Loyalsock Trail
7/26 & 7/27/97
Parts of the Loyalsock Trail (which is 59.3 miles in length)
and the Red X8 Link Trail
Location:  Worlds End
State Park in the Loyalsock Canyon of Sullivan County)
Length:  17.4 miles
Total trip elevation gain:  2.720 ft.

Day 1 - 7.8 miles
Left home at 1:30pm and arrived at the trailhead @ 3:00pm which is located at World's End State Park in the Loyalsock Canyon of Sullivan County. They like you to park at the park office which is nice knowing that the park security force is close enough to hopefully keep a watchful eye on your vehicle while you're on the trail. Descending through the overgrown vegetation

We headed out past the park office and the concession stand, passing through the picnic area on the Loyalsock Trail.  About 1/4 mile in we passed a sign identifying the lowest point in Sullivan County where you begin the hellish climb straight up on the High Rock Run Trail. A part of the steep hill climb has been rerouted - the trail passed dangerously close to the brink of the cliff and at least 2 hikers have fallen to their deaths there. The trail gets steeper yet from this point reaching High Rock Vista. 2 hikers headed out before us from the parking area and we passed them on this steep uphill. We didn't see them at the campsite that evening and figured they must have given up?

At the vista we left the High Rock Run Trail and continued on the Loyalsock Trail. Here we climbed an old road grade and past a spring that emerges under a tree. Unfortunately the streams and springs had all but dried up??

We were a little concerned at this point for further water supplies. A group of 7 "kids", probably college age, passed us coming the opposite direction...they hiked the trail in reverse and were on their last section of the trail.

After the spring we crossed High Rock Run and turned onto High Rock Spur which is an old logging railroad grade. Hemlock, beech, chestnut oak, and white pine line the path. Down the path we passed the remains of a beaver pond and followed an old railroad grade. Climbing up a sloped grade we rested at Ken's Window. Then we made our way above Tom's Run and followed it upstream past Alpine Falls. We continued climbing and crossed Tamarack Run and climbed up and over some large rocks known as Porky Den (which is home to an old porcupine). The trail continues on a series of old wood roads to Sones Pond - our campsite.

Coming upon the campsite area was so bizarre. The pond was huge so we thought there would be no problem finding a campsite way out in the wilderness. The closer we got to the pond I noticed a bed blanket spread under some pines with a cooler. The next campsite down had a large dome tent, a canopy and the people there were not dressed for hiking. I couldn't figure out how in the world this could be. We kept walking and got closer to the edge of the pond and looked out and saw canoes and boats and people across the pond. There was a road access to this spot somewhere and it appeared to be a very popular camping area. We chose a spot away from the action in case this was a party area. It turned out to be a very quiet group of people.

We got to our campsite at 7pm and set up camp. Dave ventured to the pond's edge to fill up the water bottles in preparation for dinner. There was plenty of water there but access to it wasn't easy and the water that could be accessed was very green with algae and questionable. We had a quart of water leftover that we brought with us and decided to keep that as drinking water for the evening and boiled the water we got from the pond. It wasn't easy getting the water, the algae kept clogging the filter. Dave put potable aqua tablets into the water so it would be okay for the next day's hike.

Day 2 - 9.6 miles
Broke camp @ 9:50am and headed along the shore of Sones Pond through a spruce plantation along Rock Run. We continued to the edge of the Loyalsock Canyon and descended along rock ledges.

We picked up a woods road which is on a level bench. We then descended very steeply along an old log skid. The hike down was reminiscent of a jungle with lots of overgrown vegetation.

The rocky trail along the stream's edgeAlong this stretch we stopped to enjoy the yummy black raspberries that were abundant all along the trail :^)

We then traveled on Haystacks Road and crossed a bridge over Mill Creek and began to look for a different trail marker, this being for the Link Trail.

At the bridge we saw a healthy stream so we took a break on some large rocks in the stream and dumped our water from the night before and opted to pump some filtered stream water into our bottles. We felt much better doing this. 

We traversed wet and slippery rocks at the base of a cliff downstream for a ways (I don't like wet rocks!). Crossed Shanerburg Run on the highway bridge and then we turned onto an old grade.

