Tag Archives: vista

Hyner View State Park

After spending Saturday hiking in the Sproul State Forest, we packed up our camp at Hyner Run State Park and took the short drive up the mountain to Hyner View State Park.

The park is small, containing just a small parking area, a few picnic tables, a pit toilet and one amazing vista. The vista looks out over the largest state forest in Pennsylvania, the Sproul State Forest. You can also see the West Branch Susquehanna River both coming and going past the village of Hyner, PA.

The vista is impressive and we lingered here for close to an hour taking photos and looking out over the view.

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Loyalsock State Forest: Scar Run

On Memorial Day, my friend Mike and I were able to return to one of our favorite areas: the Loyalsock State Forest. Having previously hiked along Ketchum Run, we wanted to explore nearby Scar Run, which we had heard had some impressive waterfalls.

We parked off of Coal Mine Rd, near where the Worlds End Trail crosses the road. We descended on the Worlds End Trail through a forest of Pine trees to a place where the trail hooked up with an old grade. The grade hugged a deer fence while parallelling Scar Run near its headwaters.

The trail ascended gradually through the forest as Scar Run gurgled off to our left.  After a 1/2 mile or so, the trail bent away from the run. We continued straight to stay along Scar Run as the hillside started to rise near the North Branch Scar Run. We eventually reached the North Branch Scar Run and bushwhacked down the stream toward the main branch of Scar Run.

There was an impressive 10 foot falls as we grew closer to the main branch of Scar Run.  The falls sprayed into a shallow pool and then over a small waterslide.

10 ft falls on North Branch Scar Run

Just downstream, the two branches of Scar Run come together in an amazing place. The north branch tumbles over three tiers and what looks to be 60 feet or so to flow into the main branch. The main branch cascades almost continually for close to 30 feet just before the confluence.


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North Branch Scar Run at the confluence
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Scar Run at the confluence

We spent some time taking pictures and taking in the scenery in the middle of the confluence of the runs. It is a very beautiful place and we found it to be the highlight of the day.

We continued our bushwhack down Scar Run. We mostly stayed on the left side of the stream, occasionally having to rock hop in the stream itself.

We soon reached another small waterfall. This falls was about 8 feet high and the stream carved an impressive chasm before tumbling into a shallow pool. We were able to grab a few photos before being attacked by mosquitoes (who were present for most of the hike, but at their worst while we were in the stream).

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Long exposure

Stinging nettle was also prevalent in the grassy areas around the stream.  Mike and I both let out a few f-bombs as we got stung repeatedly.

We continued downstream, eventually hooking up with an old grade on the right side of the stream. We passed another 10 foot high waterfall that tumbled into a nice pool and then proceeded through a cool waterslide.

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10 foot high falls
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Falls with a waterslide

We reached one last falls, where the stream tumbled over a smooth rock face in two separate  spots. PA 87 could be seen and heard now and two hunting cabins came into view. The stream continues under the road, but we turned around here.

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Last falls on Scar Run

The red blazed Scar Run Trail links up with the road here and we planned to take that back to Coal Mine Road. The trail stays close to the run for the first 1/5 mile or so, but quickly starts to ascend the hillside and move away from the stream.

After about a mile or so, the trail reaches a power line swath. It is here that we lost our way temporarily and became a bit frustrated. According to our map and the GPS coordinates we had, the trail crosses the swath and continues on the other side. The swath itself was very overgrown with high grass and sticky mud. We walked to the other side of the swath and saw no sign of the red blazed trail. We walked down and then up the swath looking for a blaze for a good 30 minutes, all the while being attacked by mosquitoes, being stung by thorn bushes, and almost having our boots sucked off by deep mud.

Eventually we gave up trying to find the trail and decided just to bushwhack up the hill toward Coal Mine Rd. Within 45 seconds of making the decision to head into the woods, we saw a faded red blaze and found the Scar Run Trail again as it continued to ascend away from the creek. The best guess I have about what happens with the Scar Run Trail at the powerline swath is that it continues up the swath for a short period before turning left.

We continued along the trail as it gradually ascended along an old forest road. In places the trail was wide and flat, and other times it became overgrown and choked with ferns and high grass.

After another 1.5 miles or so, we reached the top of the gorge and walked along a flat section of the trail before reaching Coal Mine Rd at a gate. We made a left onto the road and walked the mile or so back to our car.

We took a short drive to High Knob as the sun started to set. We had the vista to ourselves for a short while and we enjoyed the expansive view.

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Views at High Knob

My Scar Run souvenirs:

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Big Pocono State Park

Despite knowing we might run into some lingering snow from the unrelenting winter, Stubbs and I headed north to Big Pocono State Park in Monroe County, PA for a short day hike.

We parked off of Railroad Rd at the parking area known as Riday’s Gate. I’ve done this hike a few times and have never seen more than one car at this parking area.

The first 1.5-2 miles of the trail is along an old railroad grade. Even though the trail is steady uphill, the gradient is easy and the hiking was pretty fast. We did reach a 1/4 mile or so where the trail became part of the runoff of the mountain. We declared this new trail stream/hybrid a strail (stream + trail).

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Strail

We reached the intersection of the North and South Trails where there is a register. We signed in and I found the page from when I was there in October. That day was in the low 70s with beautiful sunshine and near peak foliage. This day in late March was grey with highs around 35.

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Trail register from October.

We decided to take the North Trail up to the top of the mountain. A decision I question knowing what I do now. After the split, the North Trail moves through a beautiful area where cliffs grow on both sides. We’d hiked this way in the winter a few years ago and found traces of snow in this area. Today we found snow 6-8 inches.

