The 3,192-acre Elk State Park is in the rugged mountains of northern Pennsylvania. The 1,160-acre East Branch Lake is large enough for unlimited horsepower boating and is great for waterskiing. The lake and nearby streams are stocked with warm-water and cold-water fish.
Completed this trail the first weekend of October. This is a little late in the year to catch the elk in rut, but September was a little warm for my liking's. We started Friday evening at the Dents Run trail head and walked to the top of the hill for the first nights camp. We ended on Sunday around 1:00 P.M. at Benezette.
I would recommend the trail in mid to late September if you want to here and see the elk. Also, get a map or GPS track. You may lose the trail since it is not marked the best.
I also recommend stopping in at the Benezettte Hotel for a great Elk Burger and Straub's beer. Hike your own hike!
Weather was extremely hot, no rain.
Entered Eastern trail head at little bear run mid afternoon Friday. Exited little bear run trail head mid afternoon Sunday.
Trail Notes: Challenge finding water first water was at Shaffer Draft. That is where we camped both nights. Next water was found at Bell Draft near the spring area.
Followed hiking trail until the spring near Bell Draft then hoping to find additional water began return loop on the horse trail past markers 6 and 5. Marker 5 seemed closer to the zigzags then shown on the map. All streams including the horse watering station marked along that area were dry.
The pipe line gave the best views for possible elk sightings. Additional possibilities for feeding elk sightings - Traveling from Little Bear Run to Shaffer Draft a large food plot is situated just before Shaffer Draft and another new food plot along the horse route. Both food plots were very dry.
Wild Life Sightings One nice Bull Elk in velvet. A few whitetail does. A pair of skunks - one black with white stripes and one white with black stripes. A fawn being chased by a coyote. Several whippoorwills.
I love this trail. Water sources were plentiful throughtout. We hiked this in the middle of July 2011... a very dry month, and had no concerns about running out of water. This is a linear trail, so bring two cars for both ends. If one starts at the trailhead off Dent's Run Road, the camping is excellent. We hiked perhaps four to five miles in on the first evening then set up camp. We heard Cotote, saw elk, deer, a porcupine, squirrel, rabbits, turkey, pheasants, grouse throughout the hike. On the second day, we pretty much cleared the rest of the trail, but wanted to spend another night. The closer one gets to town, the newer the forest, thus more undergrowth. Camping along the creek is perhaps less than desireable. We hammock camp, so we were off the ground. We knew we were close to town... so did the bears. As soon as we started cooking (at 8:15 PM) The bears came to join us. Not going into great detail, we chose discretion over valor, packed up and left. ...We got back to Benezette, drank a beer and drove back to the trail head. This trail was made up of old logging roads, looked like old power line paths etc. But I loved this hike. Unlike most of the other ones I've done, I felt like I was on Animal Kingdom.