Loyalsock trail - Sept 2016 (VMO, 60mi)

Posted by Andrew L. on


Over Labor day weekend, a group of six backpackers thru hiked the Loyalsock trail in PA with fabulous weather. The weather had highs in the upper 70s and lows in the 50s. It was a bit dry on the trail, so most of the seasonal water sources were dry. There were many nice waterfalls, just add water:

We left in two cars from the DC traffic hell hole around 2:45 pm on Friday. Around 8pm, we regrouped at a Sheetz in PA and arrived at the Eastern trailhead around 9pm after seeing a spectacular sunset over the Susquahanna on the drive. We met the shuttle driver and it was a quick 45 minute ride to the Western trailhead for us. The shuttle ran us $75 for the group and can accommodate up-to six hikers, so is a good way to set-up for this trip.

The trail started out with a quick welcome back to PA. It was initially rocky, straight up the hill and slightly overgrown for the first 30 yards. After then, it widened out, but continued with the rocks and climb up the hill. As others have reported, the Loyalsock trail is very well blazed, which helps reduce folks losing the trail. Overall, the Loyalsock trail is very well maintained as we only encountered a few blowdowns over 59 miles.

We camped near the trail on the first section that was reasonably flat. We spread out and took small sites that could accommodate 2-3 tents, which helped us find acceptable camping quickly. Like many DC UL outings, the goal in camping on Friday night is to get in some sleep and be setup well for Saturday, so that strategy of spreading out made it easier than looking for a single site that could accommodate everyone.

For the trip, Sunrise was at 6:45, so we got up at 6 every day and on the trail at 7. Sunset was at 7:40, but we managed to make it to camp each day before Sunset. Despite doing 23 miles on Saturday, the lead group was still at camp by 5:15 and took a few breaks along the way. Sunday was longer, had more hills and involved a longer break for regrouping, so the lead group got to camp around 6:30 or so.

On Saturday afternoon, Kylieís thru hiker sensors tingled and she remarked that it would be great if there were a bar on the trail. Low and behold, about 15 minutes later we came upon on bar. However, it turned out to be a members only club, so they couldnít serve us anything other than water, so we continued down the trail. We camped at the legal site on the trail past the junction on Saturday night, then doubled back to Angel Falls, which was a great view for dinner.

On Sunday, there was a nice waterfall around mile 34 named Rode Falls, which some folks got in. While the section of the trail before this waterfall was very scenic, other sections would also be senic if we could just add some water. The cautions concerning the ladder on the trail are for liability reasons, as the ladder denoted on the trail map itself is only about ten feet tall and is of solid construction.

Andrew L. posted on

Later in the day the trail passed through Worlds End state park, which is on the trail right after the election of Donald Trump.

Monday brought Haystack rapids about two miles from the cars. While it normally would be a substantial set of rapids, due to the low water flow, we were able to get in it and walk on rocks which would normally be submerged. Some folks even got in the hot tub:

For animal life, Saturday featured multiple bee stings. Steven got stung once, Kylie got stung twice and Bryan had the worst go of it getting stung four times. Luckily Bryan brought his Epi pen with him as heís allergic to bees. After injecting himself and downing four anti-allegery pills, he seemed to be doing OK with only normal amounts of swelling and no loss of consciousness.

We saw two porcupines on the trip. One was climbing a tree. The other down-climbed and scurried off. A few smaller snakes were seen along with a larger discarded snakeskin.

The lead group tended to pick scenic points for regrouping, so we regrouped at high knob point, World's End Canyon vista, by Sones pond and at two waterfalls. Given the pleasant weather, this seemed to work well.

We only saw one other group of backpackers on the trail. We ran across at least four other groups who were still camped out though, including one group which wasnít close to breaking camp at 10 am.

Overall, itís a nice trail and was a great way to spend the weekend. Thanks to Karan and Kylie for posting and leading the outing.