SGL 66 has been a hiking enigma to me- few trails, isolated, and with limited road access. In all my years of hiking, I had never stepped foot into it. This year I finally did and it began to reveal its hidden beauty- waterfall glens, massive rocks, chasms, wildflowers, and diverse wetlands. We explored this area over two hikes. On the first hike our goal was a gorge on the northern slope of SGL 66 which promised to have waterfalls. Initially we named this unnamed creek the Trillium Gorge due to all the trilliums that were growing. We then changed the name to reflect the mountain from which it flows-Briskey Brook. On the map it is referred to as the East Gorge. Ben joined me on this hike.
I like hikes that begin with some mystery, not knowing what to expect. Will the hike be surprisingly beautiful or a waste of time? We followed a gated game commission logging road north for a half mile. Where the road turned left, we went right and crossed the creek, following an old railroad grade north. This grade was overgrown in places, and often wet, but it was followable. We circumvented a wetland and hiked through groves of hemlocks. One interesting spot was some metal ruins, possibly of a boiler of some kind. The metal was still as solid as the day it was made.
The grade continued north and as we neared the escarpment of the plateau, we left the grade and descended off trail, exploring massive rocks and chasms. We dropped down into the gorge, where we could hear waterfalls. At first we followed a small runoff stream, where we saw a small falls. At first, I thought that was Briskey Brook. But then Briskey Brook revealed itself as it descended a rugged gorge. The waterfalls were beautiful, and one reaching over 30 feet tall. I was also impressed by all the trilliums growing, including acres of dutchmans breeches. The wildflowers were beautiful. Ben and I were immediately stunned by this hidden gorge. We wondered if there were more falls downstream, but time wasn’t on our side. We made our way up the gorge, encountering falls after falls. Some were slides, other steep drops into pools. At the top was a beautiful grotto of fractured bedrock that we were able to climb into. We eventually made our way back the way we came.
On the second hike, our goal was the West Gorge, as shown on the map. We hiked in on the old railroad grade, left it, and headed north to the top of the East Gorge. We then descended to the bottom of the West Gorge. From there we hiked up. The best falls were at the bottom, at about 25 feet tall. There were many other falls and cascades, between 5-15 feet tall. We encountered grottos of bedrock and moss covered boulders. The top falls of the West Gorge featured another grotto and a beautiful 20 foot falls. The West Gorge was very scenic, but not as scenic as the East Gorge. The stream in the West Gorge is also smaller than the one in the East.
We then hiked south near some wetlands to some incredible rock features. We explored massive boulders, mazes, and outcrops. If you are hiking to see these falls, then you must also include a visit to these impressive rocks. We then hiked south, off trail, back to the railroad grade and returned to our cars.
The map shows an ideal route that includes boulders and mazes, and both gorges. It is best to go down the West Gorge, and then up the East Gorge since that is the more scenic one. Be prepared for very steep terrain.
The northern escarpment of SGL 57 and 66 is PA’s secret waterfall world with several streams featuring dozens of waterfalls.
For good flow, the Loyalsock Creek USGS gauge should read at least 2.0 feet. For the pictures below, Trillium Gorge has been renamed Briskey Brook Gorge.
We parked at 41.481973, -76.272910.
This hike as shown on the map is about 11 miles.
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We then descended into the gorge of an unnamed creek. Countless trilliums were starting to bloom as were vast areas of dutchmans breeches, not to mention other plants about to bloom. I never saw so many wildflowers across the forest floor. And there were five waterfalls. So we called it Trillium Gorge, SGL 66.