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Old 03-21-2021, 10:41 PM   #1
DSettahr
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Loyalsock Trail questions

A few friends and I are tentatively planning to backpack the Loyalsock Trail in a few weeks. We're looking at doing it over 5 days, Mon-Fri, so roughly 11 miles and change per day. A few questions:

Give the choice to do this trail eastbound or westbound, which is the better option? I know there's a couple of hefty climbs on the west end- if we went eastbound we'd get them out of the way early on, but if we went westbound our packs would be lighter for the climbs as we'd have eaten most of our food by then.

Also, is there any considerations with scenery regarding the direction hiked?

Where are there nice campsites located along this trail? A few of us have hiked the Loyalsock-Link Loop previously, so we have some knowledge about the campsites on this eastern-most end of the trail- the Haystacks, Sones Pond, etc. But west of World's End is new to us- so any info on campsites on the rest of the trail would be helpful- especially on sites that can accommodate 3-4 tents.

Specifically, if we stick pretty close to our 11 mile per day plan, that has has camping at the following locations (assuming we hike west to east):

Night #1: Near Grandad Run. AllTrails indicates that there's a couple of campsites on Grandad and Little Grandad Runs.

Night #2: In the vicinity of Kettle Creek Wild Area. MidAtlantic Hikes indicates that there's a few sites along Kettle Creek in Kettle Creek Gorge.

Night #3: Near Ketchum Run. MidAtlantic hikes also indicates that there's a few sites along Ketchum Run, plus a dry site up high near the Alpine View about a couple of miles beyond.

Night #4: Along High Rock Run, north of World's End State Park. I don't remember seeing any campsites along High Rock Run during our previous Loyalsock-Link Loop trip, but from the photos the forest is fairly open so primitive camping might not be too hard. We could also continue a few miles further on to Big Run/Toms Run where there's sites, but from what I recall those sites were kind of on the smaller side.

Is there anything along the trail we should make sure not to miss? AllTrails mentions a cemetery near the 19 mile marker. I know there's a number of waterfalls, and also the Haystacks. Anything else worth checking out along the way?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-23-2021, 09:56 AM   #2
jmitch
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The LT is a classic trail. Rugged, beautiful, one of the older backpacking trails in the nation. Expect lots of creek crossings without bridges. The trail also has many cascades and falls, more than any other backpacking trail I've hiked, a real treat when the creeks are flowing well.

Westbound is easier. While I slightly prefer the scenery of the eastern half, the western half is still nice. More hemlocks in the eastern half. Western end has the better views.

LT has great camping. Some nice sites are at: above Mineral Springs Falls, West Branch Double Run, Ketchum Run upstream of Lee's Falls, Dutters Run, Kettle Creek. Dry sites at Alpine Vista and Kettle Creek Vista (there is a small creek 600 feet south of this vista). I do recall seeing a nice site on High Rock Run above a cascade. I believe Grandad Run has great camping, its been a while since I've been there.

What not to miss? Dutchman Falls, just off trail. Alpine Falls, reached by short side trail (another falls is downstream of the campsite), there are two more falls on Ketchum upstream of the LT crossing, do not miss High Knob Overlook, see Angel Falls, impressive when flowing well and there's a bit of a view at the top of the falls (two more falls downstream). Nice slide and pool on Kettle Creek downstream of LT crossing.

Ketchum Run is a place to enjoy, very beautiful. The trail has been re-routed through there because of erosion. Dutters Run has a neat winding mini gorge with cascades. Kettle Creek Gorge is another great spot and has the most isolated feel on the trail.

Have a great hike.
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Old 03-24-2021, 07:03 PM   #3
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Awesome, thanks Jeff, that is super helpful as always.
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Old 03-24-2021, 08:50 PM   #4
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Kettle creek can be a tough crossing if high. I love it down in that gorge.

I think there is a better route through Worlds End other than strictly following the LT. If hiking west, I suggest taking pioneer rd, to double run nature trail down along west branch double run, take link trail up double run, left on canyon Vista trail back to the LT. A much more scenic route.
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Old 03-25-2021, 11:32 PM   #5
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http://www.tomcatsadventures.com/201...trail.html?m=1 Here is my write up of the Loyalsock. It covers it in pretty good detail. Even though I hiked the trail just 2 yrs ago I have a long history and nostalgia for the area and it is among my favorite trails anywhere. And I’ve been around this is where I grew up camping as a kid and have fond memories of the area. It was supposed to be my shake down for my AT thru hike in 99 but it didn’t happen until I moved back East in 2019. Take the short side trails to Angel Falls and High Knob. Dutchman Falls is just beyond the Eastern end along the old LT before the current terminus Most of the other highlights I recall are trail side. Alpine Falls has a nice campsite at the top of the falls. Depending when you go be aware of ticks I didn’t have a problem on the LT but PA is a hotbed and I actually got Lyme on the STS And then follow anything Jeff says since this is his turf and probably knows it best. I know people love the Black Forest but the Loyalsock will always be my favorite PA hike.
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Old 03-30-2021, 09:12 AM   #6
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Thanks, Jeff and Tom. We're looking at doing this trip next week so we're working on trying to nail down a final plan. Your info is super helpful.
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Old 04-10-2021, 10:14 AM   #7
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Just got back from this trip last night. Was epic and amazing. Parts of the Loyalsock Trail feel as if it is straight out of Lord of the Rings. Definitely one of my favorite PA trails.

Mild blowdown on the east half, and a bit brushy in spots on the west half. Some spots are going to become a big challenge for trail maintainers in the next few years with regards to keeping fast-growing invasive plants from crowding out the trail- the private property stretch in particular is already getting pretty bad with multi-flora rose. Overall, however, the trail was in pretty decent shape.

We were glad we hiked it east to west- especially coming down that last hill, we commented on how happy we were that we hadn't tried to haul overnight gear plus 5+ days worth of food up that ascent.

At some point will hopefully post photos and a proper trip report... but I took over 1,000 photos on the trek, so it will take some time to sort through them, pare them down, edit them, and upload them.

Thanks again for both of your help and advice, it was invaluable.
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Old 04-10-2021, 03:15 PM   #8
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Gorgeous time of the year for that trail. Recent reports of some Bigfoot activity in that area for whatever it's worth. Have fun.
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Old 04-14-2021, 08:29 PM   #9
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Glad you enjoyed it, it is a great trail. Looks like all the waterfalls should've been flowing nicely.
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Old 04-15-2021, 07:28 AM   #10
DSettahr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmitch View Post
Glad you enjoyed it, it is a great trail. Looks like all the waterfalls should've been flowing nicely.
They were flowing alright. Water availability was pretty decent overall, but everything was visibly drying out. We were told no campfires when we called and asked prior to our trip, and when we got out into the woods we could see why- it was super dry everywhere there wasn't a creek.

And then the conclusion of our trip coincided with that big wildfire over in Allegheny National Forest- the one they had to bring firefighters in for from out west, and use a tanker plane to drop water on.

EDIT: We also really lucked out with the weather- it rained overnight on us on the third night, but tapered off by morning. Apart from a couple of light raindrops the last day, that was the only precipitation.

And we also timed it well with regards to bugs- black flies were out but not biting the last 2 days. As we were coming down that last hill on the last day, we could hear the constant whine ("eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee") of the black fly army getting ready to invade the backcountry in force.

Last edited by DSettahr; 04-15-2021 at 08:01 AM..
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