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Snow and cliffs

The trail continues on and gradually makes it way up the mountain on old railroad grades. As we gained elevation, the snow grew deeper. At some points, drifts along the trail measured well over a foot and probably close to 18 inches. We were gracious that someone had previously hiked our route in snowshoes. We were forced to trace those steps on steep sections. My friend’s dog failed to see why we were struggling.

The North Trail eventually butts right up to one of the ski slopes of Camelback Mountain. We paused and caught our breath as skiers and snowboarders coasted past on early spring snow.

One last push up a steep trail with icy snow granted us the amazing views from the top of Camelback Mountain. There is a picnic area on the top of the mountain that you can drive to during warmer months. But the seasonal road to the top was closed and we had the peak all to ourselves.

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View to the north

We stopped for a short while at a picnic table that looks north over the Poconos. The view was nice, despite the grey skies and stiff wind. Interpretive signs warned that the mountain had a healthy rattlesnake population (which I do not doubt) but we laughed thinking of the snakes still warm in their dens.

We continued on and made our way to the top of the mountain, where 360 degree views greeted us. The sky was a light, indifferent grey and it even flurried for a few moments. We stopped at a bench with a nice view to the west of the mountain to have a snack. But it was a quick break when the wind picked up and blew regularly at what felt like 30-40 mph. My friend and I had both broken a sweat on the last steep inclines to get the top and the cold wind went straight through the both of us. We did not linger longer than to finish our snacks and snap a few pictures.

View from the top
View from the top

We made our way back to the trail from the parking area and started to slowly descend the mountain. With my friend having to be home early for a previous commitment, we were short on time and skipped the hike on the Indian Trail to the beautiful view that looks east toward the Delaware Water Gap.

The South Trail was almost a completely different experience than the North Trail. The path had clearly seen considerable more sun and was more or less free of snow. We moved quickly down the mountain, going probably close to twice the speed as we ascended.

We reached a low point along the trail where a pond had formed and then frozen over. The ice was still relatively thick, despite the obvious sunlight the pond had seen.

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We reached the intersection we passed earlier with the register. The slow downhill along the occasionally wet railroad grade followed. The sun tried to make an appearance as the day wore on, but was stunted by low clouds.

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We did about 6 miles in the end, with the North Trail feeling about twice as difficult as the South Trail. I’ve hiked this area a handful of times and have seen a grand total of three people on the railroad grade that leads to the “official” trail system of Big Pocono State Park. While the areas on the top of the mountain are usually crowded during warm months, the trails leading to the top are fairly deserted.

Loyalsock Trail: Ketchum Run Gorge

This is one of the best day hikes I have done. With beautiful water features in the deep chasm of Ketchum Run and vistas along the Loyalsock Trail the scenery is superb. We were a bit past peak foliage for Sullivan County when we visited in late October, but the foliage that remained was excellent.

We started off following the Fern Rock Nature Trail as it meandered through wetlands with interpretive signs. We soon reached Ketchum Run and started our short bushwhack. There is no official trade that follows the run here, but there is a clear path through the woods for the most part as you keep the run on your left.

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First of the falls along Ketchum Run

The bushwhack features two very nice waterfalls. We reached the first, as a the stream slid over a long flat rock face at about 10 feet. Shortly downstream we reached an even more impressive falls, a 20 foot falls that tumbles into a nice pool. The setting was serene with the fallen leaves around the falls.

Largest falls along Ketchum Run
Largest falls along Ketchum Run

After less than a 1/4 mile of bushwhacking, we soon reached the Loyalsock Trail with its obvious red on yellow LT markers. There are some lovely campsites along Ketchum Run here.

Ketchum Run carves a deep gorge and the Loyalsock Trail follows the stream closely. Large cliffs emerge above the run. We took our time through this serene place. The creek gurgled below, impressive cliffs towered overhead, the colors in the forest featured yellows and reds and deep greens.

We reached the rim of Lee’s Falls, a large powerful falls. We skipped the RX-4 trail and stayed on the LT as it climbed away from the run temporarily. We soon came across the RX-5 trail, which we had to take to avoid the ladder that descends next to Rode Falls.

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Rode Falls

We soon linked back up with the LT and were forced to backtrack to see lovely Rode Falls. It was well worth it to backtrack the .4 miles though. The falls is lovely and tumbles into a scenic pool. Big cliffs feature on both sides.

From Rode Falls we trekked back up the LT to where it passed the RX-5 trail. From here we climbed out of the gorge. We reached Lower Alpine Vista with its lovely view out over the valley of the Loyalsock Creek. While we were hiking in mid October and the area had already seen its first frost, we learned on a subsequent trip that Lower Alpine Vista is often a haven for rattlesnakes. With the vista featuring a cliff that protrudes out over the valley, its no surprise it is a good place for a snake to sun itself. Be careful hiking on hot, sunny days.

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Lower Alpine Vista

We pushed on past Lower Alpine Vista as the LT followed an old logging road for a short time. But soon enough we were climbing on a rocky path again. After about 3/4 of a mile we came upon Upper Alpine Vista which featured the same view out over the Loyalsock Creek as Lower Alpine Vista, with just a little more elevation.

Just past Upper Alpine Vista, the LT reaches Coal Mine Road. We crossed the road and made our way along rolling terrain. We crossed the World’s End Trail and then descended steeply as the trail made its way back to SR 3009. We spent a little time at the intersection of the LT and SR 3009 as we were looking for a red blazed bridle trail. We eventually found the very overgrown trail and followed it.

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Beautiful forest

The trail met up with Coal Mine Road again which we forced to walk up for less than a 1/4 mile to stay on the trail. The bridle trail weaved in and out of a power line swath through very beautiful hemlock forests and eventually led us back to the parking lot from where we started.

We took the short drive up to Canyon Vista in World’s End State Park as the sun set.

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Canyon Vista, World’s End State Park