjoying all the falls and deep pools.


I crossed Sullivan Branch and hiked up the slope, reaching an old grade that brought me to Hunts Run.  The hike up Hunts Run was scenic, but there were no waterfalls, just non-stop cascades over mossy boulders.  This glen was scenic and isolated.  At the top I explored some large cliffs and overhangs.  What was most impressive was a forest of old growth hemlocks, with many large trees.


I then made my way back down to Sullivan Branch, and returned to my car.


Pigeon Run

My second hike took me up Pigeon Run, a stream well known for all its waterfalls.  This hike did not disappoint.  This creek had five or six waterfalls in beautiful grottos and overhanging ledges.  The last falls was a slide that spread out like a fan, just below a private property line.


Pigeon Run became a gauntlet of steep boulders and more cascades in a very rugged glen.  Many trilliums grew on the boulders.  I followed the game lands boundary to a stunning place at the top of the gorge.


Massive, ancient hemlocks surrounded this place, as cliffs and ledges rose over me.  At the top was a beautiful 40ish foot falls that tumbled down three or four drops.  I called it the Falls of the Hemlocks, located at N41 20.815 W 076 19.825.


This felt like a wild, primeval place.  I followed the cliff rim west, back to Sullivan Branch.  This was a beautiful place with large cliffs crowned with more large hemlocks.  There were views of the gorge below through the trees.


I made my way down the slope, passing boulders and rock outcrops back to the unblazed trail above Sullivan Branch, which I took back to my car at Sullivan Falls.


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Location of this place.