SGL 13 is filled with places of rugged beauty. One such place is Blackberry Run Gorge where an off trail hike reveals waterfalls, giant trees, cascades, cliffs, and views. I had been there years before and always wanted to explore the entire gorge. Last month, I finally did.
Ben and Ryan joined me on this adventure. We parked at the game commission building and walked up the steep slope. Private land blocks the easiest access. We then descended to Blackberry Run near Blackberry Falls. The falls are about twenty feet tall and are in a beautiful gorge. We even walked behind the falls, sitting behind the roaring veil of water.
An old grade was on the west side of the creek, but it crossed the creek several times and eventually faded away. Above the falls were several gigantic tulip poplar trees, some of the largest I have ever seen. We continued to make our way up the creek, passing boulders, pools, rapids, and cascades. There was extensive flood damage with banks of cobblestones, small landslides, and fallen trees.
We soon reached the next falls, a slide we called Blueberry Slide, in keeping with the “berry” theme. It was a steep bedrock slide into a pool. We continued upstream to the impressive two-drop Raspberry Falls, so named by Ben. This is the tallest of the falls and the red bedrock seemed to validate the name. The gorge then narrowed with hemlocks and many fallen trees. Landslides left scars on the side of the gorge. We made our way through the gauntlet as cascades tumbled beside us. It had a primeval, untamed beauty.
We came upon a side stream to the right, but we took the creek to the left and enjoyed non-stop cascades, large boulders, and more hemlocks. It was very beautiful. We came upon an old grade which made the hiking easier out of the gorge.
From here, we followed the rim of the gorge, passing outcrops with views as Blackberry Run roared below. There was no sign of civilization. We continued along the rim and hiked along the ledges through hemlock and beech. We could see the ridge we were hiking to, it was lined with cliffs.
Our route crossed a cascading tributary and we climbed to the cliffs where there were a series of beautiful views of the expanse below. As we hiked we could hear the sound of water falling. Below us was a cascading waterfall, about fifty feet in total height. The water tumbled down a protruding ledge, and then down a cliff. A remarkable sight.
Some views even looked over the farmlands to the south, thirty miles away. Each of us were impressed by the wild beauty of this gorge. A descent then followed where we saw unique boulders and outcrops. The hike became steep, but then leveled when we reached a bench along the plateau. Our goal was a final view over Jamison City. A steep descent brought us to the cliff with the view. Although lower in elevation, it was no less beautiful. We followed the edge of the cliffs, passing another view looking across Fishing Creek Valley to the towering mountain on the other side.
The descent we followed is not recommended. We found a crevice in a cliff and descended, then there was a steep, unforgiving descent over loose rock. It was relentless. The terrain is extremely treacherous. We reached the road and returned to the cars. A better way might be the purple route on the map below.
For the intrepid hiker looking for a new challenge, I would highly recommend the wild, rugged, beautiful Blackberry Run Gorge.
We parked at 41.315159, -76.348909.