We were in store for some more serious climbing. The trail continued on a number of old grades onto an old logging road past several springs. The trail then crossed Cold Run and we reached the top of the hill and continued through the woods crossing more dried up streams. We picked up the Loyalsock Trail and carefully worked our way around some large rocks at the cliff's edge to Canyon Vista. Beyond the vista, the Link Trail diverges from the Loyalsock Trail and descends into the valley of Double Run. The trail winds over and around boulders along waterfalls.

We then picked up an old logging railroad grade and turned onto the Loyalsock Trail again. We crossed both branches of Double Run and made our way along the edge of the bouldery Loyalsock Creek to the bridge. At this point we retraced our steps back to the picnic area and the park office to our vehicle at 3:30pm

Very challenging hike...not one that I want to do again any time soon but some day I'm sure. The very high humidity made it rough on us throughout the trip. Only wildlife we saw was 3 snakes and heard a 4th. Also saw 2 grouse, some squirrels, and lots of toads.

We completed the trail in less time than we expected and still enjoyed the great vistas and backcountry...after all, that's the reason for being there...to enjoy!

My 4th trip :^)

First section of the Loyalsock Trail as described in
Tom Thwaites book, 50 Hikes in Central Pennsylvania
Location:  8.8 miles north on PA 87 from the junction with I-180
(US 220) near Montoursville, PA
Length:  6.3 miles
Total trip elevation gain:  1,165 ft.)

According to the article in Tom Thwaites' book, 50 Hikes in Central Pennsylvania, this rugged hike is on one of the oldest maintained trails in Central Pennsylvania. The LT was first markedClimbing up a steep section of the trail in 1953 and 10 years later was extended and extensively relocated.

At the trailhead we immediately began climbing steeply through breaks in the cliffs. Above the cliffs the climb eases off. Higher up the rocks you have to pay close attention to the markers (trust me - I took the wrong path - not a good thing to do on a steep climb!).

At 1km we passed a large sandstone boulder named Sock Rock, in another 200 meters we FINALLY reached the top of the mountain. Laurel Flat, the plateau, is covered with mountain laurel - not in bloom however at this time of year.

At 2.5km we reached a junction of woods roads. Here the road to the left is marked with a Red X and rejoins the LT near the head of Pete's Hollow. We continued on the other road across two small streams. We followed the trail left at a fork and left again when it leaves the road.

We climbed over more rocks and arrived on the Allegheny Front at 3.6km. Along this section Dave held out his arm to stop me. It took me a few seconds to see IT!!!! There was a 4 foot black rattlesnake sunning himself on the trail! He was very displeased with our presence. He quickly coiled up and rattled his heart out!! We took some great shots of the LITTLE fella. He appeared to be about 3.5 inches round and had about a 2.5 inch rattle! We were hoping he'd move nicely off the trail so we could conveniently walk on by but nooooooooooo...he decided to stand his ground (how rude!! *lol*) so we skirted out around him. We could hear him for quite a distance!

One of the few places along the Allegheny Front in PA that offers a walk along this dividing line with many overlooks of North White Deer Ridge.

According to the guide book, if you hike in June, you may witness the antics of a hen grouse. While her chicks scurry in one direction, she displays her tail feathers and runs across theA section of the Loyalsock Trail trail, cheeping piteously, with one wing dragging as if broken.

You are expected to fall for this age-old ruse and follow her into the woods. The "broken wing" mends miraculously, and the hen takes flight to circle around and gather her brood. On this trip I think we saw at least a dozen or so grouse.

At 5.6km we turned right on a woods road and passed the Red X trail on our left. We turned left at the next junction and at 6km we turned left again to head down Pete's Hollow. A short way along a clear-cut on our right offered a view of Smith's Knob across Little Bear Creek Valley.

The trail down Pete's Hollow was very rough and rocky, so we had to move carefully on the wet boulders. Toward the bottom we picked up an old road grade called Peter's Path - we crossed Little Bear Creek then turned left on a forest road. In 100 meters the LT turns right and  climbs over Smiths Knob but our trail continued ahead and at 9.3km we turned left on PA 87 for the short walk back to our car.

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This site was last updated on 04/16/04.